The atmosphere builds ahead of the Women’s World Cup final
BBC pundit Alex Scott was in tears as she defended England star Lucy Bronze despite saying the right-back made a “huge mistake” in the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday. The former Arsenal and England player had called Bronze out at half-time for losing possession in the lead-up to the only goal of the World Cup final as Spain lifted the trophy. But she was keen to defend the same player after the final whistle.
“I was doing alright you know,” Scott said at the end of the match as she tried to hold back the tears. “Seeing Luce in those tears has just got me. Wow. It’s not on her that England have lost this game today. We all know her mentality and how much this is going to pain her. It’s not on her. Lucy is an incredible person and player. Someone needs to go and put their arm around her. Please.”
With the match still goalless just before the half-hour mark, Bronze looked to run the ball out of defence and get her team moving in the right direction. But she ended up dribbling into trouble in the centre of the pitch as she was crowded out by a string of opposing players.
Bronze threw her arms into the air after losing the ball and failed to chase back as Spain gained possession and targeted the space left by the defender. And the passage of play ended with Olga Carmona firing the ball into the corner of the net beyond Mary Earps for what turned out to be the winning goal.
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“Gabby [Logan], this one kills me,” explained Scott at half-time as she assessed the goal. “Everyone knows how much I love Lucy Bronze. To stand here now and highlight a huge mistake…
“When you are on the ball, and we love these lung-busting runs to drive England up the field, the moment you come inside to where the bodies are and you’re overloaded you cannot give the ball away in that area. This is where we highlight the intelligence of Spain knowing that Bronze has left that area and the ball needs to go there directly at pace.
“They overload us, it’s a great finish – but it comes from the mistake. The other side of this is the mentality. Yes you’ve driven into that area and given the ball away but it’s the ‘what next?’ And look at the recovery. This is where you need to be better in a World Cup final. Everyone makes mistakes. You hold up your hands but it’s the ‘what next?’ And Spain are so intelligent and pick the right pass.”
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England improved in the second half after Lauren James was introduced to proceedings. But they couldn’t find a route to goal as Spain hung on for the victory, despite seeing a Jennifer Hermoso penalty saved by Earps.
“We see Lucy drive this team forward time and time again in so many games,” Scott added after the final whistle as she touched upon Bronze’s mistake for a second time. “When you come inside you can’t lose the ball against a Spanish side [that are] so intelligent.
“Look, we didn’t lose the game because of Lucy Bronze’s mistake. There were plenty of other opportunities to get back into the game. But Spain doing what Spain do best, their intelligence to finish you off and punish you at this level.”
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