Ellen White

White double seals England win

England made it 3 from 3 as they overcame Japan 2-0 in Nice to top their World Cup group.

Ellen White was the double for Phil Neville’s Lionesses bringing her tally to three in the tournament.

However England didn’t have it all their own way as Karen Bardsley made a sensational save early on as she threw herself high to her right to push a spectacular 30-yard free-kick from Kumi Yokoyama against the crossbar.

Kiera Walsh was then let off the hook shortly afterwards as she was caught in possession on the edge of the area by Yokoyama but she drilled her effort over.

However on 14 minutes Phil Neville’s side did take the lead as Georgia Stanway played a sensational defence splitting pass into Ellen White who will be Stanway’s Manchester City teammate for the upcoming season and she slotted into the net.

England then could have been out of sight if not for an inspired performance from Ayaka Yamashita in the Japanese goal as she made a fantastic save to keep out Stanway on her World Cup debut.

Just before the break the keeper was at it again as she kept out Rachel Daly racing off her line quickly to tip away a powerful volley from point blank range.

Early in the second half England continued their pressure and it was Toni Duggan on her first World Cup appearance thought she had made it two as she met a cross from Daly perfectly but her effort was somehow partied away by the keeper.

Japan then started to create chances for themselves as England began to tire and become sloppy in possession.

Sugasawa had a perfect chance as she beat Millie Bright but just before she could get a shot away she was tackled at the last minute by Steph Houghton.

Bardsley then made a superb reaction save to deny Sugasawa once again on 80 minutes as her header looked set to creep inside the near post.

However England did double their lead when Karen Carney played in a perfectly weighted pass and she fired into the net to seal the victory.

England will now travel to Valenciennes on Sunday to play a best third-placed team, which could be one of China, New Zealand, Cameroon, Chile or Thailand.

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