England were held to a frustrating 0-0 friendly draw against Czech Republic at AMEX Stadium, Brighton, in their final home game of 2022.
Following a scrappy first-half of few chances, Lauren Hemp saw several second-half chances denied in which she saw a 59th minute chipped shot bounce off the left post.
Czech Republic’s Olivie Lukasova though produced an incredible series of saves to deny several England players throughout the match.
Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses eventually were unable to find a breakthrough goal for just the second time under the Dutch manager’s reign, having previously only failed to score in a goalless draw against Spain in 2022 Arnold Clark Cup in February.
Wiegman made just three changes from the team that beat USA on Friday evening (7 October) as Rachel Daly, Beth Mead and Georgia Stanway dropped out, with the former pair named on the bench but Stanway misses out due to a knock.
Demi Stokes, Ella Toone and Lauren James therefore come into the starting line-up for the Lionesses, whilst Lucy Bronze claims her 100th senior cap for England.
Wiegman’s Lionesses however endured a tricky start with no clear-cut chances for either team, until Chloe Kelly’s shot from Ella Toone’s 10th minute pass was saved by Olivie Lukasova.
Czech Republic though weren’t fazed as they continued to frustate England who then had another chance denied ten minutes later, as Bronze played a pass to Toone via Kelly’s slip-through touch only for Lukasova to save the ball amidst a tangle with Toone.
Lauren Hemp then was denied by Lukasova in the 23rd minute, as she fired on the turn from a pullback pass by James following an one-two move between the duo.
Both teams then traded scrappy chances at opposite ends until Bronze whipped a short 39th minute cross from the left to Kelly, with her ex Manchester City teammate only able to head the ball wide of the right corner.
Andrea Staskova one minute later pounced on a poor pass but her shot for the visitors was denied by Mary Earps.
England however finished the half on top but Lukasova was alert to save a 45th minute corner after flapping the initial delivery away, only for a return header to be straight into Lukasova’s hands.
After the half-time break, Lukasova quickly found herself back in action as she denied two headers and a scrappy half-volley shot from Hemp in the opening six minutes of the second half.
Tereza Krejcirikova soon registered the Czechs’ first effort of the second-half as she fired her 53rd minute shot wide.
Hemp missed the biggest chance of the opening hour in the 59th minute as she picked up Mead’s pass and chipped over Lukasova’s head from a tight angle at right-post, only for the ball to bounce and ricochet off the left-post.
Czech Republic’s Gabriela Slajsova caused play to be stopped in the 70th minute after she suffered an ankle ligament injury, whilst trying to foul Hemp which led to her eventually being stretchered off the pitch after four minutes of treatment.
England though continued to dominate but Czech Republic delivered a stern defence to repeatedly deny the reigning European champions, as Kirby saw a 86th minute long-range shot flicked over the bar by Lukasova in another heroic save for the Slavia Prague goalkeeper.
Czech Republic eventually became only the second team to deny England a goal under Wiegman’s tenure, following the Lionesses’ goalless draw against Spain at Carrow Road, Norwich, in 2022 Arnold Clark Cup.
England will meet Japan and Norway in international friendlies on 11 and 15 November respectively, with both matches being played on neutral territory at Pinatar Arena, Spain.
Both matches will be broadcast live on ITV in the UK for British-based fans.
England: Mary Earps, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes (Daly 82′), Millie Bright (, Alex Greenwood, Keira Walsh, Ella Toone, Fran Kirby, Lauren James (Salmon 63′), Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly (Mead 45′)
Substitutes: Esme Morgan, Ellie Roebuck, Katie Zelem, Lottie Wubben-Moy, Jess Carter, Nikita Parris, Jess Park, Rachel Daly, Sandy Maclver, Beth Mead, Ebony Salmon
Czech Republic: Olivie Lukasova, Gabriela Slajsova (Dlaskova 74′), Petra Bertholdova, Simona Necidova, Tereza Krejcirikova (Martinkova 75′), Eliska Sonntagova, Klara Cahynova, Kamila Dubcova, Katerina Svitkova, Tereza Szewieczkova (Khyrova 57′), Andrea Staskova (Mrazova 75′)
Substitutes: Tereza Fuchsova, Michaela Radova, Anna Dlaskova, Michaela Khyrova, Lucie Martinkova, Denisa Vesela, Lucie Jelinkova, Klara Cvrckova, Antonie Starova, Michaela Dubcova, Miroslava Mrazova, Franny Cerna