England’s last friendly before the World Cup next Monday ended in a 1-0 defeat to hosts Canada.
As in the last 5 encounters between the two sides only one goal separated them (including England’s victory in the Cyprus Cup recently) and on this occasion Canada’s Sophie Schmidt scored midway through the first half, bending a shot into the top corner from 18 yards.
Lionesses midfielder Fara Williams hit the bar late on with an audacious effort from range but Mark Sampson’s side were unable to find an equaliser.
Sampson would have been realistic about his teams chances, since they only arrived in Canada on Monday night, but it must have been a welcome opportunity to play on an artificial turf pitch and in front of a very partisan crowd. And, to give 16 players the chance of some match experience in Canada.
There were welcome returns from Captain Steph Houghton who made her first England appearance since injuring her knee against Australia at the Cyprus Cup in March and also right-back Lucy Bronze. The Manchester City defender pulled on the Three Lions shirt for the first time since the historic match against Germany at Wembley in November.
Now the team will be preparing eagerly for their first Group F World Cup fixture on 9 June in Moncton, against France.