Hege Riise frustrated by England’s lack of attacking edge in Canada defeat

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Phil Medlicott, PA
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England interim manager Hege Riise said her side’s lack of cutting edge was the most disappointing aspect in their 2-0 loss to Canada.

The Lionesses twice saw errors at the back punished in the friendly at the bet365 Stadium as they suffered another defeat, four days on from losing 3-1 to France in Caen.

Canada, managed by former England assistant boss Bev Priestman, grabbed the lead in the third minute when Demi Stokes lost possession in the box, allowing Evelyne Viens to strike past Carly Telford.

Nichelle Prince then scored from close range in the 86th minute as she pounced on a misjudged touch taken by Karen Bardsley following Millie Bright’s backpass.

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Jordan Nobbs having a 29th-minute free-kick tipped against the crossbar by Stephanie Labbe was the closest England went to scoring in their final fixture before Riise names a Great Britain squad for the summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Riise said: “I’m disappointed that we lost this game. I feel like the thing that I’m most disappointed in is that we don’t create chances – not enough.

“We had the ball, we switched the play better second half than first half, but we don’t create enough to get the goals.

“We were a bit stressed with the ball, Canada aggressive in the pressure, so that was the struggle I think we had today.”

England were without injured centre-back and captain Steph Houghton and Riise – who gave Bright the armband for the contest – admits a mistake cost them.

“She (Houghton) has been captain for England for how many years, so of course you miss a captain and a leader,” Riise said.

“But I feel like it was more of a mistake today and you can never predict that.

“I feel the team effort was good. We tried, we hold together as a team and we fight, even though we were one goal down early. We kept going and I felt like we did well in the game – except the chances that we didn’t create.”

England, now with nine defeats in their last 14 games, were playing for a third time under Riise, the first having been a 6-0 win over Northern Ireland in February.

The Norwegian will name an 18-player GB squad next month.

England were undone by errors
England were undone by errors (Mike Egerton/PA)

Riise said: “I’m very confident that next time we’ll learn from this. I’m happy having these two games, it’s good to see all the players and moving forward I’m confident that we will perform better.”

Asked if she now knew her GB squad, Riise said: “Not at all – now I go back and start thinking about players’ positions.”

After the Olympics, Sarina Wiegman is to take charge of England, ahead of them being the host team at the European Championship in 2022.

Priestman, whose side had won 3-0 against Wales on Friday, said: “To get a win and a clean sheet against England, I think that’s really tough to do and I’m delighted with that.

“When I first got this job it was about scoring more goals but absolutely conceding less, that’s what I had looked at against tier one. To get five goals and clean sheets across this camp, I’m really pleased with that, it shows we have taken that step forward.”