Alessia Russo Rachel Daly England splitGetty

What to do with Alessia Russo and Rachel Daly? Winners and losers from the Lionesses' devastating Nations League disappointment that leaves England boss Sarina Wiegman with plenty to ponder in 2024

Margins don't get much finer than those that denied England a place in the Women's Nations League finals, and thus killed their Olympic dream, on Tuesday night. There were three minutes between the Lucy Bronze header that seemed to have given the Lionesses top spot in Group A and the late Netherlands goal, some 700 miles away, that ensured the Dutch progressed to the next stage of the competition instead.

It was a dramatic finale to a group stage that has been very up and down for Sarina Wiegman's side. After the game in Scotland, which saw England thrash their neighbours 6-0, Beth Mead admitted that the team had "let ourselves down maybe earlier on in the competition", with defeats to the Netherlands and Belgium ultimately costing them, rather than the inability to get a seventh goal in Glasgow.

It means that the Lionesses won't compete in the Nations League finals in February and, as a result, cannot secure a place for Great Britain in the Olympic women's football tournament next year, either. In a sport with far too many ACL injuries and a severely imbalanced calendar, a summer off has some benefits, but the reigning European champions, a team that reached the World Cup final earlier this year, will see it as a missed opportunity to win a major title.

There is plenty for Wiegman to ponder, then, with the extra breathing space she will get before England's next big tournament comes around, at the European Championship in 2025. What, though, did she learn from her side's final international camp of 2023? GOAL picks out the winners and losers from the Lionesses' final games of the year...

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