Kelly and Parris expect Lionesses response after missing out on 2024 Olympics

By Sports Desk December 31, 2023

Chloe Kelly and Nikita Parris have backed their England team-mates to recover from the gut-wrenching disappointment of missing out on a chance of featuring at the Olympic Games in 2024.

The Lionesses lifted the Euro 2022 trophy and reached the final of the Women's World Cup a year later, but there was no fairytale ending to their Women's Nations League story.

Sarina Wiegman's European champions hammered Scotland 6-0 in their last fixture in Group A1 this month, but the Netherlands' 4-0 win over Belgium saw them top the standings.

Had Olympic qualification been determined by World Cup placings, Team GB would have qualified thanks to their nominated representative England making the final, losing 1-0 to Spain.

However, the new Nations League competition dictates who will travel to Paris next year and Germany, Spain and the Netherlands will now battle for two of three spots alongside hosts France.

Manchester City star Kelly, speaking at the launch of the first ever Panini Barclays Women's Super League sticker collection at the National Football Museum, said: "I think it is the way we bounce back from those losses, I think we can learn a lot from the whole duration of that Nations League.

"Being more consistent throughout the tournament because we left it to the last two games and we cut ourselves short.

"We are a great side and it is about getting some rest now, recovering and going again."

While there will be no Olympic dream for Wiegman and her England players, another European Championship campaign will follow in Switzerland in 2025.

Owing to the difficult task of qualifying for the Games, Parris echoed Kelly's message as she insisted the Lionesses will come back stronger.

Parris added: "It was a disappointment, fine margins, especially when in the Nations League, top teams are playing against each other.

"You do want that competition and it's such a hard route to go to the Olympics for the European sides, but for sure the girls will be super disappointed about the results and not going to the Olympics in 2024.

"The bounce back will be very quick, however. The focus will then go to the Euros and I'm sure everyone is raring and ready to go for the next games."

Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis acknowledged the Lionesses' "failure" but assured Wiegman will use the experience as a learning curve.

Brown-Finnis said: "It's an unusual one, not qualifying for the Olympics, it comes off the back of a Covid-postponed European Championships.

"Obviously we went on and won that one on home soil, so it's a congested fixture period and I'm not making excuses for the failure because all those players desperately wanted to be at the Olympics.

"It's what every national team in women's football aspires to do, to play in their continental championships, the World Cup and the Olympics, one year off and repeat.

"So it's a failure, absolutely, but it didn't happen on the last day against Scotland, it happened in the previous games.

"They'll come back, they'll have the summer off, which I think will definitely be a benefit, and Sarina Weigman, she'll learn from it, she'll learn what her players need.

"She's only two years into her tenure and what a success… she has been unbelievable, so I hope she sticks around for a long time and brings more success to the Lionesses."

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