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Five talking points as Lionesses suffer shock defeat to Belgium
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Mitchell Fretton
England were left rueing their missed chances against Belgium
England were left rueing their missed chances against Belgium

A late penalty saw Belgium come from behind to claim a 3-2 win over England in the Nations League just four days after losing in the reverse fixture.

Sarina Wiegman's side dominated proceedings but goals from Lucy Bronze and Fran Kirby were not enough to see the Lionesses over the line in Leuven.

We take a look at five talking points from the shock defeat.

Fright night

After calling for an improvement from her players ahead of the match, Wiegman was left stunned as England went 1-0 down inside 10 minutes.

The World Cup finalists were set up to play most of the game in Belgium's half but were caught on the break all night by the home side.

And when a clumsy free-kick given away by Chloe Kelly allowed Laura De Neve to fire home from the edge of the box, the Lionesses had no choice but to up the intensity as the Red Flames settled in with a low block.

Bronze brilliance

Lucy Bronze scored England's first goal of the night
Lucy Bronze scored England's first goal of the night

Bronze was a menace down the right-hand side and her attacking intent was key in breaching Belgium's backline.

The 32-year-old was constantly on the move, making defence-splitting runs and netting England's equaliser — although she could have bagged more than once on her 116th appearance for England.

Barcelona's flying full-back was ever-present during the Lionesses' run to the World Cup final in the summer and proved once again why she is an immovable presence in Wiegman's system.

Vulnerable at the back

A clash of heads meant that Alex Greenwood had to be stretchered off the pitch in the first half and England — who were trailing at the time — opted to introduce Jess Carter to a falty defence.

Kirby slotted home on her return to international action to give her country a 2-1 lead but the European champions' defensive frailties showed as Belgium hit back, once again executing their counter-attacking plan to perfection.

It was the same old story for the ladies in white who were caught on the break and punished by Tessa Wullaert's superb strike as Belgium refused to lay down and die.

Penalty drama

Mary Earps was unable to keep out Belgium's winning goal
Mary Earps was unable to keep out Belgium's winning goal

England's midfield duo of Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway were dominant all over the pitch but an unfortunate handball from the latter allowed Belgium back in front from the penalty spot.

The lively crowd were sent into raptures as Wullaert claimed her second goal of the night and it opened up a victory for Ives Serneels' side.

The defeat marks the first time that the Lionesses have conceded three goals in a competitive match since April 2021 and the lack of application at the back may prove costly as the Nations League Finals edge closer.

Trouble in paradise

England had the opportunity to remain on level terms with the Netherlands in Group A1 but their loss alongside a Dutch win over Scotland now leaves Wiegman's side third in the standings.

Two games remain in the group stages and the Lionesses will likely have to win their remaining fixtures if they are to progress to the semi-finals.

A huge clash against the Netherlands awaits on December 1 and a deflated squad will have to return to the drawing board if they are to alter their course in the competition.


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