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England’s 6-1 Victory Over China

England's 6-1 thrashing of China KAFUISPOT

England finally arrived at the Women’s World Cup with a dominant 6-1 victory over China.

Two stunners from Lauren James alongside strikes from Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly earned the Lionesses their most convincing win yet in Australia and New Zealand.

Here are the main talking points as the European champions surged into the knockout stages with a 100% record.

Superstar James

If James was not already a world star after her superb winner against Denmark, she certainly is now.

The 21-year-old continued her terrific debut World Cup with two absolute crackers, the first a curling strike from the edge of the box and the second a sumptuous volley after the break.

It could have been a hat-trick for Chelsea’s dazzling youngster after she was denied another pearler in the first half via VAR for what would surely have gone down as one of the tournament’s greatest trebles

Tactical masterstroke

Sarina Weigman’s starting XI provided plenty of questions prior to kick-off and what turned out to be a 3-4-1-2 formation proved to be extremely effective.

Lucy Bronze and Daly, who can add wing-back to her growing list of positions, had license to roam forward and caused the China defence problems all evening.

They linked superbly with the attacking trio of Russo, Hemp and James and England’s ability to thrive with different systems could well prove crucial to their hopes in the latter stages.

Walsh not missed

That formation change was largely forced by the loss of star midfielder Keira Walsh following her injury against Denmark, with Katie Zelem selected to replace the Barcelona maestro.

The Manchester United captain showed no signs of nervousness on her full Lionesses debut, striking up an impressive partnership with Georgia Stanway in the centre of the park.

Added protection provided by the three centre-backs allowed the duo to get forward and join attacks and Wiegman should have no problem throwing her in again as they await news on Walsh’s availability.

The goals finally flow

It is three wins from three for England Down Under but the narrowness of their first two victories had prompted questions over their ability to find the net regularly.

Those concerns were put to bed in thrilling style, with the Lionesses exhibiting a ruthlessness from the moment Russo put them ahead just four minutes in.

While they undoubtedly came up against a China side that underperformed, six goals from five different scorers was just what the doctor ordered.

Valuable minutes

England’s victory being sewn up so early in the game meant Wiegman was able to hand a number of fringe stars some valuable minutes.

Stanway, who picked up a yellow card earlier in the tournament, was withdrawn at half-time for Laura Coombs, while Bethany England, Niamh Charles and Kelly also made 20-minute cameos.

Having substitutes ready to make an impact could prove pivotal during a packed schedule as they prepare for Nigeria in the last 16.


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