England’s Lucy Bronze hailed the Lionesses’ defensive strength after a second consecutive shutout helped continue their winning ways at Euro 2017.
Having trounced neighbours Scotland 6-0 in their tournament opener, Mark Sampson’s side came through a significantly sterner test with a 2-0 win over Spain in Breda.
La Roja dominated the ball at Rat Verlagh Stadion, racking up 74% possession but it was England who used it to greater effect, netting early through Fran Kirby before Jodie Taylor followed her hat-trick against the Scots with a late effort.
While Sampson would probably like his team to be in control of the ball for longer periods as the tournament progresses, Bronze emphasised the solidity of the back line as they ensured Spain were restricted to just one shot on target.
“The fact they had so much of the ball doesn’t bother me – there’s only one stat that matters,” the Manchester City full-back told TheFA.com.
“We’ve won twice and not conceded yet. Possession is nice but you need to put the ball in the back of the net. Our defensive solidity is impressive.
“It was one of the top defensive performances I’ve been part of because of the opponents and conditions.
“We knew Spain would be good in possession and that’s what they were, but we limited them to that. They didn’t force any saves and fortunately our strikers are in good form and they showed it.
“It’s a tournament, if you get ahead you need to see the game out and that’s what this England team is really good at.”
“There was concentration for the full 90 minutes and to get another goal at the end is credit to our performance.”
Chelsea forward Kirby, who took her international tally to seven with her quick-fire finish, credited the conditioning of the England side for Spain’s inability to cut through.
“We know how good Spain are on the ball, playing around us, but we limited their chances and pressed really well,” she told UEFA.com.
“The hard work we are putting in is paying off. We knew they would have a lot of the ball. It just shows how fit we are as a team to be able to do that for 90 minutes.”
England now need just one point against Portugal on Thursday to book their place in the quarter-finals.
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