On Tuesday, England defeated China 6-1 and advanced to the round of 16 as the champions of Group D thanks to a performance that was their finest of the Women’s World Cup so far. Lauren James continued to shine for England by scoring two excellent goals during the victory.
At Hindmarsh Stadium, Alessia Russo scored the first goal in the match in the fourth minute, giving the reigning European champions a flawless start. Lauren Hemp and James added two more goals before halftime to give England a comfortable advantage.
After halftime, James scored her third goal of the competition, and then Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly both hit the back of the net to give England an impressive victory. Now, England will travel to Brisbane to face Nigeria on Monday for a spot in the quarterfinals. The winner of that match will advance.
China, the reigning Asian champions and a team that reached the semifinals of the World Cup in 1995, was eliminated in the group stage for the first time in any of their eight previous trips to the international competition. It was the worst loss in the history of the World Cup.
After Keira Walsh suffered an injury that prevented her from playing the role of holding midfielder, England changed their formation to a 3-5-2 and quickly began to make headway down the sides.
The first goal for England came about as a result of a sequence that began with a cross from the left by Lauren Hemp, continued with James heading the ball to Russo in the box, and culminated with the forward bringing the ball down and slipping it inside the post.
James was having a difficult time getting room to show off her abilities on the outside of the box. However, in the 26th minute, James was supplied by Millie Bright as she stormed out of the defensive position and slipped a ball from a deeper position through to Hemp.
The striker for Manchester City made a first touch that seemed like it was going to be excessive, but her quickness allowed her to go clear of the final defender, and she finished off the play with precision.
James scored the third goal in the 41st minute when he took advantage of the fact that he was entirely unmarked on the outskirts of the box during a free kick and sent the ball in the back of the net with his first shot.
In the dying seconds of the first half, James produced an even more impressive finish for what would have been the tournament’s fourth goal, but the goal was disallowed due to offside after the referee consulted the video assistant referee (VAR).
Wang Shuang converted the penalty kick to give China a goal back at the beginning of the second half. The video assistant referee had ruled that defender Lucy Bronze had handled the ball in a goalmouth scramble, which resulted to the penalty kick.
In spite of this, James was once again thrust into the limelight in the 66th minute when Jess Carter’s cross found her at the far post, and she completed the play with a volley that was well handled.
Substitute After that, Kelly scored the fifth goal into an empty net from a James through pass that China goalkeeper Zhu Yu totally misread, and wingback Daly put a gloss on the scoreline with a superb finish in the 84th minute of the match.
James said, “Once more, another day of the stuff that dreams are made of.” “I’m ecstatic for the squad, and I can feel the excitement in the room. In addition, we are looking forward to competing in the subsequent round.