Lionesses finish top of their Women’s World Cup group after convincing win against China
That's more like it — bring on the knockouts!
England are into the knockout stages of the 2023 Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand after the Lionesses finished comfortably at the top of their group with a 6-1 win against China.
The Lionesses had been limited to a single goal in each of their two opening games against Haiti and Denmark but ended up cruising into the round of 16 thanks to a hat full of goals, two of the most special coming from Chelsea’s Lauren James and the fifth of which came from Manchester City’s Chloe Kelly.
The Euro 2022-winning hero wasn’t the only Manc-centric player to find the back of the net either, as former United star Alessia Russo opened the scoring in just the fourth minute with a great touch and finish into the bottom left corner of the Chinese goalkeeper’s net.
Her first effort was nice enough but we could watch this second goal from Lauren James back all day:
Admittedly, it was a bit of a lacklustre performance from the Chinese, who have finished as runners-up in the both Women’s World Cup and the Olympics, as well as regularly dominating in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, but the Lionesses preyed on their weakness at every opportunity.
England women’s found their sixth through a reactive volley at the back post from Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly and despite a few wobbles in concentration early in the second half, Sarina Wiegman’s squad showed the kind of quality that helped them become the European champions that they are.
While there was plenty to choose from, our pick of the bunch might just be Lauren Hemp’s, though, more because it showed every aspect of the Lionesses game, from their doggedness in the press, pace in the transition and clinical finishing ability when they’re in the mood.
Just look at how quickly this goes from China in possession to an England goal:
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Speaking after the game, former England player and WSL star Karen Carney said it felt like “we’ve arrived” in the tournament, comparing the showing to England’s record-breaking 8-0 win against Norway at the Euros — we tend to agree.
The Lionesses closed out Group D with all nine points available and a total of eight goals scored, although the opening two games were, admittedly, a much more closely run affair.
England will now face Nigeria in the round of 16 on Monday, 7 August at Brisbane Stadium, with the West Africa side having finished second in their group behind host nation Australia.
Keep it going, girls, we’re right behind you. It’s coming home.
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Featured Image — Lionesses