England progress in style as USA scrape through to Women’s World Cup knockout stages

By Izzy Yard

England roar into the knockout phases after a 6-1 win over China; and a nervy USA hold onto 0-0 draw against Portugal to progress as runners-up behind a rampant Netherlands who fire seven past Vietnam.

 England 6-1 China

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England finished the group stages in style by thrashing China 6-1 to maintain their 100% start to the World Cup, with Lauren James again the star.

Sarina Wiegman changed shape to a 3-5-2 formation in the absence of injured playmaker Kiera Walsh, and her team responded in style.

The Lionesses were quick out of the blocks with Alessia Russo opening the scoring inside five minutes, and Lauren Hemp made it 2-0 in the 26th minute by calmly slotting home.

Lauren James got her first and England’s third goal with a sweetly struck volley from the edge of the penalty area and had another effort ruled out by VAR before half-time.

China rallied briefly after the break and Wang Shuang scored from the penalty spot after Lucy Bronze handled the ball.  But England did not take their foot off the gas and James scored her second of the match with another volley.

Substitute Chloe Kelly extended England’s lead soon afterwards and Rachel Daly completed the scoring with another volley to ensure the Lionesses stroll comfortably into the last 16, where they will meet Nigeria on Monday.

Denmark 2-0 Haiti

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Denmark join England in the knockout stages, finishing second in Group D after defeating Haiti.

After having an early effort ruled out for offside, Denmark went ahead when skipper Pernille Harder scored from the penalty spot after a Haiti handball in the 21st minute.

Haiti dominated some periods of the game but could not break down Denmark’s defence. The Danes thought they had doubled their lead in the 83rd minute with another goal from Harder only to see the effort chalked off by VAR after a foul was committed on the Haiti goalkeeper in the build-up.

But Sanne Troelsgaard Nielsen settled Danish nerves and made it 2-0 late in the game by steering a low shot into the far corner of goal.

Denmark will now play hosts Australia in the last 16 on Monday.

USA 0-0 Portugal

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It was yet another frustrating draw for favourites USA who only just scraped into the last 16 and came close to an early exit when Portugal hit the post in stoppage time.

The USA have struggled to find their form in recent games and Portugal went close to going ahead in the 16th minute when Jessica Silva was one-on-one with Alyssa Naeher, only to shoot wide.

At the opposite end, Alex Morgan looked like she had beaten the keeper in a one-on-one, but Diana Gomez did brilliantly to get back and clear the ball off the line.

Although the Americans dominated possession in the second half, they just couldn’t find the back of the net.

And in the final minutes Portugal went close to eliminating the USA and causing a huge upset when Ana Capeta’s shot cannoned off the post.

The final whistle blew meaning USA progress to the knockout stages by finishing second in the Group E. USA have failed to impress far and must raise their game in order have a chance of winning a third successive World Cup.

Netherlands 7-0 Vietnam

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A dominant Netherlands stormed into the knockout stages by topping the table after thrashing Vietnam in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Despite Vietnam opening the game with the first chance it was Lieke Martens of the Netherlands who opened the scoring after lifting the ball over the goalkeeper to give them the lead in the eighth minute.

It didn’t take long for Netherlands to get another with Katja Snoeijs smashing a powerful shot into the bottom right corner.

Esmee Brugts made it three in the 18th minute with an amazing shot which was whipped into the top right-hand corner, and five minutes later they were 4-0 ahead after Jill Roord steered the ball home.

The Vietnam back-line continued to be broken down by a relentless Dutch side and Danielle Van de Donk made it 5-0 just before half time, finishing into an empty net.

It was a similar story in the second half with the Netherlands continuing to control the game which led to a 25-yard strike from Brugts to make it 6-0.

Their seventh and final goal came from a set piece, with Jill Roord prodding the ball into the back of the net as the Dutch cruised into the last 16 after a record win for them at a World Cup.

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