England’s EURO 2025 qualification hopes suffered a setback last night with a disappointing 2-1 defeat to France in Newcastle.

The Lionesses now sit five points behind group leaders France, having won only one of their last three qualification games.

They face a steep challenge to secure a spot in next summer’s tournament.

Beth Mead’s 30th-minute opener wasn’t enough for England, as France equalised just 11 minutes later with a stunning volley from Elisa de Almeida.

France then took the lead in the second half when Marie-Antoinette Katoto scored on the turn, leaving England trailing for the remainder of the game.

Embed from Getty Images

Manager Sarina Wiegman described the defeat as ‘unnecessary’ for the defending champions, telling the media: “I think our performance was good for the most part of the game.

”Of course, the first part was very different to what we were expecting; we really had to find our feet and get started.

”I think after that we did well, scored a good goal, and had chances to score more.

”But then they scored from a corner, and of course it’s disappointing.”

She added: “It’s very frustrating that we conceded a goal from a corner; we know they’re good at that.”

Regarding the Lionesses’ defence of set pieces, Wiegman said: “We really wanted to do it well, and in moments we did, but in too many moments we didn’t.”

Embed from Getty Images

England faced an early complication when goalkeeper Mary Earps was forced off through injury just minutes into her 50th cap.

She was replaced by Chelsea’s Hannah Hampton, who delivered a strong performance but could do little to prevent France’s goals.

The defensive line will undoubtedly be frustrated however, as they struggled to clear the ball in crucial moments, particularly for France’s second goal.

After the game, an injured Earps was seen on crutches leaving the stadium, but the full extent of her injuries is yet to be confirmed.

England will have a chance to rectify this disappointing result on Tuesday, as they face France again in Saint-Etienne.

The second match of this double-header kicks off at 8 pm on Tuesday 4 June.

Featured image courtesy of Steve Daniels via Geograph. No changes were made to this image. License details found here.

By Emilie Mwanza

Founder of Beyond The 90. Trainee multimedia journalist based in Preston.