Source: Dan Mullan The FA via Getty Images

England labour against Belgium in Euro Qualifier

  • +1

Tonight England women’s team faced Belgium in a Euro 2017 qualifier, in their first game since the SheBelieves Cup competition in the USA where England played three of the top teams in the world: USA, France and Germany.  A win against Belgium would lift them to top of their qualifying group after earlier victories over Estonia (8-0) and Bosnia & Herzegovina (1-0) with Belgium (ranked 28 in the world to England’s 4th) touted as England’s toughest opposition in the group.

Much of the talk from the commentators was about the young Belgian keeper, Justien Odeurs, particularly after she flapped at a cross and almost conceded a goal to England in the early stages of the game. However, it was England’s experienced keeper who made the mistake that gifted Janice Cayman with a goal, as Karen Bardsley anxiously waited for a ball to come all the way back into the penalty area, so that she could safely collect it, and then, when it was clear that it wasn’t going to reach her before Cayman got to it, waved a foot at it and missed the ball completely; as a result Cayman will feel that Christmas came just a little bit early tonight.  Although it should also be added that the England defence hardly covered themselves in glory.

The goal, coming in just the 18th minute seemed to knock the stuffing out of England and with the exception of Jill Scott who as usual put in a full shift of hustle, there was a lack of pace, flair and creativity.

Into the second half Mark Sampson introduced Karen Carney for Demi Stokes and Eni Aluko for Toni Duggan and at last England had a bit of zip about them.  The final substitution was Gemma Davison for Katie Chapman. And eventually the breakthrough was made with Jill Scott scoring the equaliser. However, despite all their effort England were unable to make their pressure tell with a winner and had to settle for the 1-1 draw.

Only the top team in the group that will qualify automatically and although England are behind Belgium in the group at the moment, they will go above them with a victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina, who they play on Tuesday evening.

Current table:



Goal Difference























England women XI: Bardsley, A Scott, Houghton, Stoney, Greenwood, Williams, Nobbs, Chapman, Stokes, J Scott, Duggan.

Subs: Bronze, Telford, Bassett, Flaherty, Carney, Davison, Aluko.

Photo above shows England lining up before qualifier against Bosnia & Herzogovina