Three Blues representatives, Fran Kirby, Carly Telford and Karen Carney, helped England get their second win of the World Cup when they beat Argentina 1-0 in their penultimate Group D match.
The victory against Argentina, ranked 37th in the world, means the Lionesses have guaranteed a knockout spot.
Due to Nikita Parris failing to convert a first-half spot kick, it took England just over an hour to break down a well-disciplined Argentinian team. And our Chelsea striker was part of the build-up play that led to Jodie Taylor firing home from close range, settling this hard-fought contest in Le Havre.
The last encounter between the two sides was at the 2007 World Cup when England beat the South Americans 6-1 in the group stage, and the Blues’ Telford and Carney were part of that squad in China.
Phil Neville set his side up in a 4-3-3 formation and made four changes from their World Cup opener. Chelsea’s Telford came in between the sticks for Karen Bardsley, Ellen White, who scored against Scotland, was replaced by Taylor, while Millie Bright and Kiera Walsh swapped out for Abbie McManus and Jade Moore. Kirby continued operating behind the front three and Carney replaced her Chelsea team-mate in the 89th minute.
England began the game confidently and knocked the ball around with ease. However, the first genuine chance did not come until the 24th minute. Kirby headed the ball into the crowded area which fell to Reading’s Moore at the front post, but Aldana Cometti swooped in and cleared.
Minutes later the Lionesses were awarded a penalty when United’s Alex Greenwood was brought down in the box by Ruth Bravo, and the referee made no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Parris, who scored the first goal of England’s 2019 World Cup campaign by netting a penalty, failed to convert this time. Argentina’s no.1, Vanina Correa, flung herself to the right and impressively palmed Parris’ sidefooted effort onto the post.
The Latin Americans' only chance of the first half presented itself in added time from a set-piece after Moore pulled back Lyon’s Sole Jaimes. However, it came to nothing as Telford sprung above everyone in the box and confidently punched the ball away without difficulty.
The second half began similarly to the first. Chances continued to present themselves but England frustratingly could not find a breakthrough. Kirby went close through Taylor’s threaded ball but it was just too quick for our no.10 to adjust her positioning and latch onto.
A sense of relief was felt around the enclosed Stade Océane and England were given breathing space when the Seattle Reign striker opened the scoring after 62 minutes. Jill Scott burst down the centre of the park and passed into Kirby who played in Mead. The Gunners forward deliver a first-time ball from the left flank for Taylor to tap home.
Although England will go into their final Group D match against Japan on 19 June at Stade de Nice with a guaranteed place in the final 16, they will still look to get a win in order to top the group.
Erin Cuthbert’s Scotland side will face Argentina next to compete for third place in Group D, and whilst doing so will hope to qualify as one of the four best third-placed teams to book a spot in the knockouts.