There was a potential, barmy, scenario that would have seen a drawing of lots in Paris to determine who’d progress from Group D; something that was thankfully avoided. Yet there was still plenty of drama.
England vs Japan
In Nice, England eased their way past a Japan team that still failed to impress, Ellen White impressed up top in a position that she’s surely claimed as her own ahead of any pretenders. Behind White, Rachel Daly and to a greater extent, Georgia Stanway caught the eye of the masses, the young Manchester City attacker impressing with her vision and composure.
Despite the easy enough nature of the win, England still gave Japan too much room to attack and have clear areas to improve ahead of the knock out rounds – although the win guarantees the Lionesses will be playing a third-placed team in their next outing.
Japan, for their efforts, finished second and will face the winner of Group E in Rennes.
Scotland vs Argentina
In Paris, things were a world away. With both Argentina and Scotland needing a win to keep them in the tournament, it was Argentina who started strongly but unfathomably found themselves a goal down at half-time through Kim Little’s toe-poke.
Having started the second half strongly, Scotland extended their lead to three and looked all but certain to progress until Milagros Menéndez pulled one back in the 74 minute. A hopeful effort from Florencia Bonsegundo pinged off of the bar and in five minutes later, setting up a grandstand finish.
With the pressure all coming from Argentina a penalty awarded in the 86 minute brought about the most frantic drama of the night. The penalty delayed by a VAR check then forced to be retaken after Lee Alexander was adjudged to have come off of her line too soon – the second effort the one that found the back of the net and tied the match. Despite the goal being scored in the 94 minute, the board went up for four minutes of stoppage time, the whistle blown almost immediately after, Scotland out, Argentina needing a very unlikely set of results to see them progress with two points.
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