England undone as absence of Var again blights women’s game

Millie Bright (L) and Georgia Stanway (R) of England - England undone as absence of Var again blights women's game

Netherlands 2 England 1

England captain Millie Bright hit out at the “mind-blowing” absence of Var after an offside Netherlands goal was allowed to stand in England’s 2-1 defeat in Utrecht.

Centre-back Bright insisted England did not want to use the matter as an excuse for their loss and that they only had themselves to blame for failing to clear the ball before Paris Saint-Germain winger Lieke Martens skilfully clipped in the opener, but the talking point inevitably flared up after replays showed the goal should not have stood because former Arsenal midfielder Danielle van de Donk was clearly offside just moments earlier in the build-up.

Var is not mandatory within Uefa’s rules for the new Women’s Nations League, nor in England’s Women’s Super League, and European women’s teams’ only real exposure to the technology comes in the latter stages of the Women’s Champions League and when they play in major tournament finals, such as throughout this summer’s World Cup.

“It is always frustrating [to not have Var],” Bright said. “I think we push the level of the game to be so high and professional, yet we sometimes have Var, sometimes don’t, sometimes have goal-line technology. There is no consistency. But, by no means is that an excuse. We put ourselves in that position - not clearing the ball, not getting out of pressure.

“But it is really unfortunate that these are still huge decisions that are incorrect. But that’s where we as players have to keep speaking about it, we have to step up, we have to demand better and demand more. This is international football and we do not have VAR in a competitive international game, which is mind-blowing.”

The lack of video officials also played a part in England’s 2-1 victory over Scotland on Friday, where Scotland striker Martha Thomas was very harshly denied a penalty, and in the same game, the Lionesses saw two ‘goals’ controversially disallowed.

FC Twente striker Renate Jansen came off the bench to win the match with a thumping 90th-minute after England gifted the ball away. Earlier, Arsenal striker Alessia Russo’s fourth goal in her past six Lionesses games had looked to have earned the European champions a point in a much-improved second-half showing, on the night of Sarina Wiegman’s homecoming.

Match details

Netherlands (4-2-3-1): Van Domselaar 8; Dijkstra 6, Spitse 7, Janssen 6, Brugts 6 (Wilms 6, 7); Groenen 7 (Egurrola 6, 84), Van de Donk 6; Pelova 7 (Kaptein 6, 77), Roord 7, Martens 7; Beerensteyn 7 (Jansen 8, 84)
Subs not used: Auee, Olislagers, Baijings, Jansen, Kalma, Lorsheyd (gk), De Jong (gk)
Yellow cards: None
Goals: Martens 34, Jansen 90
England (3-5-2): Earps 7; Carter 6, Bright 5, Greenwood 6; Bronze 6, Stanway 7, Toone 5, Zelem 5, Daly 6 (Kelly 7, 45); Russo 7 (James 6, 81), Hemp 7
Subs not used: Hampton (gk), Morgan, Charles, Coombs, Parker, Park, Le Tissier, Roebuck (gk), Robinson, Staniforth
Yellow cards: Daly
Goals: Russo 64
Referee: Ivana Martincic (Croatia)