England 2, Scotland 1
England’s Women’s World Cup campaign got off to a nervy start after a narrow victory over Scotland following a 2-1 win over Scotland in Nice.Embed from Getty Images
Fran Kirby’s cross was adjudged to have been handled in the area by the outstretched arm of Nicola Docherty from little over 3 yards out.
Nikita Parris opened the scoring in the 14th minute from the penalty spot after a video assistant referee (VAR) prompted referee Jana Adamkova to review the handball.
Ellen White curled a fine strike past Lee Alexander in the Scotland goal to double the lead but England could not increase their lead.
England manager Phil Neville could not pick injured players Toni Duggan and Demi Stokes but his team still had enough about them to beat Scotland in their opening World Cup match.
Their best work came up the right flank with Lucy Bronze combining well with Nikita Parris while in-form Ellen White, who had a goal chalked off for offside, repaid Neville’s decision to start her instead of Jodie Taylor with what turned out to be the winning goal.
Jill Scott was also an excellent attacking option when she roamed forward from her deeper lying midfield berth alongside her Manchester City team mate Keira Walsh.
But the loss of Millie Bright, who had partnered captain Steph Houghton until being substituted following a heavy fall on her arm and possible head injury early in the second half, seemed to open the door to waves of Scotland attacks.
The Scots improved after the break but it took until the 79th minute for Steph Houghton’s poor pass out of defence to cost England a goal.
Claire Emslie reacted first to Lisa Evans’ counter attacking pass, catching Alex Greenwood cold, and her strike took a deflection off Abbie McManus to beat Karen Bardsley.
It was Scotland’s first ever World Cup goal and underlined England’s perceived vulnerability under pressure with Erin Cuthbert in particular causing problems.
It ensured a nervous finish for the Lionesses who managed to hold off their rivals to record a World Cup win.
MATCH STATS – England 2, Scotland 1
England Women: Bardsley, Bronze, Houghton, Bright (McManus 55), Greenwood, Walsh, Parris, Scott, Kirby (Stanway 82), Mead (Carney 71), White
England Women Subs not used: Telford, Earps, Taylor, Telford, Williamson, Moore, Daly, Staniforth
Goals: Parris 14 pen, White 40
Scotland Women: Alexander, Howard (Arthur 75), Corsie, Beattie, Docherty (Smith 55), Murray (Arnot 87), Weir, Emslie, Little, Evans, Cuthbert
Scotland Women Subs not used: Love, Lauder, Crichton, Ross, Murray, Clelland, Brown
Booked: Beattie, Docherty
Goal: Emslie 79