England 3-2 Netherlands: Mary Earps says she ‘really let the team down’ with first-half error

England's Mary Earps lets a shot from the Netherlands' Lineth Beerensteyn through her hands

England stand-in captain Mary Earps said she “really let the team down” in their comeback win over the Netherlands in the Women’s Nations League.

England went 2-0 down, with Earps letting the second through her hands.

Ella Toone scored a stoppage-time winner to keep alive Team GB’s hopes of qualifying for the Olympics, but a two-goal win would have put progress to the semi-finals firmly in England’s hands.

“I’m sorry my performance cost the girls like that,” Earps told ITV.

“That will haunt me for a long time. I’ve really let the team down today. I’m really gutted.”

Earps, who was named BBC Women’s Football of the Year earlier in the week, was distraught at full-time, and was consoled by her team-mates.

The Manchester United goalkeeper has played a huge part for England in winning Euro 2022 and reaching the World Cup final this summer.

“It could have been a really special night at Wembley. The team were unbelievable,” she added.

England travel to Scotland on Tuesday – a game you can watch live on BBC One – knowing a win may see them qualify for the Nations League final and keep their Olympics hopes alive.

Sarina Wiegman’s side’s failure to beat the Dutch by two goals means the two sides have identical head-to-head records, placing the Netherlands top of the standings on goal difference.

A win in Glasgow would see the Lionesses progress if the Netherlands drop points at home to Belgium, but a Dutch victory would mean England need to triumph by at least four more goals than their rivals to qualify for the knockout stages.

In her post-match news conference Wiegman defended Earps saying “of course she didn’t let the team down”.

“I spoke to her very shortly and I don’t want her to talk like that,” said Wiegman. “We win as a team and lose as a team.

“When something at the back happens, it’s very quickly a goal. That is part of the game.

“Of course she didn’t let the team down, everyone does their best and gives everything. You only let the team down when you don’t put effort into the game and we never don’t put effort in.”

England ‘maybe went to another ceiling’

England manager Sarina Wiegman applauds the fans

England went into the game knowing they needed to win to have any hope of progressing to the finals after suffering defeats in the Netherlands and Belgium in their opening four games.

At half-time they were facing a fourth defeat in their past six games, after losing to Spain in August’s World Cup final.

Wiegman’s tenure as England started with a 30-game unbeaten run but there have been struggles of late, including a World Cup warm-up defeat to Australia in April.

But, the Dutchwoman says her side may have shown a new level in their comeback win in front of an boisterous Wembley crowd.

“We said at half-time that we didn’t do bad but I feel like the team really showed up in the second-half, and maybe went to another ceiling,” Wiegman told BBC Sport.

“There is a lot of potential in this team and a lot of commitment and willingness to win. The eagerness is great. We truly believed at half-time that we could turn this around. I am so glad that we’ve been able to.

“At the end I felt a little disappointed that we didn’t score another goal because then we would have been in a better position. I am very proud of the team.”

However, former England forward Eni Aluko, who was working as a pundit for ITV, said she was concerned by England’s lack of adaptability.

Throughout England’s run to the World Cup final, Wiegman often changed formation from four at the back to five and changed the structure of the attacking line, but England have tended to stick to 4-3-3 during their Nations League campaign.

“I am a little bit surprised by England,” said Aluko.

“They showed adaptability in the World Cup but we haven’t really seen that in this Nations League. It took for us to be practically eliminated for it to show it. I am surprised we haven’t seen that adaptability from Sarina Wiegman.”

Former midfielder Karen Carney praised Wiegman for her changes though with Toone coming off the bench to score the winner, while Alessia Russo was also impressive after being introduced.

“I was really angry and disappointed with the performance and Sarina Wiegman in the first half but the substitutions changed the game,” Carney told ITV.

“The second half was a completely different team and it was exactly what we needed.”

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