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England 3-2 Netherlands: Mary Earps says she “really let the team down” with her first-half errors

England 3-2 Netherlands: Mary Earps says she “really let the team down” with her first-half errors

  • Written by Callum Matthews
  • BBC Sport

video caption, England witnesses a dramatic comeback to defeat the Netherlands

Stand-in England captain Mary Earps said she “really let the team down” in their win over the Netherlands in the Women's Nations League.

England trailed 2-0, and Earps let the second into her hands.

“I'm sorry that my performance cost the girls this way,” Earps told ITV.

“This will haunt me for a long time. I really let the team down today. I'm really disappointed.”

Earps, who was named BBC Women's Footballer of the Year earlier in the week, was distracted throughout and was consoled by her teammates.

The Manchester United goalkeeper played a major role with England in winning the 2022 European Championship and reaching the World Cup final this summer.

“It would have been a really special night at Wembley. The team was unbelievable,” she added.

England travel to Scotland on Tuesday – a match you can watch live on BBC One – knowing that a win could see them through to the Home Nations League final and keep their Olympic hopes alive.

The failure of coach Sarina Wegmann's team to beat the Netherlands by two goals means that the two teams have an identical record in direct confrontations, which puts the Netherlands at the top of the standings on goal difference.

A win in Glasgow would see the Lionesses advance if the Netherlands drop points at home to Belgium, but a Dutch win would mean England need to win at least four goals more than their rivals to qualify for the knockout stages.

In her post-match press conference, Wegman defended Earps, saying, “Of course she did not let the team down.”

“I spoke to her very briefly and I don't want her to talk like that,” Wegman said. “We win as a team and we lose as a team.

“When something happens at the back, it gets registered very quickly. That's part of the game.

“Of course you did not let the team down. Everyone is doing their best and giving everything. You only let the team down when you don't put in an effort in the match and we never put in an effort.”

England 'may have gone to another roof'

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Sarina Wegman won the 2017 European Championship and reached the 2019 World Cup final with the Netherlands.

England went into the match knowing they needed to win to have any hope of qualifying for the finals after suffering defeats to the Netherlands and Belgium in their first four matches.

At the end of the first half, they were facing their fourth defeat in their past six matches, after losing to Spain in the World Cup final in August.

Wegman's spell with England began with a 30-match unbeaten run, but there have been recent struggles, including a World Cup warm-up defeat to Australia in April.

But the Dutchman says her team may have shown a new level in their victory in front of the raucous Wembley crowd.

“We said at half-time that we didn't perform badly, but I feel like the team really showed up in the second half and probably went through another roof,” Wegman told BBC Sport.

“There is a lot of potential in this team and a lot of commitment and desire to win. The enthusiasm is fantastic. We really believed at half-time that we could turn that around. I'm very happy that we were able to achieve it.” .

“In the end I was a bit disappointed that we didn't score another goal because then we would have been in a better position. I'm very proud of the team.”

However, former England striker Eni Aloko, who used to work as an ITV pundit, said she was concerned about England's lack of adaptability.

Throughout England's run to the World Cup Final, Wegman often changed formations from four in defense to five and changed the structure of the attacking line, but England tended to stick to a 4-3-3 formation during their Nations League campaign.

“I'm a little surprised by England,” Aluko said.

“They showed adaptability in the World Cup but we didn't really see that in the UEFA Nations League. It took practically getting eliminated for us to show that. I'm surprised we didn't see that adaptability from Sarina Wegman.”

Former midfielder Karen Carne praised Boegman for her changes despite Toone coming off the bench to score the winner, while Alessia Russo was also impressive after her introduction.

“I was really angry and disappointed with the performance and Sarina Wegman in the first half but the substitutions changed the game,” Carney told ITV.

“The second half was a completely different team and that was exactly what we needed.”

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