England lost to the United States in the SheBelieves Cup finale and missed out on winning the competition.
Phil Neville’s Lionesses needed one point against the hosts in Orlando to clinch the four-team tournament on goal difference – but lost to Karen Bardsley’s second-half own goal.
The breakthrough came when Millie Bright’s sliced clearance hit keeper Bardsley and went into the net.
Ellen White almost equalised late on but her header hit the post.
England fall just short
Neville was looking to win the invitational tournament in his first three games as a first-team senior manager.
A 4-1 victory over France was followed by a 2-2 draw against Olympic champions Germany. The comprehensive win over France meant they just needed to draw against the USA to edge them on goal difference.
For about 40 minutes they were the match of the Americans, but then the quality started to tell late in the first half and continued after the break.
Megan Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh both forced saves from Bardsley, with teenager Pugh also hitting the outside of the post following a mazy run.
Their goal came when Rapinoe’s cross hit Abbie McManus and then Bright’s clearance went in off her keeper.
Neville brought on Toni Duggan and Nikita Parris and both players had chances, with Duggan curling wide from 20 yards and Parris forcing a save.
The final big moment came with two minutes left when Lucy Bronze played a short free-kick to Izzy Christiansen, whose cross found White. The England striker got up well but her header hit the post from close range and Tierna Davidson cleared the rebound off the line.
France beat Germany 3-0 in Wednesday’s other game to finish third behind England.
Tournament to forget for Bright
It is actually the third game in a row that Chelsea defender Bright has been unfortunately involved in an opposition goal.
Gaetane Thiney’s shot for France in the opener hit her back before going in – but was awarded to the attacker rather than as an own goal.
Bright did score an own goal against Germany when a Siobhan Chamberlain clearance ricocheted off her and into the net, and then her clearance which hit Bardsley and went in against the US was deemed an own goal by the keeper.
‘Four goals handed on a plate’ – manager reaction
England boss Phil Neville on BBC Two: “It was tough, but probably the most enjoyable game for me in the tournament because we came up against a really good team. I said before I wanted us to go toe-to-toe but in the first half we did not show enough belief.
“But we showed courage on the ball in the last 30 minutes and I learned a lot about my players.
“It is not now that I want to win tournaments, but in 12 months’ time [at the World Cup].
“The own goals? That’s not something I’m happy about – look at the goals against France and Germany plus the one against the USA – that’s four goals conceded by handing them on a plate. If we can eradicate that we can go toe-to-toe with the best in the world.
“Overall I’m satisfied. We will keep our feet on the ground but we have started a journey and we have started really well.”
Former England forward Sue Smith on BBC Two
England have to be proud of themselves and what they have achieved in this tournament. It is their best ever finish. Their performance against France was excellent, their resilience against Germany and at times they created against USA tonight.
It’s positive for England moving forward. Just think about the players England are missing too. Without those players, they have still managed to compete with some of the best teams in the world.
England were very well organised and created chances. I thought Ellen White had equalised. But that’s two sloppy defensive goals they’ve conceded.
They’ll look at this game and reflect and think: ‘What do we have to improve on to beat the world champions?’
It’ll be cutting out defensive errors.
England are next in action on 6 April when they play Women’s World Cup qualifying group one leaders Wales in Southampton.
The Lionesses have won their opening three qualifying matches and are trying to secure their place at the main competition in France next year.