McHugh gutted after semi-final loss

Brogan McHugh.

Brogan McHugh.

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Brogan McHugh came off the bench, but was unable to help England Women’s U17s reach the finals of the European Championships, writes Richard Mennear.

Midfielder McHugh, who plays for Sunderland Ladies, said the players were “gutted” after losing the semi-final to Spain 3-0, but Lois Fidler’s side can still reach next year’s FIFA Women’s U17 World Cup via Sunday’s third place play-off.

Andrea Sanchez scored twice and Pilar Garrote notched the other as Spain beat the Young Lions at Burton Albion FC’s Pirelli Stadium to reach the final.

Instead, England will now face Italy on Sunday in the third/fourth place play-off to make it to Costa Rica in March.

The 16-year-old, who came on as a 77th minute substitute against Spain, said: “We are all gutted we didn’t make it to the final but we go again on Sunday as we still have the chance to qualify for the World Cup which is our main aim.

“Getting on the pitch in the semi-final was such an honour, it’s just a shame we didn’t win.”

H Bristol Academy boss Mark Sampson has been appointed as the new head coach of the England women’s team.

Sampson, 31, who led Bristol to second in this season’s Super League, their highest-ever finish, has signed a four-year contract.

He succeeds Hope Powell, who was sacked in August after 15 years in charge.

Sampson’s England squad will include Wearsiders Jill Scott and Steph Houghton, who will be clubmates next season having joined big-spending Manchester city from Everton and Arsenal respectively.