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Football | Wednesday, July 26, 2023 12:09 PM (Revised at: Wednesday, July 26, 2023 1:06 PM)

Lianne Sanderson previews England vs Denmark

Lianne Sanderson previews England vs Denmark
IMAGO / AFLOSPORT Pernille Harder (Denmark Women) during the Uefa Women s Euro England 2022 match between Denmark 0-1 Spain at Brentford Community Stadium

England won a tough match against 53rd ranked Haiti, when the Lionesses got away with a 1-0 victory but not everything was rosy and Lianne Sanderson is here looking forward to the expected toughest game in the group stages for England.

The opening game from the Lionesses looked a bit shaky and according to Lianne Sanderson, there is plenty of room for improvement even though they won, and we talked to her about what changes England should make and how they should progress from here.

Lianne Sanderson also talked us through the game against Denmark, where the former Chelsea, Arsenal and Juventus player shared her thoughts on Pernille Harder and a possible rivalry between England and Denmark.

In this article:

An underwhelming performance and a non-existent midfield

Lianne Sanderson wasn’t impressed by the Lionesses against Haiti but she underlines that the most important thing at a World Cup is to win, which England did.

“I don´t think it was the most overwhelming performance against Haiti but the most important thing is that England won.”

“It sounds crazy to me but we could have come out of the game without winning it. Against a team that is ranked 53 in the world, that was unexpected but Haiti did really well.”

“I think Haiti was brilliant and they did a really good job.”

Lianne Sanderson points out that tournament football is all about improving during the tournament, which is why the three points in the beginning is crucial regardless of how the team is playing.

“Our midfield was non-existent against Haiti and we could barely keep the ball. But it’s important to remember the opening game at the Euro´s against Austria in front of 70,000 at Old Trafford where we didn’t get the best start but we still got the win.”

“In tournament football, as you gradually go on, hopefully the confidence will build. People are talking about how England have not scored in open play for three games and yeah, it wasn´t the best performance but we won and that’s the most important thing.”

England´s back line is a problem

Millie Bright has been out with an injury since march where she got injured against Lyon but she was back against Haiti, which is very important and admirable according to Lianne Sanderson, even though she wants to see some changes in the defence.

“I think the back line against Haiti was a problem. They didn’t look confident together and I think it’s admirable that Millie Bright started the game even though she has been out for two or three months.”

“She has been out of the field for a while now so the fact that she was able to play is impressive and credit to her but I just don’t think it made the back line a bit shaky.”

“It just didn’t work and both Bronze and Greenwood maybe felt that they couldn’t just rush up and down the line compared to when Leah Williamson is playing.”

“They now that Leah will cover them and they maybe felt that they couldn’t go that much forward.”

“Personally, I would make a change in the backline. I would start with Rachel Daly on the left back and then bring Greenwood in next to Mille Bright because she needs minutes and then she will be the Millie Bright that we all know.”

“I think if they’re gonna play the same four, I think Carter should go to full-back and Alex Greenwood play as a centre-back. I feel like Greenwood is more composed on the ball, relaxed and able to still deliver the passes from that position.”

“In the midfield I would take Ella Toone out and replace her with Lauren James.”

Pernille Harder is Denmark’s biggest threat

Lianne Sanderson once again points out that the defence was the biggest problem, which is an extra reason to keep a close eye on Pernille Harder as she can cause the Lionesses problems.

“When you look at England’s backline the other day, I think that was probably one of our biggest problems because I think it was a knock-on effect to the rest of the team.”

“I think it’s easy to put a finger on the centre-forwards when they don’t score but I actually think Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly were really good. Kelly, especially in the second half.”

“I thought the substitutions Sarina Wiegman made, bringing on Lauren James, I would have started her all day long.”

“For Denmark, you have to look at Pernille Harder, you only have to look at the FA Cup final, she put it on the plate for Sam Kerr. Not many players would have been able to play that type of ball and she makes football look easy.”

According to Lianne Sanderson, Pernille Harder is still a top player but if England manages to close her down, the Engliswoman believes that the Lionesses will win the match.

“I think Denmark will definitely see moments they can exploit but I think England need to stick to their gameplan and play the way they can. And if they do that, they’ll be okay. Easier said than done.”

“Pernille Harder is that type of player who can get in that area and cause problems for Georgia Stanway and Ella Toone. Cause she’s the type of player like Fran Kirby who can find that type of space.”

“She gravitates towards that type of space and she’ll be able to spread those balls through that I don’t think our backline can handle. The ball in between the centre-back and the full-back.”

“That’s the type of thing I expect Pernille Harder to be doing. I’m a big fan of hers and she’s back from injury.”

A new rivalry in the making?

Now, England is facing Denmark who has a lot of players who play in the English league, which can create quite a rivalry according to Lianne Sanderson.

“I think definitely Denmark can improve. I’m all for players playing in the best leagues. I think obviously when you play in that country’s league and you play against them, it’s more of an incentive to win. You want to win anyway but there’s that type of rivalry – ‘some of these players are my teammates, some of them are players I play against.'”

“I think with regards to Denmark going forward, definitely in the future there will be players who’ll learn from these experiences, playing in the WSL, playing for Everton and those types of teams.”

“I think you have to be fearless against England. We saw that with Haiti. England is ranked fourth and Haiti is ranked 53rd and look at the difference.”

Women’s football is progressing in a lot of aspects and the smaller nations’ quality keeps improving, which is why we will see a lot more nations being able to compete in this World Cup, says Lianne Sanderson.

“And we’ve seen that in this tournament. Vietnam everyone expected the USWNT to beat them 12-0 like they did against Thailand but apart from the Morocco game, we’re not seeing high scoring games as I expected, to be fair, when you added more teams this time out.”

“Scandinavian teams, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, they’ve always been in and around there but there’s come a time in the last couple of years, that they’ve gone backwards for some reason. Norway especially.”


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