Premier League

‘We needed to get back to our game’

Georgia Stanway

England midfielder Georgia Stanway believes their 2-1 win over France in Saint-Etienne on Tuesday night was a significant step in the right direction.

The Lionesses’ form has been somewhat inconsistent since the World Cup last year. They crashed out of the Nations League in the group stage, which ended their hopes of securing Great Britain a place at the Olympics this summer, while automatic Euro 2025 qualification also hung in the balance after Friday’s home defeat to France at St James’ Park.

The revamped qualifying format for the Euros placed England in a ‘group of death‘ alongside France, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland, where only the top two automatically qualify for the tournament in Switzerland next year. Third and fourth in groups across League A will be required to contend two rounds of play-off games against teams in League B and C in order to make the cut.

It was a possibility staring the Lionesses in the face after defeat in Newcastle. But, a much-needed reverse of that result in England’s favour puts their qualification hopes back in their hands, heading into the final qualifiers against Sweden and Ireland next month.

Georgia Stanway opened the scoring in the first half and her strike was closely followed by a headed goal from Alessia Russo. France looked much stronger after the break and very nearly succeeded in mounting a comeback, courtesy of a penalty from Lyon forward Kadidiatou Diani, but it was ultimately England’s night in Saint-Etienne.

Georgia Stanway

Stanway contributed massively to a vital Euro 2025 qualifying win / Catherine Steenkeste/GettyImages

“I think we were on the front foot from the beginning,” Stanway told ITV post-match. “We knew the other day wasn’t bad, there were just things we had to tweak and we did that.

“We exploited the space that was behind them and battled for 95 minutes. We made sure we weren’t leaving this stadium without a good result because the way we left St James’ Park was so disheartening and so disappointing.

“We knew we needed to get back to our game. We’re still not at the level [we want to be] and we’re not satisfied with how this week has been, but today is a massive step in the right direction for us.”

Stanway was among the standout performers on the night, along with fellow goalscorer Russo. In Friday’s clash against France, England struggled to gain any kind of a foothold on proceedings and they continuously lost the midfield battle throughout the 90 minutes.

It was a different story on Tuesday night. After a…

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