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Women’s World Cup: Five things we learned from England 1-0 Denmark

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With a 1-0 win over Denmark in Group D, the Lionesses have qualified for the knockout rounds of the Women’s World Cup.

Lauren James made a significant impact, scoring a goal inside six minutes, but England still weren’t at their best, and Sarina Wiegman will have her work cut out for her as she faces a new set of issues.

Here are five key takeaways we learned ahead of England’s final group match against China.

Lauren James - Soccer Player

Lauren James scored England’s sole goal in her World Cup debut. / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Lauren James made a remarkable impact in her first World Cup start, scoring a superb goal to win the game for her side.

Her goal, England’s first from open play for 343 minutes, was an immediate confirmation to Sarina Wiegman that the changes she made from the team that defeated Haiti 1-0 were the correct ones.

James’ creativity and unpredictability have been on display all season in the Women’s Super League, and her performance on Friday make her a strong contender for a regular starting spot with England moving into the knockout rounds.

Keira Walsh

Keira Walsh was seen in crutches after her injury during the match. / Cameron Spencer/GettyImages

The victory was bittersweet as midfielder Keira Walsh suffered a knee injury and was stretchered off in the 38th minute.

If Walsh’s absence is long term, it will be a significant blow for England given her status as one of the best midfielders in world football.

Former England striker Ellen White said “there wasn’t a plan B” at the European Championships if England lost Keira Walsh, saying: “Everything [came] from Keira. We appreciated so much that all our play came through her… I just don’t know who’s going to fill that void.”

Manager Wiegman however acknowledged the challenge of filling the void left by Walsh but pointed out tactical alternatives: “You saw the Plan B. Georgia Stanway drops back and Laura Coombs comes in.”

Sarina Wiegman-Glotzbach

Last summer, Sarina Wiegman opted for the same starting XI in every game of the Euros. / ATPImages/GettyImages

Against Denmark, Wiegman went against her usual MO and made alterations to the XI that started against Haiti, showcasing that she can be tactically flexible.

Denmark did exploit England’s defence at times, but overall the Lionesses looked stronger than they did against Haiti.

Wiegman doesn’t have the luxury of a fully fit squad who were all in-form like she did last summer. And that’s ok as long as she is able to tactically tweak the side depending on their opponent. It’s what the best managers in the world are meant to do during tournament football.

Mary Earps

Mary Earps kept her second clean sheet in a row. / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Mary Earps proved her worth once again by making two crucial saves during the match, one to deny Pernille Harder in the first half and Katrine Veje in the second.

Without Leah Williamson in the side, and Millie Bright still getting crucial minutes under her belt after coming back from injury, Earps has stood out as an unsung leader, leading and organising her backline during tough moments.

Rachel Daly, Frederikke Thogersen

Rachel Daly started at left-back against Denmark. / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Rachel Daly’s versatility came to the fore as she excelled in the left-back position against Denmark. Her defensive prowess combined with her ability to contribute offensively, as seen in her assist for James’ goal, makes her a crucial asset for England.

Daly herself didn’t mind starting in the left-back role, saying: “I’m going to say what I always say. It is an honour to be on this pitch with this team. It’s a little different from where I have been playing but not too far from where I was playing last year.”

Captain Bright added: “She’s an unbelievable player. She will do anything for the team. She’s so versatile and we have a team full of very talented players who are willing to do anything. It is an honour to be a part of this squad.”

LISTEN NOW

Former Italy international Arianna Criscione, Dulwich Hamlet’s Brittany Saylor and Football for Future founder Elliot Arthur-Worsop join Katie Cross to have football’s climate conversation about the Women’s World Cup and tournament football’s carbon footprint. Pledgeball’s Heather Ashworth also gives an update on the Pledgeball’s new Women’s World Cup initiative.

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!



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