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Scotland 1 (Emslie 76)>
England 2 (Parris pen 14, White 40)
Scotland 1 (Emslie 76)
Two first half goals, which included a VAR-awarded penalty, gave England a winning start in the World Cup opener in Nice, a result which they deserved overall.
However, Scotland can take great heart from a much improved second half performance which should stand them in good stead for their remaining two group matches.
The match started at a fast pace and the opening exchanges were even but it was the England team, with their greater experience of tournament football, who began to assert their authority.
The bright start to the game brought a breakthrough on 14 minutes, albeit with the intervention of VAR. Nicola Docherty was adjudged to have blocked a cross by Fran Kirby with her hand - despite only being three yards in front of the England striker - and, after a lengthy delay, a penalty was awarded. Nikita Parris stepped up to confidently beat Lee Alexander from the spot and England were ahead.
Kirby drilled wide from the edge of the area after the ball had been laid back to her by Ellen White, who also brought out a smart save from Alexander at her near post from a Parris cross. England then got the ball in the net again as White headed in from Keira Walsh's clipped pass over the Scotland defence, but celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.
Scotland began to settle down after the penalty setback and an inswinging free kick by Caroline Weir just evaded Rachel Corsie as she tried to head home. However at the other end, England had an opportunity to double their lead as Jill Scott dispossessed Weir just outside the area and found White whose shot was saved by Alexander.
More hesitation at the back from Scotland led to England doubling their lead. Kirby's pass was not cut out by Rachel Corsie and Ellen White took full advantage, guiding a neat left foot shot past Alexander for the second goal.
Scotland almost replied a minute later with Erin Cuthbert drilling a low shot inches wide but England took their two-goal lead into the interval, looking well in control of the game.
England went straight on the attack at the start of the second half and Beth Mead was on hand to slot home a low cross from White, but once again the goal was ruled out due to White having originally been offside as she latched onto Kirby's pass.
An England corner was nodded down by Scott for White who struck her volley well but Alexander came to her side's rescue with an excellent point blank save.
As the half wore on, Scotland began to press further forward and give more support to the valiant Cuthbert, who had been isolated up front until this stage. Claire Emslie was starting to see more of possession and looked more of a threat as the game wore on, forcing a save from Karen Bardsley at her near post.
Lisa Evans had been largely quiet for much of the game up until this point, however she got into a good position in the England area but her shot lacked power and Bardsley was able to save comfortably. Three minutes later though, a good spell from Scotland brought its reward and Evans was involved again as she made a strong run down the middle and slid a pass into the path of Emslie, who took a touch before giving Bardsley no chance with a right foot shot.
Georgia Stanway, on as a substitute, clipped a shot just wide from distance after good work from Parris as England had to negotiate the final stages against their rejuvenated opponents. Scotland worked hard to try and get themselves back on level terms with Emslie and Lizzie Arnot both trying their luck but England were able to see the game out for the three points.
England: Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood, Keira Walsh, Steph Houghton, Millie Bright (sub Abbie McManus 54mins), Nikita Parris, Jill Scott, Ellen White, Fran Kirby (sub Georgia Stanway 81mins), Beth Mead (sub Karen Carney 70mins).
Scotland: Lee Alexander, Sophie Howard (sub Chloe Arthur 74mins), Nicola Docherty (sub Kirsty Smith 54mins), Rachel Corsie, Jennifer Beattie, Christie Murray (sub Lizzie Arnot 86mins), Claire Emslie, Kim Little, Caroline Weir, Erin Cuthbert, Lisa Evans.
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