England’s Lionesses including Blues’ Fran Kirby, Millie Bright, Karen Carney and Carly Telford have booked a spot in the knockout stages by beating Argentina 1-0 in Le Havre, and Kirby has reflected on her team’s performance.
The attacker spoke about a patient game played, an altered postion personally, and speaking to the official Chelsea website, she also looked ahead to England's next challenge which comes midweek.
'I think it was a really positive performance; we knew that it was going to be difficult and we knew that they were going to bank up and make it really hard for us,' Kirby said about the Argentina game.
‘We knew we had to stay patient and keep the ball, keep moving it and tire them out. The goal was going to come, we were creating chances, and ultimately we knew that one of them would end up in the back of the net.'
Although the Lionesses looked confident on the ball and came away with three points against the Latin Americans, it took Phil Neville’s side a while to create a genuine chance on goal and break the deadlock. However, Kirby insisted her team were in control at all times.
‘We were just trying to suss them out, we had a chance in the first minute, so that was good and then it’s just about trying to work out your opponent, but I felt we were always in control.
‘We knew they were going to make it difficult banking up but we just kept moving the ball and then it opened up eventually.’
So far the no.10 has started in both Group D matches and played an essential part in two victories. In the first fixture against neighbours Scotland, Kirby assisted the goals in the slender 2-1 win, and against Argentina she was part of the build-up play that led to Jodie Taylor’s close-range finish.
In an England shirt Kirby has adopted a deeper role compared to her usual position as striker for the Blues, and she commented on the positional differences
‘I’m still learning a lot about it and obviously picking up the ball a bit deeper and trying to create things from a deeper role.
‘I know I still need to work on my final product a little bit going into the final third, but I’m enjoying it and I want to get on the ball. I want to create chances and as long as I’m doing that I know I’m in a good space.’
Despite having a confirmed place in the last 16 of the 2019 edition of the World Cup, England still have the task of coming up against the 2011 winners and 2015 runners-up Japan on Wednesday to determine who tops the group.
‘Ultimately we have always said we want to win every game – we play a game and quickly review it, then we move on, and we focus on the next one because in tournament football you can’t dwell on a game for a few days.
‘It’s a nice feeling knowing that we have gone through to the last 16 without playing our final group match so we’re happy.
‘They [Japan] are going to want to possess the ball a lot, and we’re probably going to be defending a lot more than we have in the last two games.
‘We’re going to respect them obviously, and we know they are going to be up for it as they will want the win but so do we, so it’s going to be an interesting game.'