- goal scored by J. Taylor
- goal scored by J. Taylor
Neville's pride at Lionesses' progress
England edge Argentina to seal place in World Cup knockouts
Phil Neville had nothing but admiration for his England players for the way they booked their place in the last 16 of the World Cup.
Jodie Taylor’s 62nd-minute goal gave the Lionesses a deserved 1-0 win over Argentina – but they were made to work for it.
The South American’s goalkeeper Vanina Correa saved a Nikita Parris penalty amid an inspired display.
But England kept plugging away and found the breakthrough just after the hour mark.
The victory leaves them on six points from two matches, following Sunday’s 2-1 defeat of Scotland, and means they need just a point against Japan on Wednesday to progress as Group D winners.
Neville said: “Four days ago I was critical but I am so proud of every single one of them.
“I thought we played with confidence and composure like they have done for the past two days in training. Winning is a by-product of what you do during the week.
"What we spoke about at half time was to keep our heads and our discipline.
“Frustration can sometimes take over and we don't want to go into the Japan game with a yellow card over players’ heads. We knew that for them to compete with us they had to do everything possible but my players kept concentration unbelievably well and I'm really proud of them.”
He continued: “Japan struggled to create chances against Argentina but we didn't. You always have a bit of a dip [after missing a penalty]. We composed ourselves after that.”
Neville also reserved a word of praise for his match-winner.
“She's a massive player, a big-game player,” he said of Taylor.
“It's always nice when your centre forwards are scoring because the hotel's happy, when your centre forwards are bouncing round the hotel because they're scoring goals. They live off goals.
“I told Jodie before the game that I knew she would score. You reap your rewards from your training performances. She thrives off service, she thrives off balls through and the support from around her.
“It was brilliant from Jodie [Taylor]. Brilliant from Ellen [White] the other day.
“If I could pick anyone to score it would be my forwards. When you have a happy centre forward you have a happy house. We have a real competition for places.”
World Cup head-to-head
Jodie Taylor sends England into last 16
Two wins from two
England Women advanced to the knockout stages of the World Cup courtesy of a deserved 1-0 win over Argentina.
Jodie Taylor converted the only goal of the game, tapping home Beth Mead’s inviting low cross just after the hour mark.
Nikita Parris saw her first-half penalty saved by Argentine goalkeeper Vanina Correa.
It mattered not, though, as Taylor’s close-range finish secured a second Group D victory, following the 2-1 defeat of Scotland on Sunday, and qualification to the last 16 of France 2019.
Phil Neville’s side meet 2011 winners and 2015 runners-up Japan on Wednesday needing only a point to progress as group winners.
The Lionesses were totally dominant against an Argentina side content on banking up, and they might have racked up a bigger scoreline but for the inspired Correa.
Her heroics began just before the half-hour when Linda Bravo tripped the marauding Alex Greenwood inside the box.
Parris, who netted a spot-kick at the weekend, was made to wait a long time by referee Qin Liang before side-footing her effort to the keeper’s left. The ball was a comfortable height for Correa, who did brilliantly to palm the ball onto the foot of the post, with Taylor unable to turn home the rebound.
Mead was played into the clear by a revitalised Fran Kirby shortly after and her low, angled, left-foot drive was kept out by Correa’s legs.
In the second half, the would-be player of the match continued where she left off, punching away a thunderous 18-yard shot by Parris.
Taylor, top scorer at Euro 2017, had a sighter from a Parris cross but her header was straight at Correa.
Eventually, though, the seemingly inevitable breakthrough arrived on 62 minutes.
After soaking up a rare attack by the hitherto unadventurous South Americans, Neville’s charges broke at speed. Jill Scott and Kirby combined through the middle before the latter played the ball out to Mead on the left wing.
The Arsenal attacker stroked a delightful first-time cross to the far post where Taylor was on-hand to tap home. It was the 33-year-old’s seventh goal at a major tournament.
The score should probably have been doubled with less than 20 minutes remaining when Alex Greenwood dug out a delicious deep cross which an unmarked Scott could only head narrowly over the top.
However, with Carlos Borrello’s side showing little in the way of adventure, it had long appeared as though one goal was going to be enough to settle this contest, and so it proved.
- Minutes: 90
- Duels: 21
- Win rate: 57%