England Lionesses midfielder Lucy Staniforth paid tribute to Brighton & Hove Albion for the way they accommodated her and the team, after the club hosted their final Road to France friendly against New Zealand.
Phil Neville’s side were edged out 1-0 by New Zealand on the south coast, but Staniforth explained their preparation could not have been better and heaped praise on the club.
She said, “It’s an unbelievable stadium, and a real privilege to come and play here. The crowd was fantastic and it was a great send-off for us to the World Cup.
“They were brilliant and I’m just gutted we didn’t give them something to cheer about. They are fantastic and it was great to play in front of so many people.
“The facilities that we got to use in the week were great too, and we’re always looking to use so the best-possible facilities that are available to us.
“Brighton have been fantastic with us from that point of view.”
The Birmingham City midfielder reflected on the game as a whole, and felt that their performance warranted more from the contest.
“The result sums football up really. We didn’t play so well last week and won, whereas this week we played well but conceded a sloppy goal,” she added.
“It’s disappointing for us, but there is so much that we can build on and take into the Scotland game.
“We probably need to be a bit more creative around the box, and not force it so much, but they defended very well.
“Their keeper was on fine form, so we need to have a bit more confidence in our ability to go one-v-one and keep playing nice, short-sharp passes.”
Despite signing off the series of friendlies with a defeat, Staniforth says there is still a positive mood within the camp and the result has reinforced the desire to secure a winning start to the tournament against Scotland on Sunday.
“We are confident, and even more determined now. We never want to lose a game and there’s now a steely determination to make sure we get on the right foot against Scotland.”