Kathryn Batte: The possibility of Lionesses becoming predictable under Sarina Wiegman was always a concern.

The Lionesses’ first defeat in 31 games may not be reason enough to panic, as losing the unbeaten streak under Sarina Wiegman now is better than at the World Cup. However, England’s recent loss against Australia on Tuesday is cause for concern. The Lionesses’ performance was a far cry from Wiegman’s textbook style, as flaws were exposed that were previously well hidden. Despite fears of becoming too predictable, England’s team has evolved, which means that the options from the bench are not as strong, making it harder to solve problems when England is losing or struggling in games.

Australia had a clear strategy of how to play against England, soaking up pressure and hitting on the counter-attack, which has been the approach of other teams since the Euros. The defensive issues the Lionesses encountered in the absence of Millie Bright are also worrying. Bright and Leah Williamson create the perfect centre back partnership, and England looked lost without the strength and aerial presence of the Chelsea defender.

England needs to come up with a better plan of how to play against these types of tactics at the World Cup, and Wiegman is already planning her line-up. Although there are problems to solve, there is no need to panic. It is a crucial learning moment for the team to get to a higher level. However, it is essential to work on these problems before it’s too late.

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