England missed out on a third-placed finish at the Women’s World Cup as they were beaten 2-1 by Sweden in their play-off in Nice.
Sweden raced into a 2-0 lead at the Allianz Riviera, with Kosovare Asllani firing in in the 11th minute after an Alex Greenwood error and Sofia Jakobsson adding a fine strike in the 22nd.
Phil Neville’s Lionesses replied through Fran Kirby’s left-footed effort just after the half-hour mark and two minutes later the ball was in the Swedes’ net again courtesy of an Ellen White finish.
But, just had been the case in the 2-1 semi-final loss to the United States four days earlier, White had what she had thought was an equaliser disallowed following a VAR review.
This time the forward – the tournament’s joint top-scorer with six goals – was judged to have been guilty of a handball.
White’s frustration at the decision was clear, and it ended up a disappointing outing overall for the team after they had the better of the second half but were unable to save themselves from defeat, with Lucy Bronze seeing a late strike cleared off the line by Nilla Fischer.
Victory would have made the campaign in France England’s joint-best performance at a Women’s World Cup, four years on from them securing bronze for the first time in Canada.
Instead they must settle for fourth, while Sweden, the 2003 runners-up, take home bronze for a third time.