England suffered a 3-2 loss to Belgium, impacting their chances in the Women’s Nations League and 2024 Olympics qualification. The Lionesses’ defense and finishing struggled during the match in Leuven, with an early injury to Alex Greenwood disrupting their flow.
Just days after a convincing win against Belgium, the Lionesses found themselves on the losing end. The game in Belgium was full of ups and downs. Laura De Neve’s free-kick put the Red Flames ahead, but goals from Lucy Bronze and Fran Kirby turned the tide in England’s favor. However, Tessa Wullaert’s two goals, one at the end of the first half and another from a penalty, secured a famous victory for Belgium.
This loss has made England’s path to the Nations League finals and the 2024 Olympics much harder, with the Lionesses now third in Group A1. The question arises: how did England go from winning 1-0 in Leicester to a 3-2 defeat against the same team just four days later?
During most of Sarina Wiegman’s tenure, England’s defense was solid, but things changed after the World Cup quarter-finals. They’ve struggled to keep clean sheets, and in Belgium, they conceded three goals for the first time under Wiegman’s leadership.
Some may attribute these defensive issues to recent changes in formation and personnel. England shifted between a back three and a back four, and new players like Niamh Charles at left-back have brought their own challenges.
England’s full-backs often push forward, leaving them vulnerable in defense. This was evident in Wullaert’s first goal, where the full-backs couldn’t get back in time to help.
In summary, the game against Belgium revealed shortcomings in multiple aspects of England’s play, and their fate in the Nations League and the Olympics is no longer in their hands. They need to win their remaining two group games against the Netherlands and Scotland and hope for favorable results to have a chance at progressing.