Georgia Stanway’s second-half penalty was enough for England to beat impressive tournament debutants Haiti 1-0 in their opening match of the Women’s World Cup.
In a dramatic opening 45 minutes, England’s first penalty appeal was turned down by VAR. Technology was called again shortly thereafter as the Lionesses were awarded a spot-kick after a handball by Bacheba Luís.
Stanway’s initial effort was saved by goalkeeper Kerley Thews – prompting huge celebrations from her team-mates – but VAR saw that she was off her line.
The referee ordered the penalty retaken and Stanway skilfully scored his second try. This proved enough to win despite another poor performance from England, while Haiti showed they were not just numbers making up their first major tournament.
Melchi Dumornay and Roselord Bourgella both saw chances missed, while England stopper Mary Earps was forced to make two world-class saves in the second half, denying Haiti their first ever World Cup goal.
For now, England top Group D ahead of Denmark v China on Saturday, while Haiti have pinned their hopes on points against the rest of the group.
How the Lioness marched to victory
The thrilling atmosphere in the first half began in the opening minutes when both Millie Bright and Ella Toon played loose passes that put Haiti behind. And it was Haiti who made the best start, as Borghella took advantage of Bright Bright’s hasty decision but parried his effort.
The first of three VAR reviews came in the 16th minute. The officials reviewed an England penalty after Dayna Pierre-Louis’s clumsy challenge on Chloe Kelly. However, shortly before, Alessia Russo clipped Tabitha Joseph. The referee checked the pitchside monitor, awarding a free-kick to Haiti instead.
Another VAR check was not far behind either. After it was speculated that Lucy Bronze’s flick had hit Lewis on the hand, Georgia Stanway stepped up for England. However, his first attempt is well saved by Theseus, with his comrades surrounding him in celebration.
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- Alex Greenwood partnered Millie Bright in the center of defence, with Jess Carter starting at left-back.
- Alessia Russo started with the lead over Rachael Daly and Bethany England, while Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp were preferred over Lauren James on either wing.
However, they were short-lived as VAR saw the goalkeeper off his line and the referee ordered the penalty retaken. Stanway did not miss a second time, breaking the deadlock and ending England’s three-match run without a goal.
As the half continued, there were chances at both ends and the impressive Haitian should have gone into the break on equal footing. Borghella missed both chances after being set up by Dumornay, while Rousseau was England’s most powerful outlet at the other end.
Within five minutes of the second half, Haiti fired another warning shot. Dumornay fired over from 20 yards, but an acrobatic, one-handed save from Earps kept him in check as England struggled to rebound.
Rousseau also parried two quick tries by Theseus before Bright sent a wild volley into the stands when in a good position.
England players rating
England: Earps (9), Bronze (7), Bright (6), Greenwood (7), Carter (8), Stanway (7), Walsh (7), Toon (6), Kelly (7), Russo (8), Hemp (6).
Used Sub: James (7), Daly (7).
The game continued in the same order – England wasting the early chances that came their way, while Haiti looked more dangerous at the other end. Earps was needed again, firstly to deny Roseline Aloisant, before punching in a nervy late corner for Haiti to ensure that England took the early three points.
What will happen next?
After taking control of Group D, England next face Denmark kick-off at 9.30am on 28 July, ahead of the conclusion of their group stage campaign China Kick-off on August 1 at 12 noon.
What is the schedule?
The group stage has started and will go on for a period of two weeks 3 August The group winners and runners-up advance to the Round of 16, which takes place from 5 august To August 8,
The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled 11th and 12th August,
After this the first semi-final will be played August 15 The second semi-final will be held in Auckland 16 august at Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final 20 august,
The third place play-off will be played a day before the final August 19 in Brisbane.