England Lionesses must learn from shock defeat as World Cup looms

Lucy Bronze admits England have room for improvement after a shock defeat to New Zealand provided a “wake-up call” before their quest for World Cup glory.

England's Lucy Bronze: During the international friendly at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.
England's Lucy Bronze: During the international friendly at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.

Phil Neville’s Lionesses, ranked third in the world, fly to France tomorrow as one of the favourites to lift the trophy.

But Saturday’s send-off in Brighton did not go to plan as they failed to capitalise on their dominance and slipped to an unexpected 1-0 loss against inferior opposition.

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Lyon defender Bronze feels there were positives to take from the display at the Amex Stadium but accepts the team must learn from the experience.

“The scoreline might be frustrating but the performance wasn’t, we still played some very good football,” said Bronze.

“We created I don’t know how many chances – probably more than we normally do – but we didn’t put them away and one little slip up and they scored.

“It’s a friendly and a wake-up call and it just shows that we’ve got more work to put in over the next week.

“You know that you don’t want to feel that (disappointment) again and going into each game now thinking we don’t want to get beaten, you’ve got to turn it on for every team.

“We respected New Zealand, we knew on paper that we are the better side but it just shows football is football, anybody can win on the day and we can’t switch off for even a second in the World Cup.

“We have to be at our best for every second of the game, no matter who we are playing against. That’s something that this team normally prides itself on.”

Sarah Gregorius’s 50th-minute finish settled the south-coast friendly, with Jodie Taylor squandering the best of England’s chances.

Saturday’s match was played in high temperatures, yet it is likely to be even warmer in Nice when England face Scotland in their Group D opener on Sunday.