Sarina Wiegman was “very disappointed” England had not won but insisted the performance was not a concern after they were held to a goalless draw by Portugal in their Women’s World Cup warm-up match at Stadium MK.
The European champions’ last home game before departing for this summer’s showpiece in Australia and New Zealand saw them unable to make a breakthrough despite creating a considerable number of chances.
Georgia Stanway and Lucy Bronze both struck the woodwork and Alessia Russo was denied by a goalline block, while other notable moments included Rachel Daly having a header saved, Lauren Hemp heading over and Russo firing wide.
England created a host of chances but could not find the breakthrough (Martin Rickett/PA)
Lionesses boss Wiegman said: “Of course my first thoughts are that I am, but also the team is, very disappointed that we didn’t win this game.
“But we also take a lot of learnings from it and I think at moments we saw the things we really have been working on, that we wanted to show, a way of creating chances.
“I think the first half we were a little bit too slow, the ball tempo was, and we had too many players behind the ball or very close to it, and then when we did break lines we didn’t have enough numbers higher up the pitch. I think we did that a lot better in the second half.
“We had players higher on the pitch and created more chances, although I think in the first half we created a couple. But we just didn’t score.
Georgia Stanway (left) struck the woodwork for England (Martin Rickett/PA)
“I think we had moments that were really good and moments we could have done a little better.”
Asked specifically about chances that fell to Daly, who started up front, and Russo, who replaced her at half-time, Wiegman said: “I think the first thing is you want to create lots of chances, and then see how we execute that.
“And yes, it’s disappointing of course, they want to be ruthless and score those chances, and today they didn’t. It’s not a worry for me.
“It’s just we want to get into those positions. When you got so much into those positions today – I think that’s pretty good. But of course we want to do the final touch too, and that’s to get the ball in the net. So we all know that.”
The Dutchwoman added: “That was today a little problem, but if you see how many chances we created – I think we had 23 shots on goal – there won’t be many matches where we then don’t score.”
England fly to Australia on Wednesday and face Canada behind closed doors in a final warm-up match on July 14 before opening their World Cup campaign against Haiti in Brisbane eight days later.
When Wiegman, who made a treble change in personnel at the interval and six substitutions in total, was asked if she was closer to knowing her starting XI for the Haiti game than she had been before the Portugal contest, she said: “No. I’m not closer now.
“I’m not sure if we get closer than this though. At the end you have to make decisions. I think in some positions it’s really tight. We have some time now. So, no, I’m not sure, and this is not the time to make the final decision because we still have a couple of weeks to go.”
Portugal manager Francisco Neto saw his side claim a goalless draw (George Tewkesbury/PA)
England were playing a Portugal outfit ranked 17 places below them at 21st and who will be making their first appearance at a World Cup finals this summer.
Boss Francisco Neto said: “Playing in this kind of environment is not easy, and the emotional stability that we had during the game, I’m very happy with that, because it looks like the girls are ready for the environment that they will have in the World Cup.”