England forward Beth Mead said the team were “absolutely devastated” after missing out on the Nations League finals and failing to qualify for the Olympics for Team GB.
A dramatic evening saw England thrash Scotland 6-0 at Hampden Park, with Lucy Bronze’s stoppage-time header looking like it would be the crucial goal for the Lionesses to finish top of Group A1.
However, a late added-time brace from Damaris Egurrola meant the Netherlands pipped Sarina Wiegman’s team to the summit on goal difference, ending Team GB’s hopes of qualifying for Paris 2024 and ensuring the Dutch reached the inaugural Nations League finals.
Making her first international start since sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury more than 12 months ago, Mead bagged one of the six England goals, but acknowledged it was tough losing out by “small margins”.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t in our hands and the Netherlands got the four goals,” she told englandfootball.com. “Congratulations to them but we’re absolutely devastated to miss out by such small margins.
“We made sure we kept in communication and Sarina was telling us what was happening in the other game so we knew what we were meant to do.
“We got the late goal and we thought we’d maybe got over the line but, unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be and that’s football. It is small margins, there were injury-time goals in both games and it wasn’t meant to be.”
European champions England lost out narrowly to the Netherlands and Belgium in their group games, going down 2-1 to the Dutch in September before a late Tessa Wullaert penalty saw Belgium win 3-2 in October.
The Lionesses had kept their qualification hopes alive going into the Scotland game as Ella Toone’s stoppage-time strike secured a 3-2 comeback triumph over the Netherlands in the reverse fixture at Wembley on Friday.
“It’s a tough one,” Mead added. “I think the girls have worked really hard. I thought we were incredible this camp.
“We’ve done ourselves proud in both games that we’ve played. Unfortunately, it was out of our hands and maybe we let ourselves down earlier on in the competition.
“But we’ll keep working hard, we’ll keep coming back stronger, and I’m excited to see what this team is about.”