A 6-0 win over Scotland was not enough for England as they failed to qualify on behalf of Team GB for the Olympics due to goal difference.
On 5 December, the Lionesses faced Scotland in their final group stage game of the UEFA Nations League. The pressure on this performance was immense – they needed to score enough goals to top their group in order to qualify Team GB for the 2024 Olympics.
The first goal of the game came quickly – 12 minutes in Alex Greenwood headed the ball into the back of the net. Without hesitation, she ran back into position. It became clear that England were determined to get as many goals as they could.
Following this initial goal, the Lauren James show saw the scoreline jump to 3-0 in the blink of an eye. At 38 minutes she scored, and then just a minute later came her second goal of the game – a stunning finish.
Still, there had been no celebrations after goals, with the Lionesses rapidly running back to carry on playing.
Not long after that Beth Mead made it four. Assisted by James, Mead’s first England goal since her ACL injury hit the top right corner just before half time. This comeback goal was briefly celebrated before the players headed into the changing rooms to prepare for the second half.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Fran Kirby scored the fifth England goal following a neat bit of play down the right-hand side of the pitch from Georgia Stanway.
Three minutes into stoppage time, Lucy Bronze headed the final goal of the game into the net. The players embraced each other with elation … until the news of the Netherlands game came in.
The Netherlands, who were playing Belgium, had scored two goals in stoppage time. This made the score to 4-0 to the Netherlands, and meant England had been overtaken in the UEFA Nations League table. And just like that, Team GB had been prevented from heading to the Paris Olympics this summer.
Devastation overwhelmed the Lionesses as they were denied not only a place at the Olympics, but also a place in the semi-final of the Nations League.
Tuesday’s match saw a rollercoaster of emotions. What should have been a night of pride for the Lionesses became the opposite.
Unfortunately for England, a 6-0 win was simply not enough.