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Disjointed England hang on to beat Scotland and open World Cup campaign with a win

Disjointed England hang on to beat Scotland and open World Cup campaign with a win
By Eurosport

09/06/2019 at 16:01Updated 09/06/2019 at 19:41

Women’s World Cup, Allianz Riviera – England 2 (Parris 14 pen, White 40) Scotland 1 (Emslie 79)

England survived a scare against rivals Scotland to secure a 2-1 opening game win at the Women’s World Cup on Sunday.

The Lionesses dominated the first half, taking the lead through Nikita Parris’ penlty shy of the 15-minute mark after VAR judged Nicole Docherty had handled the ball in the area. The Lyon-bound winger had been linking up well with future club-mate Lucy Bronze, and they were causing Scotland real issues.

The goal really settled them down and Ellen White then doubled the lead as she finished well from close range after combining with Fran Kirby as half time approached. After a bright start, Scotland had dropped deeper and deeper, but they fired a warning shot before the break when Erin Cuthbert stole in after Keira Walsh was caught in possession.

England's forward Ellen White celebrates after scoring a goal during the France 2019 Women's World Cup Group D football match between England and Scotland, on June 9, 2019, at the Nice Stadium in Nice, southeastern France

England's forward Ellen White celebrates after scoring a goal during the France 2019 Women's World Cup Group D football match between England and Scotland, on June 9, 2019, at the Nice Stadium in Nice, southeastern FranceGetty Images

England thought they had made it three less than a minute into the second half, but White was offside as she played in Beth Mead, who finished well. Scotland were galvanised and began to push forward; Kim Little began to get on the ball and suddenly Cuthbert wasn’t as isolated as England became sloppy.

With 11 minutes remaining, Claire Emslie halved the deficit with a close-range finish after brilliant work by Lisa Evans, and though they pushed on for a leveller, England managed to hold on for an opening day win.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH – NIKITA PARRIS

Parris was a constant threat throughout the game, having really settled after emphatically dispatching her penalty. The 25-year-old linked excellently with Bronze, who was also superb, in the first half, and though her impact waned a little as Scotland grew in confidence, she constantly looked to make things happen. England have a great chance of winning their first World Cup this summer, and Parris will be crucial to their hopes of making history.

Nikita Parris of England celebrates after scoring her team's first goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group D match between England and Scotland at Stade de Nice on June 09, 2019 in Nice, France.

Nikita Parris of England celebrates after scoring her team's first goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group D match between England and Scotland at Stade de Nice on June 09, 2019 in Nice, France.Getty Images

TALKING POINT – VAR CHANGES THE GAME

Scotland were pressuring a nervy England into mistakes early on, but the controversial decision to award Phil Neville’s a penalty for the handball against Docherty was the turning point. New laws suggest the decision was right, if a little harsh, and VAR was correctly used in this instance.

England's forward Nikita Parris (L) scores a penalty kick during the France 2019 Women's World Cup Group D football match between England and Scotland, on June 9, 2019, at the Nice Stadium in Nice, southeastern France.

England's forward Nikita Parris (L) scores a penalty kick during the France 2019 Women's World Cup Group D football match between England and Scotland, on June 9, 2019, at the Nice Stadium in Nice, southeastern France.Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

England: Bardsley 6, Greenwood 6, Bright 6, Haughton 7, Bronze 8, Scott 7, Walsh 6, Mead 6, Kirby 6, Parris 8, White 7 Substitutes McManus 6, Carney 6, Stanway n/a

Scotland: Alexander 7, Docherty 5, Beattie 5, Corse 5, Howard 6, Weir 6, Murray 6, Emslie 7, Little 7, Evans 7, Cuthbert 7 Substitutes Smith 7, Arnot n/a

KEY MOMENTS

14’ GOAL - VAR being checked by the referee for a possible handball against Scotland! GIVEN! Nikita Parris smashes home. 1-0.

22’ SAVE - Bronze gets in again and crosses for White, who sees her effort blocked superbly by Alexander.

40’ GOAL - Ellen White makes it 2-0 with a lovely finish. That goal comes at a great time for England.

England's forward Ellen White celebrates after scoring a goal during the France 2019 Women's World Cup Group D football match between England and Scotland, on June 9, 2019, at the Nice Stadium in Nice, southeastern France

England's forward Ellen White celebrates after scoring a goal during the France 2019 Women's World Cup Group D football match between England and Scotland, on June 9, 2019, at the Nice Stadium in Nice, southeastern FranceGetty Images

79’ GOAL! - It had been coming. Emslie finishes well from close range to halve the deficit. 2-1.

KEY STATS

Nikita Parris’ goal was her 13th for England, but first from the penalty spot

England have won their opening game of a World Cup for just the second time – their first coming in 1995

Ellen White has scored in her last three games against Scotland

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