Premier League

Beth Mead claims England have had ‘target on our backs’ since Euro 2022 triumph

Beth Mead

Beth Mead claims England have had a target on their backs since their Euros triumph at Wembley in 2022.

The Lionesses etched themselves into the history books two years ago when they won the prestigious tournament on home soil after beating Germany in the final at Wembley.

Sarina Wiegman’s side then found themselves in a World Cup final 12 months later against Spain, suffering a narrow 1-0 loss. The defeat in Sydney was just their second under the Dutch coach since her arrival in September 2021, but things have been far from straightforward since.

England failed to qualify from their Nations League group and missed out on this summer’s Olympics in France as a result.

Their Euro 2025 qualifying campaign and the beginning of their title defence hasn’t gone to plan either. A draw against Sweden in April and a defeat to France on Friday night, both at home, mean the Lionesses are third in their group.

Another defeat on Tuesday in Saint-Etienne will leave their hopes of automatic qualification hanging in the balance ahead of their final two group games against Sweden and the Republic of Ireland in July.

The players, however, are savouring the challenge as they gear up for another huge clash against France.

Beth Mead

Mead celebrates after scoring the opening goal against France on Friday / Stu Forster/GettyImages

“You’ve got to beat the best to be the best,” Mead told the media during a press conference on Monday. “We’ve had a target on our backs since winning the Euros, but we have enough quality in this team to be able to play against any team and beat them.

“It’s a tough group. Most people would probably say it’s the group of death! But again, you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.”

Despite Mead scoring the opener against Les Bleues last time out, it wasn’t enough to secure the win as set-piece goals from Elisa De Almeida and Marie-Antoinette Katoto settled the scoreline. While there were positives to take from the performance, it was a disappointing night for the Lionesses.

“Obviously we were very frustrated with Friday,” Mead continued. “We’ve got a team of winners and people that want to push each other [for places]. That’s the competition within the team.

“Every day, everyone is fighting for their place and we want to prove [ourselves]. Things don’t always go right, that’s football – but there’s no one more frustrated than the players [when things go wrong].”


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