Lionesses lose third place play-off after more VAR drama

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England have finished fourth at the Women’s World Cup after losing 2-1 to Sweden in the third place play-off.

First half goals from Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson put Sweden ahead before Fran Kirby’s stunning strike pulled one back for the Lionesses.

Star striker Ellen White thought she had equalised for England but her goal was ruled out by the video assistant referee (VAR) for handball.

NICE, FRANCE - JULY 06: Ellen White of England reacts during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France 3rd Place Match match between England and Sweden at Stade de Nice on July 06, 2019 in Nice, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Image: Ellen White had another goal ruled out by VAR

White – the tournament’s joint top scorer with six goals – had previously had a goal disallowed by VAR during England’s 2-1 semi-final defeat against the USA.

Before her goal against Sweden was ruled out, she celebrated by mimicking taking a sip of tea – in a nod to USA player Alex Morgan who did the same thing against England.

After the match in Nice, manager Phil Neville said it was difficult for the team to get up for the play-off, which he branded a “nonsense game”.

“I don’t think I’ve seen us play better after that first 20 minutes,” he said.

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NICE, FRANCE - JULY 06: Philip Neville, Head Coach of England reacts during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France 3rd Place Match match between England and Sweden at Stade de Nice on July 06, 2019 in Nice, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Image: Manager Phil Neville said he was ‘immensely proud’ of his players

“Both teams are on their knees. They gave everything.

“We came to this tournament to win it, not to finish fourth.

“My players are suffering but I’m immensely proud.”

Sweden's players celebrate during the victory ceremony held at the end of the France 2019 Women's World Cup third place final football match between England and Sweden, on July 6, 2019, at Nice stadium in Nice south-eastern France. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Image: Sweden’s players celebrate their third place finish

There was a special moment during the play-off as England midfielder Karen Carney, who had announced on Friday that she would be retiring after the match, came on as a substitute to earn her 144th and final cap.

Victory would have made the campaign in France England’s joint-best performance at a Women’s World Cup, four years on from them securing bronze for the first time in Canada.

England's Steph Houghton (left) and Alex Greenwood at the end of the FIFA Women's World Cup Third Place Play-Off at the Stade de Nice, Nice.
Image: England captain Steph Houghton (left) and Alex Greenwood looked dejected

Neville will now lead Team GB’s women’s footballers at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

The USA will take on the Netherlands in the Women’s World Cup final in Lyon on Sunday at 4pm UK time.

http://news.sky.com/story/womens-world-cup-england-lose-third-place-play-off-to-sweden-after-more-var-drama-11758032

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