England coach Mark Sampson has held his hands up and admitted responsibility after the Lionesses lost to France in heartbreaking fashion in the SheBelieves Cup opener.
Marie-Laure Delie headed France level ten minutes from time after Jordan Nobbs gave England a first-half lead, then substitute Wendie Renard scored a winner with the last touch of the game in the fifth minute of added time.
A disappointed Sampson admitted that his second-half tinkering might have had an effect on his side’s coherence.
“Credit to France – they were active and they stuck at it,” he said after the match (via The FA).
“I need to watch the game back, but we struggled in the second-half.
“I tried to make a change to address that but it wasn’t the right change. I hold my hands up.”
After a 54th minute swap of Rachel Williams for Jodie Taylor, Sampson brought on striker Nikita Parris and full-back Alex Scott in the 74th minute, replacing attackers Ellen White and Rachel Daly. Three minutes from time, Manchester City’s Izzy Christiansen came on for goalscorer Nobbs.
The late, heartwrenching defeat means England have now not beaten Les Bleues for 43 years – and now face the tough task of taking on the hosts the USA on Saturday (kick-off 10:00pm GMT).
“It’s about learning our lessons and being better for it,” Sampson added.
“We have to put it to bed and move on to the next one. Tomorrow morning we will prepare for USA.”