Portugal 0-1 England: Beth Mead capitalises on error to give Lionesses win

Mead, right, scored her seventh goal for England late in the second half

England scraped a win over Portugal to record their first victory since the World Cup quarter-final against Sweden.

Phil Neville’s side had not won any of their previous five games.

They were gifted a goal in the 72nd minute when Portugal keeper Patricia Morais fumbled Alex Greenwood’s cross and Beth Mead was able to poke it in from a yard out.

Claudia Neta almost snatched a late equaliser when she hit the crossbar with a free-kick in stoppage time.

The ball bounced off the underside of the bar and down onto the line, allowing goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck to pounce on it before any Portugal player could react.

It was a sloppy performance from England in eerie surroundings in Lisbon but it was the result Neville craved.

On Monday, he said he «did not feel vulnerable» about his position as manager despite his team failing to keep a clean sheet since their return from France.

The first half display did little to ease the pressure – England gave the ball away on too many occasions and Portugal took advantage of spaces out wide.

Former Chelsea winger Ana Borges and Lyon’s Jessica Silva were a headache all half and the closest England came was when Mead’s cross flew inches in front of Beth England and Nikita Parris.

The second half was more positive – England pushed higher up the pitch and there was more urgency to get the ball into wide areas.

But they lacked creativity until, after an hour, Neville brought on Jordan Nobbs, who is continuing her comeback from a serious knee injury.

Her introduction, alongside striker Jodie Taylor, improved things for England, as Uefa Player of the Year Lucy Bronze returned to her natural right-back position having started in midfield.

Nobbs, Mead and Taylor all had chances to score before the costly mistake from the Portugal keeper while substitute Lauren Hemp looked positive when she came on.

But the issues that have stained England’s recent friendly defeats by Brazil and Sweden, and the draw with Belgium, were still evident.

They will face an even tougher test when they host Germany, ranked second in the world, at Wembley on 9 November in front of an expected 70,000 crowd.

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