Day 8 of the 2019 World Cup had plenty of action and drama. Italy and England won again, while Japan earned their first victory of the tournament.
JAPAN v SCOTLAND
Japan prevailed in Rennes, defeating Scotland 2-1. First half strikes from Mana Iwabuchi and Yuika Sugasawa secured the win for the Nadeshiko, Lana Clelland netting a late consolation for the Scottish.
After the opening 20 minutes were fairly even, Jun Endo set up Iwabuchi, who broke the deadlock with a strike from the edge of the area.
The Nadeshiko seemed to gain confidence, and only a goal line clearance from Kim Little prevented them from doubling their lead.
Japan would make it 2-0 in the 37th minute when Sugasawa was brought down in the area by Rachel Corsie. The forward took the responsibility as well, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.
It was almost three on the stroke of halftime as Endo created another chance, Hina Sugita rattling the crossbar.
Scotland had more of a foothold in the contest in the second half, but Japan were also a threat to score again, and they forced Lee Alexander to make some vital saves.
The final 15 minutes belonged to Scotland, and they nearly pulled one back when Erin Cuthbert struck the post from a narrow angle. The Scottish then had a strong penalty appeal for an apparent handball turned down in the 84th minute.
Late on, Clelland halved the deficit with a wonderful 25 yard strike, however Japan would hang on for a vital win.
A tight encounter in Rennes…
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 14, 2019
The Nadeshiko are now in a good position to qualify, while Scotland need to defeat Argentina in Paris on Wednesday (local time) to have any chance of progression.
Japan 2 (Iwabuchi 23’, Sugasawa 37’)
Scotland 1 (Clelland 88’)
JAMAICA v ITALY
Italy stayed top of Group C, courtesy of a comprehensive 5-0 win over Jamaica in Reims. Cristiana Girelli led the way with a hat trick, while a double from substitute Aurora Galli rounded off the scoring.
The VAR presence was felt early in the contest when Barbara Bonansea was felled in the area by Allyson Swaby. Following a review of the incident, the Italians were awarded a spot kick.
Jamaica goalkeeper Sydney Schneider then appeared to have repeated her heroics from the game against Brazil, diving to her left to save Girelli’s penalty. However, a second review ruled that Schneider had encroached, and she received a yellow card. Girelli took full advantage of the reprieve, dispatching the penalty into the bottom corner.
Italy would double their lead in the 25th minute after a corner form the right wasn’t cleared, Girelli bundling the ball in from close range.
The Italians continued to cause trouble from set pieces, hitting the crossbar a few minutes later, but were unable to extend their lead before halftime.
It was a different story in the second half though, as Italy made it three almost directly from the restart. Manuela Giugliano crossed from the right, and Girelli beat the defence to head the ball home and complete her hat trick.
— Nazionale Femminile di Calcio (@AzzurreFIGC) June 14, 2019
With the Italians content to sit back, Jamaica had some decent spells, and Bunny Shaw was their most dangerous player. The Reggae Girlz were even close to grabbing a lucky goal, but Deneisha Blackwood’s looping cross hit the woodwork.
However, it was Italy who would score again. Galli made an immediate impact after coming on, sending a 25 yard rocket into the top corner to net her side’s fourth of the game.
Galli continued to impress, making it 5-0 in the 81st minute when she latched onto a through pass behind the defence, dribbling round Schneider and finding the empty goal.
On Tuesday (local time), Italy will try to make it three wins from three as they face Brazil in Valenciennes, while Jamaica meet Australia in Grenoble.
Italy 5 (Girelli 12’ 25’ 46’, Galli 71’ 81’)
ENGLAND v ARGENTINA
England maintained their perfect record at the 2019 World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Argentina in Le Havre.
Argentina set up in a similar manner to their opening fixture against Japan, getting numbers behind the ball and staying compact. Nearly half an hour was played when England received their first real chance, Alex Greenwood winning a penalty after being tripped by Ruth Bravo. Correa came up big for Argentina, saving Nikita Parris’s spot kick, and Jodie Taylor shot wide from the rebound.
The Argentinean goalkeeper was called upon again near the end of the first, making an excellent one on one save to deny Beth Mead.
Correa’s heroics continued into the second half. Parris pounced on a loose ball inside the area, firing a volley through a crowd of players which was somehow blocked by the goalkeeper.
However, there was nothing the shot stopper could do in the 61st minute, as England took the lead with a clinical counter attack. Jill Scott and Fran Kirby combined to find Mead in space on the left side, and her cross was perfect for Taylor, who had an easy tap in.
The English were fairly comfortable in seeing out the game, and could even have had a second after Scott got on the end of Greenwood’s cross, heading over from a good position. Their next match gives them the chance to seal first place in Group D when they face Japan in Nice.
For Argentina, there was some consolation as Correa was named FIFA’s official player of the match following a standout performance.
One for the goalkeepers 👊
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) June 15, 2019
England 1 (Taylor 61’)