Tipped by many to win UEFA Women's EURO 2013, France had to come from behind to hold fellow finalists England and the Netherlands to friendly draws over the last week.
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Tipped by many to win UEFA Women's EURO 2013, France were held by England and the Netherlands to friendly draws over the last week.
On Saturday, two Marie-Laure Delie goals on her 50th cap pegged England back for a 2-2 draw in Paris in a rematch of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup quarter-final. France won that tie on penalties but two years earlier went out of the UEFA Women's EURO 2009 last eight by the same method against the Netherlands, where it finished 1-1 on Wednesday.
England, who have not beaten France since 1974, looked on course to put that right when Stephanie Houghton’s free-kick and Jill Scott's header put them 2-0 up at the break. But as Hope Powell made changes to give squad players experience, Delie pounce on two errors to level the score.
Powell said: "We didn't play particularly well in the first half but we went in at the break 2-0 ahead. Having said that, we gave them two goals in the second half so in that respect I'm disappointed. A couple of our mistakes proved costly but it's lessons learnt. The good thing is that we didn't lose. We played well in the second half, we came out with more confidence."
France coach Bruno Bini added: "It was an interesting test both in terms of the game itself and team spirit. The girls gave their all to get level with one of the best teams in Europe."
In Eindhoven, Les Bleues again trailed to a free-kick from Sherida Spitse on the hour but two minutes from time Eugénie Le Sommer levelled. Netherlands coach Roger Reijners said: "France are a top country and this was a big game, We did a great job especially with the football we played."
Bini chose to omit left-back Sonia Bompastor from the matches but gave debuts over the two games to Kheirai Hamraoui and Sabrina Delannoy, who said: "We have still much to do to be ready for EURO. There are good team qualities in this squad and we have now two games to against [on 29 November and 13 February] to get readt,
All these three nations are in the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 finals draw on 9 November and will play in Sweden next July.