A spirited second half fightback is not enough for Shelley Kerr’s Scotland side as England pick up all three points in their World Cup opener.
England started the game poorly in all honesty, there were some clear nerves on show from Phil Neville’s team. Scotland were playing well, looking to counter-attack and they were causing problems. However, in the 13th minute, Scotland had the stuffing knocked out of them when VAR gave England a very contentious penalty.
Fran Kirby crossed the ball from the corner of the box, Nichola Docherty came out to block it and replays show the cross clipped Docherty’s arm. The ref didn’t call the game back until well over a minute after the incident occurred, and then took another minute to check the incident herself on the pitch-side screen. After that lengthy delay, Nikita Parris stepped up and confidently dispatched the penalty. There are plenty of questions to be asked of VAR from that entire incident but ultimately, England took the lead.
After that, England were much the better side. Creating chances left and right with the brilliant Parris and Ellen White causing all sorts of problems. In the 40th minute, White was given a reward for all her hard work when the ball fell kindly to her inside the box, she turned and smashed the ball past the keeper into the net. England two goals to the good and looking strong at half-time.
The second half saw a very different Scotland team emerge from the tunnel as Shelley Kerr’s side looked to fight back. With Erin Cuthbert, Lisa Evans and Claire Emslie, they were causing England problems. They were pushing for a goal to get them back into the game. That moment eventually came in the 79th minute when Emslie got in behind the English defence and scored to pull her side back into the match.
In the end, England managed to hold on to their lead. They didn’t look too comfortable in the second half but they got the job done. Scotland can take heart from their performance – based on the way they played today, they’ve a great chance to be one of those four best third placed teams.