This tournament was always going to be difficult for a Lionesses side missing Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby. Two narrow 1-0 victories have not been enough to raise England fans’ hopes of Sarina Wiegman‘s side lifting another major trophy.
At the European Championship last summer, Wiegman did not change her starting line-up once and they went on to lift the trophy at Wembley. Now the England manager was forced into making two changes for the match against Denmark. Bringing Lauren James into the team paid off as she fired the Lionesses into the lead after just six minutes.
Despite James then missing a great chance to double England’s lead, she has earned high praise from a former Lioness. Karen Karney said on ITV that James was “one of the most technically gifted players we’ve seen this generation.”
England had had a great start but the tides soon began to turn. Rachel Daly -who was also starting her first match of the tournament- gave the ball away which led to a great chance for Rikke Madsen. It got worse for the Lionesses when Kiera Walsh was stretchered off with a knee injury. Losing the Barcelona midfielder is another huge blow for Wiegman’s side.
England was sloppy at times and they were lucky not to concede late on. Amalie Vangsgaard‘s header came back off the post in the 86th minute. The Lionesses held on for victory but despite going top of the group, the players will know that they must perform better if they are to go far in this competition.
Wiegman was pleased that her team managed to get a result against the Danes, telling the BBC“It’s all about winning games of course. We also want to play well. But we never take anything for granted. We have to work really hard every time we play any game. We are really happy with the 1-0 in the end and that’s what counts.”
England now needs to win or draw against China in their final game of Group D to ensure they qualify for the last 16.
The Lionesses play China next in the Women’s World Cup on Tuesday, August 1, kick-off at 12:00 BST.
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