Hills: We’ll be stronger

Brent Hills has backed his England Women’s U19 side to come back stronger next year following their group stage exit at the European Championship finals.

England lost all three matches, to Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Spain, but 17 of the 18 squad members are young enough to play in this tournament in 12 months’ time.

And Hills believes the players will learn from their three defeats.

England 0-2 Spain

UEFA Women’s U19 Championship finals
Group B
Monday 21 July 2014
Strommen, Norway

He said: “They gave it a real good go in all three games and they will be better for the experience next year. They just didn’t have enough this time around.

“They have got a big eight months ahead of them now. If they work hard and learn from this week then they have got every chance of qualifying next year.

“There are a few players in the U20 World Cup squad that can play for this age group next year, too. And if they do qualify they now know what to expect.

“I’d just put it down to inexperience. Every one of the six goals we conceded we could have stopped easily.

“We had 56 per cent possession against Sweden and 64 per cent possession against Ireland. We always try to dominate possession and play through the thirds and we did well in that sense.”

Second-half goals from Sonia Fraile and Nahikari García gave Spain a 2-0 win on Monday night but Hills was happy with the way his side played, particularly in the first half.

He added: “I think Spain could win this tournament and in the first half we were hands down the better team all over the pitch.

“We passed the ball well and really cut through them, we just weren’t ready to take advantage of our good play.

“They shaded the second half and they took two chances but I’d like to see the possession stats because I think we had more of the ball.

“We forced Spain to make mistakes and they looked nervous, we just couldn’t capitalise.”

England are one of the top three seeds for next year’s Euros, alongside France and Germany, due to their excellent recent record in the competition – they won the tournament in 2009 and were runners-up in 2007, 2010 and 2013.

They received a bye into the elite qualifying round which takes place in the spring of 2015.