England vs Spain SheBelieves Cup preview

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020 10:37am

Phil Neville's England side face Spain tonight in the last fixture of the 2020 SheBelieves cup for these two nations.

The pressure on Phil Neville's shoulder was hardly eased after a narrow 1-0 win over Japan last time out. An 83rd minute strike from substitute Ellen White gave England just their third win in 10 games, but questions still linger over the ex-Manchester United and Everton's tenure as Lioness manager. 

Calls for both Beth England and Ellen White to start upfront were ignored as Neville continued with just the lone striker, this time in the form of Chelsea's in form Beth England. 

Beth England had several good chances but superb saves from goalkeeper Sakiko Ikeda denied the forward who has scored 14 goals in 15 Women's Super League appearances. In need of a goal to overcome a resilient Japan side who lost 3-1 in their opening game of the tournament, Neville went to the reliable White who came up with the goods, netting a fantastic volley to break Japanese hearts. 

Neville must have been breathed a sigh of relief come the full-time whistle. An opening game 2-0 defeat to World Cup holders USA means this third and final game for England could still see them potentially anywhere between first and last. 

Spain are a nation on the up following their impressive 2019 World Cup showing. They themselves narrowly lost 1-0 to the USA in their recent outing; an 87th winner from Julie Ertz means both Spain and England sit on three points as they go into tonight's encounter. 

Speaking in his pre-match press conference about his own future as national team manager, Neville said: "I will know myself if it is not working. I will know if it's time to go and [the FA] know I'm that type of person."

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"You have to look beyond the criticism. I own a football club myself and I think it's important to give support to the manager.

"Stability is the key to success and I am lucky I have that from the people I work for. There is a real balance and acceptability that we have to improve but [the FA] know the journey we are going on."

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Team News

England

Beth England, Rachel Daly and substitute Leah Williamson will be assessed in training after picking up slight knocks during the game against Japan. It is expected that Ellen White will start against Spain.

Centre-backs pairing Millie Bright and Steph Houghton will also be seen to check if they can muster a third game within a week, Neville has revealed. 

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England have won the last two encounters between these two nations; 2-0 in the 2017 Euros and 2-1 in 2019 as both geared up for the World Cup.

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