England 'will be favourites' at Euro 2022, says Netherlands coach Parsons

By Sports Desk June 25, 2022

Netherlands head coach Mark Parsons believes England are favourites for the Women's Euro 2022 after seeing his team well beaten by the Lionesses on Friday.

England ran out 5-1 winners at Elland Road, with goals from Lucy Bronze, Beth Mead (two), Ella Toone and Lauren Hemp sealing an emphatic victory.

England's previous meeting with the Oranje was a 3-0 reverse in the Euro 2017 semi-finals, though the Lionesses maintained their record of having never lost back-to-back games against the Netherlands.

Sarina Wiegman was managing the Dutch side that day as they went on to win their home tournament, and now has the chance to do the same with England.

Speaking after the game, Parsons expressed his admiration for England, pointing to their home advantage and resources.

"This is our third top opponent we've faced," he said. "Brazil, we felt we should have won, France, we weren't good and didn't deserve to draw or win.

"Tonight, I think England will be favourites in the Euros where they're at, the qualities of players, the home crowd, the resources that the WSL have been putting in, the work the clubs have been doing. You add all that up, it's very hard to see that they're not favourites."

Netherlands will be in Group C at Euro 2022 along with Sweden, Portugal and Switzerland, starting off against the Swedes at Bramall Lane on July 9.

"Very difficult evening. I think the one thing we wanted to avoid by taking on such a big game, big opponent early in our preparation, was this outcome" Parsons admitted, before suggesting that England's extra preparation time after the end of their season played a big part.

"If we had avoided this outcome, I think we will only be taking positives. I feel a big responsibility because I knew how big of a step this would be.

"Also, I was aware of the English league finishing May 11. They got their holiday, they got in two weeks before us that they would be in this place, but was aggressive and ambitious in having the game when it was, hoped that we'd be in a controlled position at 60 minutes because the minds probably would have carried the bodies at that point."

The contest had been relatively even in the first half, with the score still 1-1 until the 53rd minute when Mead grabbed her first of the night.

Three more goals in the last 18 minutes gave the game a scoreline that had not seemed likely at the break, and Parsons took some solace in that, while taking some of the blame himself.

He added: "Some of the great decision-making we had in the first half had gone [in the second], so it's going to feel like two games. Analysing the first 55, 60 minutes and throwing the last 30, 35 minutes in the bin very quickly because I don't think there'll be anything worth taking from that due to the level where we're at physically, which is normal, but the organisation didn't help the players at that point.

"When the [final] whistle went, I knew I was going to be analysing a shorter game... There'd be no point in looking any further because I let them down. At that point, the organisation should have been a lot safer, more defensive, because the legs had gone and England were just getting fresher and fresher with their changes.

"With the home crowd, we felt it once or twice in the first half. In the second half it was the flags and the noise coming from the home crowd, which is an experience we needed to learn. Yeah. Tough night."

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