A brace from Manchester City striker Ellen White ensured that the Lionesses beat Japan 2-0 in Nice to top their group at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
England went into this game on the back of two wins against Scotland and Argentina but the Lionesses knew they had one more job to do. Another win tonight would ensure that they topped the group.
Phil Neville made eight changes to his side this evening as Karen Bardsley, Millie Bright, Keira Walsh, Toni Duggan, Demi Stokes, Rachel Daly, Ellen White and Georgia Stanway all made their way into the side.
The Lionesses have had very intense meetings with the Japanese side in the past so there was certainly a tension between the two sides in this game. In 2015, Japan created a massive upset for the Lionesses as they beat them 2-1 in the semi-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Laura Bassett scored an own goal putting Japan into the final, a moment that has haunted the Lionesses to this day. However, most recently England beat Japan 3-0 on their way to winning the SheBelieves Cup in March.
Japan’s first chance in the game come from Kumi Yokoyama’s free-kick eight minutes in but the 25-year-old fired the ball just over the top of the net.
Ellen White scored the first goal of the game for the Lionesses with her second of the tournament. Georgia Stanway had great physicality and stamina as she shouldered her way through to assist White who fired the ball with her left foot into an open net 14 minutes in to give the Lionesses the lead.
Soon after the goal, Jill Scott and Georgia Stanway both took aim within the space of one minute, however, both attempts were saved by the keeper Ayaka Yamashita.
With qualification already secured for the Lionesses, the side played with a little less urgency and tempo.
After 33 minutes, Walsh played in a strong through ball with great force and swerve to her fellow teammate Rachel Daly who got on the end of it. A save by Yamashita had the ball flying over the top of the
In the second half, Lucy Bronze fired the ball into the penalty area with an assertive cross. Toni Duggan
then directed the ball at the goal where Yamashita made a wonderful save.
Yuika Sugasawa then registered an effort at the other end for Japan with 12 minutes to go. England captain Steph
Houghton battled it out with the number nine who failed to produce that all important goal for Asian nation.
Substitute Karen Carney then played in a smart through ball to Ellen White who was there waiting once
again. The 30-year-old took the opportunity with open hands. The former Birmingham City star
blasted the ball into the back of the net scoring her second goal of the game with power and
Tonight’s win was England’s third in the competition which means that the Lionesses have won all of their
games so far in this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 and have successfully topped the group.
England XI – Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Keira Walsh, Steph Houghton ©, Millie Bright,
Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Demi Stokes, Rachel Daly, Ellen White, Georgia Stanway
Substitutes – Alex Greenwood, Nikita Parris, Jodie Taylor, Fran Kirby, Carly Telford,
Leah Williamson, Abbie Mcmanus, Jade Moore, Karen Carney, Mary Earps, Beth Mead, Lucy
Japan XI – Ayaka Yamashita, Aya Sameshima, Saki Kumagai ©, Nana Ichise, Hina Sugita,
Emi Nakajima, Mana Iwabuchi, Rikako Kobayashi, Jun Endo, Kumi Yokoyama, Risa Shimizu
Substitutes – Sakiko Ikeda, Rumi Utsugi, Yuika Sugasawa, Mizuho Sakaguchi, Moeka
Minami, Saori Takarada, Yui Hasegawa, Yuka Momiki, Asato Miyagawa, Narumi Miura, Chika
Hirao, Shiori Miyake
By Emma Hartley (@Emma8cfc) – University of Derby Football Journalism student