England are out of the Womens World Cup after a 2-1 semi-final defeat to USA, who remain on course to defend the title they won four years ago
They have won new friends and influenced plenty of opinions during a transformative month in France but the Rhne was swelled by English tears as Phil Nevilles Lionesses proved second best to the defending champions.
England head to Nice for Saturdays third-place playoff after yet more semi-final disappointment but with heads held high having played their part in a wonderful game featuring some particularly harsh luck. Foremost among it was the marginal offside which saw an Ellen White goal disallowed and, later, a penalty miss by Steph Houghton.
Granted, the USA were fitter, faster and more ruthless but, well before the end, Ellis had paid Neville the compliment of shifting to five at the back.
Earlier, his first formational shift of a tournament he had set his heart on winning backfired.
If Carly Telfords replacement of Karen Bardsley, because of a hamstring injury, was enforced, the switch to 4-4-1-1 was not. This new-look configuration saw Rachel Daly deployed in front of Lucy Bronze down the right, Toni Duggan and Fran Kirby dropped, Beth Mead introduced on the left and Nikita Parris moved up front.
Not that England did too much attacking in an opening period featuring Parris persistently being forced to drop deep and track back. Neville had predicted a USA ensemble possessing a useful habit of scoring early goals would want to throw the first punch and so it transpired.
Christen Press, the injured Megan Rapinoes replacement, had a point to prove and she was already showing off a devastating change of pace before supplying USA with a 10th-minute lead. It came from a cross, Kelley OHara providing an inch-perfect right-wing delivery for Press to head home, the winger rising imperiously above Bronze, who had been caught badly out of position at the back post.
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