England reach Women’s World Cup knockout stages with win over Argentina
Jodie Taylor scored the game’s only goal.
England secured a place in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup as Jodie Taylor’s second-half finish earned them a 1-0 win against Argentina in Le Havre.
Euro 2017 top-scorer Taylor turned the ball in at the back post just after the hour mark as she met a Beth Mead delivery at the end of a good move.
It had been a frustrating game up to that point for the Lionesses, with Nikita Parris seeing a 29th-minute penalty saved by Vanina Correa.
The goalkeeper thwarted Phil Neville’s side with further impressive stops to keep out strikes from Mead and Parris before Taylor’s goal broke Argentina’s dogged resistance.
Having sealed progress to the next round after taking six points from two matches, England will head into their final Group D game, against Japan in Nice on Wednesday, looking to cement top spot in the pool.
England were firm favourites to beat an Argentina outfit who are ranked 37th in the world and had a two-year spell with no matches and no coach between 2015 and 2017.
But Carlos Borrello’s side had shown their capacity to be difficult opponents in their opening game, the 0-0 draw with Japan that gave them their first ever point at a Women’s World Cup finals.
In front of a crowd of 20,294 at the Stade Oceane, England created an opportunity in the opening minute as Parris crossed from the right and Lucy Bronze headed wide. Bronze then delivered a cross from the same flank in the 13th and Jill Scott’s header was caught by Correa.
As England continued to dominate possession, Argentina almost scored an own-goal in the 24th minute when Aldana Cometti slid to intercept Fran Kirby’s header and the ball went just wide of the post.
Moments later Steph Houghton lofted a superb ball to Beth Mead, she passed to Alex Greenwood, the full-back was brought down by a Ruth Bravo slide-tackle and referee Qin Liang pointed to the spot.
It presented Parris with the opportunity to add to the penalty she had scored in Sunday’s 2-1 win against Scotland, but, having been made to wait a considerable amount of time before taking the spot-kick, the forward
saw her effort from 12 yards pushed against the post by Correa.
Correa then made a great save with her foot to keep out Mead’s low effort in the 41st minute, and produced another early in the second half to block Parris’ drive.
She subsequently claimed a header from Taylor, who it appeared should have done better, before the 33-year-old – brought into the team for this game – put England ahead.
As England broke forward, the ball was worked from Scott to Kirby to Mead, and she produced a low cross that left Taylor converted in the six-yard box.
Jill Scott sent two headers over as England looked to add another goal before the final whistle confirmed their last-16 qualification.