France 0-0 England: Lionesses finish third in SheBelieves Cup

Honours were even as Eniola Aluko earned her 100th cap in the States.

France 0-0 England: Lionesses finish third in SheBelieves Cup
Lavogez came closest in the game with a spectacular bicycle kick. | Photo: @OurGameMagazine
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France: Gérard, Georges (53' Mbock Bathy) , Delannoy, Houara, Abily (76' Bussaglia), Lavogez (85' Asseyi), Thomis, Necib (58' Le Sommer) , Delie, Majri, Hamraoui.
England: Bardsley, Williams, Houghton, Nobbs, Jill Scott, Stokes (70' Carney), Alex Scott (69' Bronze), Rafferty, Stoney, Chapman, Duggan (55' Aluko).
REFEREE: Gillian Martindale.

England and France shared the spoils in a close final match of the SheBelieves Cup, with the quality of the pitch fortunately failing to hinder the play.

France dominated the first half, with plenty of chances, but the Lionesses came close too when Demi Stokes was denied by Meline Gerard

Mark Sampson's side then took control of the second period, which was played in much more positive fashion as they took the game to the French. Nonetheless, the game would end goalless as England clinched third place.

France dominate the opening exchanges

The first half started off well for both teams, with both attacking. Elodie Thomis had the first chance for France in the first few minutes as a pass was lofted over to her and she ran through. Unfortunately, the chance went wide, and another opportunity for her shortly after was saved easily by Karen Bardsley in the England goal.

A hard-working Jill Scott tried to unnerve Gerard with some high-pressing, but it was France who continued to dominate, with Alex Scott having a great game in defence as she made some crucial interventions.

Claire Lavogez almost scored with a spectacular bicycle kick as Philippe Bergeroo's kept up the pressure, but the ball hit the crossbar and bounced away from danger. France were dominant, exploiting spaces and using their pace when needed. However, they weren't clinical enough in front of goal. They had shot after shot, but couldn't find the back of net.

England started to get into their stride late in the first half and Stokes had a great chance after a well placed pass by Jill Scott. Stokes had players in support, but decided to go alone and her effort was saved by Gerard. The Lionesses had another chance with Fara Williams heading the ball onto Toni Duggan, but Gerard was there to collect.

Karen Bardsley was kept busy in the first half. | Photo: BBC Sport
Karen Bardsley was kept busy in the first half. | Photo: BBC Sport

Lionesses positive after the restart

England started the second half really well; attacking and getting the ball forward immediately. They were eager to get ahead. Still, Louisa Necib had the half's first chance, but her shot dipped to late and flew off target.

After this, the Lionesses sat firmly on the front foot. Katie Chapman won the ball from Kheira Hamraoui and had a shot fizz just wide, whilst the introduction of Eniola Aluko only made them more potent going forward - the Chelsea attacker coming on for her 100th cap and taking the captain's armband.

Aluko was immediately involved with some great running as England continued to show that they had stepped up from a poor first half. Jill Scott came close with a volley, but it was a few minutes later when she really should have paved the way for her side to go ahead, with the midfielder tripped in the area as she tried to turn with the ball.

However, the referee waved away penalty appeals, to the frustration of the players and those in the England dugout.

France continued to be a threat on the counter still, with Eugenie Le Sommer coming off the bench and arrowing a shot across the face of goal and wide. Yet, it was England who looked the more likely to break the deadlock as Jordan Nobbs came close with a spectacular shot. She was set up by Aluko and her attempt from 20 yards out went inches wide.

The deadlock would not be broken though, as the match ended with no goals in a well-contested affair in which both teams played their part. The result sees England finish third in the SheBelieves Cup, whilst France followed behind in fourth.