Belfast Telegraph

White believes there's more to come from England

England 2-0 Japan

Finisher: England's Ellen White celebrates scoring last night
Finisher: England's Ellen White celebrates scoring last night

By Phil Medlicott

Ellen White believes England will only get stronger as their momentum grows after her double handed them a 2-0 win over Japan in Nice, which saw them top their Women's World Cup Group D matches with a 100 per cent record.

The Lionesses, who had already qualified for the last 16 and needed a draw to win the group, went ahead just before the quarter-hour mark through White's cool finish following good work by Georgia Stanway.

White then slotted in her second, and third of the tournament, with six minutes of normal time remaining having been teed up by substitute Karen Carney.

Japan goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita made a number of fine saves during the contest at the Allianz Riviera, after her counterpart Karen Bardsley had done well to tip a Kumi Yokoyama free-kick onto the bar in the ninth minute.

Phil Neville's England will now face a third-placed finisher in the next round - either China (Group B), or Cameroon or New Zealand (Group E), or Chile or Thailand (Group F).

Their opponents will be determined today when Groups E and F conclude, and the match will take place on Sunday.

White said: "We expected Japan to come at us hard in that second half so we were ready for it. We did well and we stuck together and we got the win. It's three wins from three so we take a lot of momentum into the knockouts now.

"We'll keep growing as the tournament goes on. Our objective was to win the group and we've done that."

Neville made eight changes to his starting XI from the 1-0 win against Argentina.

That included bringing fit-again forward Toni Duggan into the attack, along with White and Rachel Daly, as Beth Mead, Jodie Taylor - the goalscorer against Argentina - and Nikita Parris dropped out.

Japan threatened early on through Yokoyama as the forward sent a shot over and saw a free-kick heading for the top corner superbly touched onto the bar by Bardsley.

England then grabbed the lead in the 14th minute when Stanway turned Hina Sugita and held her off to play an excellent through-ball to White, who deftly lifted an effort past Yamashita and into the bottom corner.

England then survived a number of scares as Japan stepped up their search for an equaliser, before White popped up with her second goal, beating Yamashita from just inside the box as she connected with Carney's threaded pass.

Bardsley then expertly denied the lively Sugasawa before the full-time whistle, which left second-placed Japan set to face Holland or Canada in the last 16.

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