Coach Sarina Wiegman’s bold changes pay off as England defeats Denmark 1-0
In a thrilling Women’s World Cup Group D encounter, England secured a crucial 1-0 victory over Denmark, thanks to a wonder strike from the talented forward Lauren James. The win, played in front of an enthusiastic pro-England crowd of 40,439 at the Sydney Football Stadium, all but guarantees the European champions a spot in the knockout stage of the tournament.
Coach Sarina Wiegman’s tactical masterstroke saw her make two bold changes to Friday’s squad.She moved the versatile Rachel Daly to defence and included Lauren James in the starting lineup. The decision paid off early in the game, as James showcased her brilliance in the sixth minute. She received a perfectly placed pass from Daly, sped past a defender, and unleashed a rocket from 22 yards out that left Danish goalkeeper Lene Christensen with little chance of stopping.
Speaking to the BBC after the match, James expressed her elation, stating, “It was a dream, it was something I’ve been thinking about, but most importantly, just happy to help the team win. I’m calm all around, on and off the pitch, and I just try to bring that to my game as well. Today I showed that.”
England’s World Cup hopes suffered a setback towards the end of the first half when Keira Walsh sustained what appeared to be a serious knee injury and had to be helped off the pitch. Despite this, England fought hard to maintain their lead and ultimately emerged victorious.
The goal by Lauren James not only secured the crucial win but also ended England’s scoring drought from open play, a relief after going four games without one. The 22-year-old Chelsea forward, who made her England senior debut in September last year, proved her worth on the international stage.
England had opportunities to increase their lead, but Denmark, ranked 13th, posed a constant threat throughout the second half. Goalkeeper Mary Earps had to stretch to tip a shot from Katrine Veje over the bar, while Bayern Munich forward Pernille Harder came close to pulling one back for the Danes with a header that hit the post in the dying minutes.
The Lionesses, currently ranked fourth, are determined to continue their winning momentum when they face China on August 1 in their final group game. Meanwhile, Denmark will take on Haiti on the same day.
In other Women’s World Cup matches, China kept their campaign alive with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Haiti, while Argentina and South Africa played out an exciting 2-2 draw in Group G, keeping both teams in the tournament but denting their hopes of progressing.
England’s triumph over Denmark serves as a testament to their resilience and determination, even in the face of injuries. The football world now eagerly awaits their clash with China, expecting another intense battle for victory.