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Republic of Ireland 0-2 England: Captain Leah Williamson felt ’10 times taller’ on return



England’s win at Aviva Stadium was a crucial one after a frustrating 1-1 draw with Sweden on Friday means they trail leaders France by two points in the qualifying group table.

They face France next in May and Williamson said England “will get better” having looked off the pace this month.

“They will probably get better as well, but you can expect a competitive side [in May],” said Williamson.

“The most important thing was three points. It’s what we came here for. Obviously we would have liked it to be more convincing, a bit like the first half, but sometimes you’ve got to see out games.

“It says a lot about our standards that we all think [the 1-1 draw with Sweden] is a setback now. We knew we had to come here and win which is why I am so happy with it. It wasn’t a convincing [last] 20 minutes but I’m very happy with three points.”

Wiegman wanted her side to be better on the ball and said they must improve if they want to remain among Europe’s elite having claimed the title at Euro 2022.

“We know [France] are top level so yes, we have to be at our top level,” she said.

“We have to improve all the time, first of all because we want to improve. Secondly, because if you want to stay at the top, then it’s necessary to develop. We demand that from ourselves.”

England midfielder Keira Walsh added: “That’s the beauty of playing for England, you’re always under pressure to win. A lot of our players thrive off that.

“You could see in the first half [against the Republic of Ireland] the way we came out – we knew it was going to be a massive game – and it was a good team performance.”

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