Beth Mead admits England have ‘a target on our backs’ after winning Euro 2022 but backs the Lionesses to ‘beat France comfortably’ ahead of second clash in FIVE DAYS with Les Bleus

  • France beat England 2-1 at St. James’ Park when the two sides met last week
  • Beth Mead scored in the defeat that leaves England third in their group
  • Are Pep’s City the greatest the Premier League has seen? Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

Beth Mead says England have a target on their back after winning the Euros and reaching a World Cup final but insisted they are ready to prove their credentials after a disappointing defeat against France last week.

The Lionesses take on Les Bleus for a second time in five days in Saint-Etienne on Tuesday evening and find themselves in desperate need of a result.

Friday’s 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park left Sarina Wiegman’s side third in their Euro 2025 qualifying group. Only the countries who finish in the top two places, currently occupied by France and Sweden, progress automatically to next summer’s tournament – with the bottom two teams facing two sets of two-legged play-offs.

‘You’ve got to beat the best to be the best and obviously we’ve got a target on our backs since winning the Euros,’ Mead said.

‘We have enough quality to play against any team and beat them, so it’s a tough group – most people would probably say it’s the group of death – but again, we’ve got to beat the best to be the best.

Beth Mead has insisted that England have a ‘target on our backs’ after winning the Euros in 2022

France pulled off a shock 2-1 victory against Sarina Wiegman's side on Friday evening

France pulled off a shock 2-1 victory against Sarina Wiegman’s side on Friday evening

‘We were very frustrated with Friday, we’ve got a team of winners, people that want to push each other out of the team. That’s the competition within the team. Every day, everyone is fighting for positions. Things don’t always go right, that’s football. There’s no one more than the players who get frustrated and want to pick the hell out of the game the other night.

‘We’ve analysed, we feel ready. We feel that we can put on a good performance tomorrow night and show that we can beat France comfortably.’

Wiegman, though, insisted it is not a ‘must-win’ game despite England’s position in the group.

‘We always want to win games and of course it would really, really help to put us in a better position when we win the game. And of course that is how we’re going to approach it and with the experience on Friday we feel comfortable that we can get a good result.’

England will be without No 1 goalkeeper Mary Earps after she picked up a minor hip injury in Friday’s defeat. Chelsea goalkeeper Hannah Hampton is expected to take her place.

Meanwhile, France boss Herve Renard made a rallying call for St-Etienne supporters to come out and support his team, with a crowd of just 10,000 expected at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

Mead scored the goal for the hosts to go 1-0 up at St. James' Park before a fight back from France

Mead scored the goal for the hosts to go 1-0 up at St. James’ Park before a fight back from France

‘All the supporters of Saint-Etienne are welcome to come even to celebrate their promotion. They can come with their green jerseys.

‘This France team is having very good results so they need support.’