England boost Euro 2025 qualification hopes with France win

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England boosted their hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2025 with a 2-1 victory over France in Saint-Etienne.

Sarina Wiegman’s side dropped out of the automatic qualification spots in their group after France came from behind to beat the Lionesses 2-1 at St James’ Park on Friday. Sweden, who started the evening second in the group behind France, piled the pressure onto England with a 1-0 victory over Republic of Ireland, but the Euro 2022 holders responded in fine style.

In a near-perfect first-half performance from England, Georgia Stanway’s long-range piledriver gave the visitors the lead in the 21st minute before Alessia Russo’s header doubled the advantage before half-time.

France failed to produce a shot on target in the first half, but they were much more threatening after the break. They were eventually handed a lifeline when Ella Toone lost possession in the middle of the pitch before Leah Williamson clipped Grace Geyoro in the penalty area.

Kadidiatou Diani made no mistake from the spot to set up a big finish at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, and England needed a big save from Hannah Hampton, deputising for the injured Mary Earps, to deny Marie-Antoinette Katoto in the closing stages to seal what could prove to be a huge victory for the Lionesses.

The result means England, who secured a first win in France in 51 years, are now in control of their own destiny in terms of automatic qualification. The Lionesses stay third in the group on goal difference but sit level on points with Sweden, who they still have to play, while they are now just two points behind group leaders France with two games of the campaign remaining.

What’s next?

The Lionesses return to action next month with their final two Euro 2025 qualifying matches. Sarina Wiegman’s side host the Republic of Ireland at Carrow Road on July 12 and then end their campaign with an away trip against Sweden on July 16.

What are the other Euro 2025 qualifying dates?

July 12: England vs Republic of Ireland, Norwich, kick-off 8pm

July 16: Sweden vs England, location TBC, kick-off 6pm

Play-off draw: July 19

Play-off round one (two legs): October 23-29

Play-off round two (two legs): November 27-December 3

Euro 2025 finals draw: December 16

Euro 2025 finals: July 2-27 2025 – Switzerland

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