- goal scored by N. Parris Goal type PEN (PEN)
- goal scored by E. White
- goal scored by C. Emslie
- goal scored by N. Parris Goal type Penalty Goal
- goal scored by E. White
goal scored by
- C. Emslie
World Cup head-to-head
Up and running
The Lionesses claim victory in their France 2019 opener
Goals by Nikita Parris and Ellen White helped England get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start as they edged neighbours Scotland in Nice.
A VAR call allowed Parris to break the deadlock from the penalty spot and White doubled the lead with an instinctive finish just before half time.
Claire Emslie gave the Scots hope with a close-range finish on 79 minutes but the Lionesses held on for an opening-day win.
England went into Sunday’s game off the back of some mixed results in their ‘Road to France’ friendly series, but they picked up a victory when it mattered most.
There was no repeat of the 6-0 drubbing they dished out to Scotland in the last meeting between the sides, at Euro 2017, but Phil Neville’s side were ultimately deserving winners once more, having dominated possession and territory throughout, though Scotland did improve markedly in the second half.
While the Men’s Senior side were twice denied by VAR in the UEFA Nations League this week, the Lionesses in contrast actually benefitted from a VAR review with their assault on France 2019 less than 15 minutes old.
After soaking up some early Scotland pressure, England gradually gained a foothold in the game with the ball being worked out to Fran Kirby on the right.
The 25-year-old whipped a ball into the box which Scotland cleared. However, referee Jana Adamkova went to the VAR and subsequently awarded England a penalty, with Kirby’s cross adjudged to have hit Nicola Docherty on the arm.
Parris thumped home the spot-kick for her first World Cup goal.
England were buoyed by the penalty and grew into the game, while the opening goal had the opposite effect on Scotland, who were appearing in their first-ever match at a World Cup finals.
Kirby zipped a shot wide from 18 yards before Lee Alexander produced smart saves to deny White and then Beth Mead.
White had a header chalked off for offside but she managed to get herself on the scoresheet just before the break, punishing the Scots for failing to clear their lines. The ball dropped on the edge of the box and Manchester City’s new signing reacted quickest to curl left-footed into the bottom corner.
Shelley Kerr’s side had a chance to get back into the contest almost immediately, when Erin Cuthbert pounced on a Keira Walsh mistake, but the Chelsea forward could only flash her shot wide of Karen Bardsley’s far post.
Mead thought she had put the game to bed when she converted White’s low centre just 30 seconds after the interval, but it was her turn to be flagged for offside.
The tireless White was in the thick of things once again when she called Alexander into action midway through the second half, getting on the end of a Jill Scott knock down. The Scotland keeper was equal to it.
Kim Little and co cranked things up as the second half wore on, forcing England onto the back foot as they tried to get back into the game – and they were given a helping hand when Steph Houghton misplaced a pass from inside her own half.
The ball went straight to Arsenal attacker Lisa Evans, who burst forward and found the on-rushing Emslie.
The winger got ahead of Alex Greenwood and her low effort hit the heel of a sliding Abbie McManus, on for the injured Millie Bright, before looping over Bardsley’s head and into the back of the net to set up a nervy final 11 minutes.
England’s second Group D match is against Argentina in Le Havre on Friday night.
England (4-2-3-1): 1 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City); 2 Lucy Bronze (Lyon), 5 Steph Houghton (capt; Manchester City), 6 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 3 Alex Greenwood (Manchester United); 4 Keira Walsh (Manchester City), 8 Jill Scott (Manchester City); 7 Nikita Parris (Lyon), 10 Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 22 Beth Mead (Arsenal); 18 Ellen White (Manchester City).
Substitutes: 15 Abbie McManus (Manchester United) for Bright 55, 20 Karen Carney (Chelsea) for Mead 71, 19 Georgia Stanway (Manchester City) for Kirby 82.
Substitutes not used: 13 Carly Telford (Chelsea), 14 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 16 Jade Moore (Reading), 17 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), 21 Mary Earps (Wolfsburg), 23 Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City).
Goals: Parris (pen) 14, White 40
Head coach: Phil Neville
- Mins: 90
- Goals: 1