Lauren James’ stunning goal on her first World Cup start saw England beat Denmark 1-0 to put them on the brink of the last 16, although it appears likely that they will be missing Keira Walsh after the midfielder was stretchered off with a knee injury.
Chelsea’s James was a welcome sight in the starting XI after a lacklustre showing against Haiti in England’s tournament opener. She thundered home from 20 yards (6) and immediately announced herself on the world stage.
But England’s joy did not last long as talismanic midfielder Walsh went down just after the half hour, clutching her knee. She immediately signalled to the bench, and was taken off on a stretcher a few minutes later.
Even before Walsh’s injury, the Lionesses were being punished by Denmark for their sloppy errors, and almost conceded a late equaliser.
Denmark had scored late on to beat China in their opening game, and almost netted at a similar time in Sydney. However, Amalie Vangsgaard’s header hit the post and went wide, with Mary Earps needed again to see England to victory.
The Lionesses are now top of Group D with six points – although two unconvincing performances – with Denmark remaining second. England need Haiti to beat China in their group game at 12pm (UK time) or a draw to seal their spot in the last 16.
More to follow…
England’s Group D campaign concludes on August 1 against China in Adelaide, kick-off 12pm, while Denmark meet Haiti at the same time in Perth.
The group stage has begun and runs over a two-week period finishing on August 3. Group winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16, which takes place from August 5 to August 8.
The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled for August 11 and 12.
The first semi-final will then be played on August 15 in Auckland, with the other semi-final taking place on August 16 at the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final on August 20.
A third-place play-off will be played the day before the final on August 19 in Brisbane.