Home News Player ratings as Lionesses suffer crushing defeat after nasty Greenwood injury

Player ratings as Lionesses suffer crushing defeat after nasty Greenwood injury

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Player ratings as Lionesses suffer crushing defeat after nasty Greenwood injury

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FROM DEN DREEF STADIUM – England suffered the worst possible scenario in their quest to qualify for Paris 2024 as they fell to a 3-2 defeat to Belgium which also saw Alex Greenwood stretchered off with a worrying head injury.

The defeat marks the first time the Lionesses have conceded three goals under Sarina Wiegman but the loss was further marred by a very worrying injury to Greenwood 19 minutes in. The defender crashed to the floor after a collision with Belgian forward Janissa Blom and received lengthy treatment before being stretchered off 12 minutes later.

Greenwood’s injury galvanised the Lionesses, scoring two goals in six minutes after conceding early on through Laura De Neve’s free-kick. Goals from Lucy Bronze and Fran Kirby kept England’s hopes alive before Wullaert levelled during 14 minutes of first half stoppage time and secured the win in the 85th minute from the spot.

England secured a 1-0 win over the Red Flames on Friday but this loss means England must now win their next two games and beat the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium in December by at least two goals. The Lionesses hopes also rest on the Netherlands beating Belgium in order to qualify for the next stage of the Nations League.

How the game unfolded

With Belgium using the vocal fans and rather distracting in-house band to spur them on, the hosts took an early lead just ten minutes in. Earning a free-kick on the edge of the area, De Neve curled the set-piece into the bottom left corner, giving Mary Earps no chance to get across goal.

But England would be faced with a test after Greenwood’s nasty injury. Ten medics spent 12 minutes on the field with the defender before being stretchered off the field, although Wiegman’s side appeared galvanised and they would find themselves leading the game just six minutes later.

Bronze converted from Chloe Kelly’s expert free-kick, nipping in at the near post to level the score, before Kirby celebrated her first international start since October 2022 by collecting Lauren Hemp’s cut-back and slotting home.

The celebrations were abruptly ended as Belgium’s leading scorer Wullaert made no mistake of a second one-on-one with Earps after having an early chance tipped over the bar. The England shot stopper was voted fifth in the Ballon d’Or but was unable to prevent the skipper’s clinical finish.

England had a flurry of chances that fell flat while Belgium were looking increasingly dangerous on the counter, and the hosts would snatch the win late on as Wullaert converted from the spot after Georgia Stanway’s handball.

Fran Kirby

Kirby was back among the goals / ANP/GettyImages

GK: Mary Earps – 5/10 – Belgium had two shots on target and scored both of them. While Earps was let down by defenders, she should have done better to prevent the goals.

RB: Lucy Bronze – 7/10 – Had a decent game pushing forward but struggled on the counter. Her goal lifted the Lionesses after Greenwood’s injury.

CB: Millie Bright – 5/10 – There were far too many missed passes and a lack of communication from the skipper.

CB: Alex Greenwood – N/A – Stretchered off with a nasty injury after 19 minutes.

LB: Niamh Charles – 7/10 – Good, not as sprightly as the reverse fixture but did well to drive forward and create chances.

DM: Keira Walsh – 8/10 – A solid performance from the midfielder, finding pockets of space and using her physicality well.

DM: Georgia Stanway – 6/10 – Poor from the usually collected midfielder. Too many skewed passes and giving the ball away led to dangerous counters and a goal.

RM: Chloe Kelly – 8/10 – A real threat from crosses. Seemed almost unstoppable at times.

AM: Fran Kirby – 9/10 – England had clearly missed Kirby on the pitch. Her creativity and clinical finishing was a game changer as she was the Lionesses’ only real threat for the time she was on the pitch.

LM: Lauren Hemp – 8/10 – One of England’s most prominent and effective attacking threats and created some exceptional chances. Lack of finishing from others let her down.

ST: Alessia Russo – 5/10 – Failed to take her chances and lack of clinical finishing let her down once again. Too many chances fell to the Arsenal striker that should have been goals.

Substitutes

SUB: Jess Carter (32′ for Greenwood) – 6/10 – Came on unexpectedly and did well to adjust but was beaten for pace a few times and failed to make clearances that left Earps isolated at the back.

SUB: Rachel Daly (68′ for Russo) – 6/10 – Did well but was unable to find a goal.

SUB: Ella Toone (68′ for Kirby) – 6/10 – Came in at a tough time and was unable to find a breakthrough.

Subs not used: Khiara Keating (GK), Hannah Hampton (GK), Ellie Roebuck (GK), Maya Le Tissier, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Esme Morgan, Katie Zelem, Jessica Park, Grace Clinton

Manager

Sarina Wiegman – 6/10 – The first time the Lionesses have conceded three times under Wiegman and it is starting to become a little too predictable from the England manager.

Player of the match: Fran Kirby (England)

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