Heartache for England as Sweden claim third place at Women’s World Cup with 2-1 victory in Nice

SWEDES MASH LIONESSES

Phil Neville’s side were denied once again by VAR when Ellen White’s strike was ruled out of handball

England missed out on a third-placed finish at the Women’s World Cup as they were beaten 2-1 by Sweden in their play-off in Nice.

Sweden raced into a 2-0 lead at the Allianz Riviera, with Kosovare Asllani firing in in the 11th minute after an Alex Greenwood error before Sofia Jakobsson struck less than 10 minutes later.

England players look dejected following their defeat to Sweden

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England players look dejected following their defeat to Sweden

Phil Neville’s Lionesses replied through Fran Kirby’s left-footed effort just after the half-hour mark and two minutes later the ball was in the Swedes’ net again courtesy of an Ellen White finish.

But, just had been the case in the 2-1 semi-final loss to the United States four days earlier, White had what she had thought was an equaliser disallowed following a VAR review.

This time the forward – the tournament’s joint top-scorer with six goals – was judged to have been guilty of a handball.

White’s frustration at the decision was clear, and it ended up a disappointing outing overall for the team after they had the better of the second half but were unable to save themselves from defeat, with Lucy Bronze seeing a late strike cleared off the line by Nilla Fischer.

Sofia Jakobsson of Sweden celebrates with teammates after her solo strike

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Sofia Jakobsson of Sweden celebrates with teammates after her solo strike

Victory would have made the campaign in France England’s joint-best performance at a Women’s World Cup, four years on from them securing bronze for the first time in Canada.

Instead they must settle for fourth, while Sweden, the 2003 runners-up, take home bronze for a third time.