James Brilliance Gives Lionesses Second World Cup Win

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England moved to the brink of qualification for the knock-out stages of the women’s World Cup with a second successive 1-0 win, beating Denmark in Sydney thanks to a superb goal by Lauren James.

The winger scored after just six minutes as the European Champions began the match brightly, turning sharply 25 yards out before curling a superb shot inside the far post.

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The goal was the ideal start for a team that had laboured to an unconvincing win over Haiti in their opening game, but England were unable to build on their early start and suffered a major blow when star midfielder Keira Walsh was stretchered off with what looked a serious knee injury after 38 minutes.

As the game wore on, Denmark began to threaten and England were unable to find the moment of inspiration that would have brought the cushion of a second goal.

The Scandinavians had won their previous match with a last-minute winner from Amalie Vangsgaard and she almost repeated the trick with a late header that hit the post.

However, having clung on to win the game, England are now on the verge of qualification for the knockout stage. Had China failed to beat Haiti in the day’s second match they would be through, but a 1-0 win for the Chinese means England will face them in their final group game still needing a point to guarantee qualification.

The tournament has already produced several very tight games won by a single goal, although Germany beat Morocco 6-0 and Zambia lost their first two matches 5-0. This suggests the level of competition is high, although England will need to improve as the tournament goes on if they are to add to the silverware they collected at Wembley last year.