England booked their place in the knockout stages of the 2019 Women’s World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Argentina on Friday.
Striker Jodie Taylor scored the only goal of the game for the Lionesses, who sit top of Group D after two games with six points.
Japan are in second place on four points following their 2-1 win over Scotland at Roazhon Park in Rennes, France.
First-half goals from Mana Iwabuchi and Yuika Sugasawa gave Japan their first win at the tournament. Substitute Lana Clelland curled home a late consolation for the Scots.
Italy moved to the top of Group C after crushing Jamaica 5-0. Cristiana Girelli scored a hat-trick and Aurora Galli grabbed a brace to send Le Azzurre into the knockout stages.
Japan 2-1 Scotland
Jamaica 0-5 Italy
England 1-0 Argentina
England dominated the first half against Argentina but could not find a way past goalkeeper Vanina Correa in the opening 45 minutes.
The Lionesses were given a glorious chance to break the deadlock when Alex Greenwood won a penalty after being brought down by Ruth Bravo, but Correa denied England by tipping Nikita Parris’ spot-kick onto the post:
Correa also made a fine save from Beth Mead before half-time as Argentina continued to frustrate England:
Phil Neville’s side maintained their dominance in the second half and finally opened the scoring on the hour mark.
A quick break saw Mead send in a low cross from the left that eluded Correa and allowed Taylor to poke home at the far post:
Argentina offered little as an attacking force and had to wait until the 76th minute to have their first shot on target. Mariana Larroquette tried her luck with a low shot that goalkeeper Carly Telford was equal to.
It was a deserved win for England, who might have had more goals if not for the performance of Correa in the Argentina goal.
Scotland manager Shelley Kerr made changes to her side for their match against Japan and brought full-back Hayley Lauder back into her starting XI.
It was a landmark appearance for the 29-year-old:
Meanwhile, Japan coach Asako Takakura brought in Iwabuchi in attack for Kumi Yokoyama. It proved to be a good decision as the 26-year-old broke the deadlock after 23 minutes.
Jun Endo cut the ball back to Iwabuchi on the edge of the penalty area, and she took a touch before blasting the ball past goalkeeper Lee Alexander (U.S. only):
The goal seemed to fill Japan with confidence, and they continued to attack in numbers.
Iwabuchi fired into the side netting, and then Sugasawa tangled with Rachel Corsie under a high ball and won a penalty.
Sugasawa made no mistake with the spot-kick, calmly sending Alexander the wrong way to double her side’s lead.
ESPN’s Kate Markgraf was impressed with Japan’s performance:
Japan went close to a third goal just before half-time. Endo was again the creator, cutting the ball back to Hina Sugita to blast an effort against the crossbar.
Scotland goalkeeper Alexander was also kept busy after the break. She saved well from Emi Nakajima, Rikako Kobayashi and Aya Sameshima as Japan sought to put the game out of sight.
However, Scotland came on strong in the closing stages and created chances of their own.
Erin Cuthbert hit the post from close range before Clelland pounced on a loose ball and curled the ball into the top corner (UK only):
It was a fantastic strike from the substitute, but it was not enough to stop Scotland slipping to a second narrow defeat in two games.
Italy took the lead against Jamaica in controversial circumstances. La Azzurre were awarded a penalty following a VAR check after Barbara Bonansea went down under a challenge from Allyson Swaby.
Girelli saw her initial spot-kick saved by goalkeeper Sydney Schneider, but the referee ordered the penalty to be taken as the goalkeeper had strayed off her line.
This time Girelli made no mistake from the penalty spot, sending Schneider the wrong way to give Italy the lead (U.S. only):
Girelli then doubled Italy’s lead midway through the first half. Manuela Giugliano’s corner was helped on at the near post to the striker, who managed to bundle home from close range.
The Juventus striker then sealed her hat-trick straight after half-time, nodding home a deep cross in from the right by Giugliano:
Jamaica had chances to pull one back in the second half, but Italy completed the win with two late goals by Galli.
The 22-year-old smashed a brilliant shot into the top corner from just outside the penalty area and then scored again by rounding the goalkeeper and knocking into an empty net.