England Women 0 Sweden 3: Steph Houghton’s 100th cap ends in defeat at Rotherham United’s New York Stadium

England's Steph Houghton
England's Steph Houghton

The occasion of Steph Houghton's 100th cap for England was soured by a 3-0 defeat to Sweden at Rotherham United's New York Stadium this afternoon.

Sweden took the lead after 20 minutes in front of a near-capacity crowd in Rotherham and did not look back, inflicting England's second defeat under manager Phil Neville from 12 games.

The opener came when Sofia Jakobsson was given too much space just outside the area and she curled her shot into the corner, beyond England goalkeeper Carly Telford.

The visitors doubled their lead after England failed to clear the danger, and Anna Anvegard hit the ball into the net from just a few yards out to get her first international goal.

Unfortunately for England, it was Sweden's Caroline Seger who dominated the ball in midfield in the first half, and formed the basis of their attacking movements.

England had a penalty shout in the 65th minute when Nikita Parris looked to be bundled over in the box, but the referee waved play on.

The home side failed to capitalise on a good 15 minutes of pressure and possession before Telford made a diving save low to her right to prevent a third goal for Sweden with just 10 minutes left of the match.

“The fans will have gone away slightly disappointed,” Neville said.

“That hurts, we wanted to give them goals and excitement – but you don’t always get what you want in life.

“Although we miss [the injured] Jodie Taylor and Fran Kirby I felt this team had enough quality to win.

“But with 20 minutes to go I was enjoying the fact we were suffering because, sometimes in life, you need pain.

“We were on the crest of a wave and maybe it was time to remind everyone that we’re not just going to turn up and win the World Cup.”