‘We felt we were failures’: England goalkeeper Carly Telford suggests Women’s World Cup was NOT a success for Lionesses as they prepare for first match since the tournament
- England reached the semi-final stage of the Women’s World Cup in the summer
- But they were knocked out by the United States during the last-four stage
- Lionesses play their first game since World Cup against Belgium on Thursday
- Carly Telford has suggested the campaign was a failure after the exit
England goalkeeper Carly Telford has held her hands up to admit the 2019 FIFA World Cup campaign in France was a ‘failure’ as the squad prepare for their first test since leaving the competition empty-handed.
Despite becoming the nation’s first senior side to reach the semi-final stages of three consecutive major tournaments, the Lionesses fell short of their final target. Even their hopes to match, at the very least, their bronze-medal finish in Canada four years ago were shattered in the 2-1 defeat by Sweden.
Almost two months on, England go again, this time in two international friendlies, the second of which is controversially being played just four days before the start of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League season which kicks off a week this weekend.
Carly Telford has held her hands up to admit the World Cup campaign in France was a ‘failure’
The Lionesses face Belgium at the Den Dreef Stadium in Brussels on Thursday night before travelling to Norway — who they dismantled in style in their World Cup quarter-final — for the game on Tuesday.
The Chelsea keeper, who featured in three World Cup games in Phil Neville’s excessively rotated system, in part due to injury to Karen Bardsley, admits England must work harder for their fairytale ending.
Telford said: ‘As a collective, we felt we were a failure and Phil was quite open about that. We went to win a gold medal and we didn’t, therefore anything else wasn’t going to be good enough.
‘We’ve played a better style of football, we beat good opposition quite comfortably but when it came to those final margins and hurdles we weren’t good enough.’
England’s players show their dejection after losing the third place play-off against Sweden
But it’s the 2-1 defeat by the now four-time champions USA that still riles the 32-year-old. With Ellen White’s effort ruled offside by VAR and skipper Steph Houghton’s 84th-minute spot kicked saved, England were denied their first-ever place in a Women’s World Cup final. Telford says it hurts more than a three-goal thumping.
‘We know how close we are. It’s fine margins. Once upon a time it was big margins and we were just happy to be there and not lose by two or three goals against these teams.
‘Now we’re devastated when we’re so close. But it’s just a matter of time. The winds are changing.’
Four senior debutants including Chelsea forward Bethany England and Manchester City defender Aoife Mannion are in Neville’s 24-player squad, 19 of whom travelled to France.
Now Neville’s sights must turn to the search for an 18-player Great Britain team to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games and an England side capable of overcoming the semi-final shakes to win a home European Championships in 2021. And it starts on Thursday in Brussels.