England book spot in last-16 of Women's World Cup after breaking down Argentina

England booked their spot in the last-16 of the women’s World Cup after breaking down a resilient Argentina at the Stade Oceane.

Jodie Taylor’s 61st minute tap-in brought an end to a frustrating hour of football for Phil Neville’s burgundy-stripped side, with Argentine goalkeeper Vanina Correa – who saved a penalty from Nikita Parris in the first half – putting in a display worthy of keeping any side out.

But 33-year-old Taylor, who was guilty of wasting several opportunities, didn’t have to beat the in-form Correa when latching onto an excellent low cross from Beth Mead, with the goal at her mercy and the goalkeeper stranded, and she secured a 1-0 win.

Having beaten Scotland in their opening match, England have now won their opening two matches at a World Cup for the first time and they will take on Japan – who knocked the Lionesses out in the semi-finals of the last tournament – knowing a draw will guarantee top spot in Group D.

In front of a 20,000-strong crowd in Le Havre, England started brightly. Chelsea ace Fran Kirby smartly released Parris down the right-hand side but Bronze could only head wide under pressure.

Chances were few and far between but just before the half-hour mark, Ruth Bravo hacked down Alex Greenwood as she flew into the box and referee Liang Qin had no choice but to point for the spot.

Lyon forward Parris’ penalty kick was turned onto the post by Vanina Correa, with Jill Scott unable to find the target with the follow up.

Despite the setback, England continued to push forward. Taylor should have done better when the ball fell at her feet from a corner but failed to control, before Mead was denied by the left foot of Correa after being played through by Kirby.

Correa, again, was the hero for Argentina early in the second half as she kept out a thumping drive from Parris – a particularly good save considering it came through several bodies.

Taylor – who had not previously scored a goal for her country since April 2018, was guilty of wasting a gilt-edged opportunity as she headed straight into the arms of Correa from six yards out as frustrations continued to grow for the Lionesses.

However, Taylor was finally rewarded for her excellent forward positioning. Kirby released Mead who whipped in a low ball, which couldn’t be missed from a matter of yards out.

Despite only winning by one, Neville was satisfied with the display: ‘I actually thought we were outstanding. I really enjoyed the game, I enjoyed our performance. I’m so proud of them.’

Taylor added: ‘It was a good performance today by the team. Beth Mead played an outstanding ball and I was in the right place at the right time. Patience was key. We had the patience, we had the quality and eventually it paid off.’

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