England’s send-off friendly against Portugal on Saturday afternoon was expected to be relatively straight-forward. Many thought that Sarina Wiegman would field her full-strength XI, while considering the injury absence of stand-in captain Millie Bright, and the Lionesses would win the match. In the end, neither of those things happened.
The win didn’t come, with England held to a goalless draw by a team that defended admirably, even if their hosts should’ve found the back of the net with the chances they created. The line-up was a surprise, too.
It’s anticipated that Alex Greenwood will be Bright’s centre-back partner at the World Cup, with skipper Leah Williamson ruled out with an ACL injury, but she started at left-back on Saturday as Wiegman opted for a youthful centre-back duo of Esme Morgan and Jess Carter, the latter having been seemingly leading the race to start on the left in Australia.
Up top, Alessia Russo, who has largely had a stranglehold on the No.9 shirt since Ellen White’s retirement last summer, was on the bench, as the Women’s Super League’s Golden Boot winner, Rachel Daly, got the nod to start, while Lauren James was on the right in favour of Chloe Kelly.
With plenty of experimental subs coming as the game went on, there was plenty to digest as England played their final game on home soil before the World Cup. So, who did the afternoon bode well for? And who struggled to make their mark? GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from Stadium MK...