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Kirby makes World Cup debut

10 June 2015

Striker represents the Royals on biggest stage

Reading Women's striker Fran Kirby made her World Cup Finals debut yesterday, but coming off the bench in the second half she wasn't able to turn around Mark Sampson's side's fortunes as the Lionesses slipped to a narrow defeat against an impressive France side.

Eugenie Le Sommer's first half strike proved the difference in Moncton, Canada, as England lost their opening group fixture against the side ranked third in the world.

England's performance was solid and compact against the side who knocked our women out of the last World Cup in 2011 - and although chances in front of goal proved scarce for England, Sampson's side kept the game close until the final whistle.

And in the dying seconds of injury time, our 68th minute substitute Kirby was almost released by a clever Eniola Aluko flick only for the chance to be quickly snuffed out by a brilliant French defence before Kirby could pull the trigger.

"You have to understand the level of competition. I would suggest fans stick with us. We have taken a top team right to the last minute," said Sampson after the game.

"Of course we are disappointed with the result. But, from the objective of giving ourselves a platform to build on, we have achieved.

"If people are looking to see players who work hard and put their bodies on the line, stick to a game plan and stick together, then for me they were good value for money."

Mexico and Colombia, who are both ranked below them, are next up for Fran and her Lionesses - the two countries played out a 1-1 draw in the other Group F fixture.

England are next in action on Saturday when they play Mexico at the same stadium in Moncton, kick-off 9pm.

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