France game good preparation for European Championship, says England boss
PUBLISHED: 09:05 24 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:05 24 October 2016
2015 The FA
Mark Sampson says last week's 0-0 friendly draw with France was a good run out for England as they plan their assault on next year's European Championship.
England qualified for next summer’s tournament, which begins in July, with an unbeaten qualifying campaign, and in the first of three friendly matches before Christmas earned a goalless draw with a French outfit who, like the Lionesses, are seeded for the competition in the Netherlands.
Going into the match England had not beaten France since 1974, and although the visitors had the better of the game Sampson says he was pleased with how his side remained strong as the match went on as they extended their unbeaten run to eight matches.
“We wanted to treat this game like a tournament game,” said Sampson, who had included Welwyn GC’s Alex Scott in his squad alongside former University of Hertfordshire students Jordan Nobbs and Danielle Carter.
“In a tournament stage if it goes to 90 minutes it goes to extra-time, and I felt that if this had gone to extra-time there would have only been one winner and it would have been England.
“You have two teams who wanted to win. France are fighting for their lives because they’ve got a new coach [Olivier Echouafni] and already they’ve brought in new players and some old players back.
“In women’s football you get limited chances to play against the big guns so you have to make the most of them.
“Clean sheets are so important. We are aware that Germany won the last Euro Championship getting five clean sheets in six and for us now the last two games against France it’s two clean sheets.
“The last three games with Germany it’s a 1-0 win, a 2-1 defeat and a 0-0 draw so we’ve shown defensively we can defend our goal.
“We need to add a little bit more in terms of our inventiveness in the set piece and quality with the ball but that comes with confidence and more performances like this will build on that.”
England host Spain tomorrow evening (Tuesday) and then face the Netherlands away on Tuesday, November 29. Both are friendly games.