Sub-edited by: Hugo Tallqvist
Lucy Bronze picked up her 100th England cap as the Lionesses could only manage a goalless draw against Czech Republic.
Bronze made her debut nine years ago in 2013 against Japan and has been a mainstay ever since. The Barcelona star has scored 11 goals in those 100 games and was a key member of the squad that won the European championship this summer.Embed from Getty Images
Bronze looked threatening throughout the match, making a number of mazy runs forward to try and create chances for the rest of the side but the final ball was lacking whenever the lionesses got into good positions
England were on a 15-game winning streak but were unable to reach their 16th straight victory. It is the first time England have failed to win since they drew against Spain in February and for only the third time under Sarina Wiegman.Embed from Getty Images
Despite having 70 percent possession, England failed to create many clear openings to breach the visitor’s defence. The hosts also had 17 shots, but they could only muster five on target.
Wiegman was frustrated about the result and accepted they did not deserve to win. The England-manager said, “We’re absolutely disappointed because we think we could have won, we knew Czech was a very tough opponent, very physical and direct. We didn’t score because we weren’t sharp enough.”
Lauren Hemp came the closest for the hosts in the second half, as she got in behind and put a delightful chip over Olivie Lukasova, but the ball bounced back off the inside of the post and fell back to Fran Kirby who was unable to convert.
Full debutant Lauren James also struck the woodwork early in the first half when her shot crashed against the post from a tight angle after some nice footwork. James was a danger down the left wing throughout until she was substituted with half hour to go.Embed from Getty Images
Despite a disappointing performance and result on the pitch, the 21,222 fans packed inside the Amex stadium provided a brilliant atmosphere throughout to cheer the team on.
The game was about more than just the performance and result, it was played in honour of the campaign ‘Let Girls Play’, which was put forward after the Euros by the FA to make sure every girl is able to play football.
Czech Republic defended very resolutely and are now unbeaten in four games with another draw against Hungary and convincing victories over Cyprus and Belarus.
The visitors also held the World Champions United States in February which shows they are not an easy opponent.
England could not match their performance as they beat the US at a sold-out Wembley Stadium by two goals to one on Friday. The hosts found it hard to find the right option once they got near the Czech goal.
The England manager was pleased that the match was not easy for her side as it will allow them to get used to being uncomfortable. Wiegman said, “For us a very good learning moment. You want to win every game, but it is good to see when we don’t get to our very highest level. “
“We could easily play other teams where we know we are going to win but we have to be uncomfortable sometimes too, and today, in that part of the game, being in possession with all that tight space and not creating very many chances, that was the uncomfortable thing, and we’ll learn from this.”
Bright made a great display and did not give the visitors forwards a chance, which was even more impressive considering she did not have her usual centre back partner and captain Leah Williamson next to her, who had to withdraw from the squad due to injury.Embed from Getty Images
England made three changes from the victory over the United States with Beth Mead, Rachel Daly and Georgia Stanway all making way for James, Demi Stokes and Ella Toone.
Next up for the Lionesses is a friendly on November 11th against Japan, with a game against Norway a few days later. These are the last two matches of what has been a memorable and successful year for the side.