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England are struggling, with easy opening wins for the USA and Japan

England are struggling, with easy opening wins for the USA and Japan

Defending champions USA claimed the hat-trick trophy with a 3-0 win over outsiders Vietnam. Sophia Smith, tournament winner for the 2015 and 2019 world champions, scored twice in the first half.

The effect would have been far greater had the oppressive Americans not ultimately sinned so much. Just before the break, Alex Morgan missed a penalty chance. It was the sixth penalty in six games since the start of the World Cup, only two of which – including Ramona Bachmann’s penalty in Switzerland’s 2-0 win over the Philippines – were converted in those games.

Thanks, among other things, to a penalty taken in extra time, Japan also secured an unchallenged victory in the first game. 5-0 win over 2011 world champions Zambia and lead Group C ahead of Spain (3-0 against Costa Rica on Friday).

England with difficulty

The European champions from England secured a hard-fought 1-0 win over Haiti in the third match between a newcomer and a veteran at the World Cup. In the closing stages, England goalkeeper Mary Earps prevented a potential equalizer with a brilliant save, thus getting Group D off to a false start.

Georgia Stanway scored the winning goal at the second attempt after half an hour with a handball penalty – which further improved the score for the Shooters. The Bayern Munich midfielder’s first attempt was saved by Haiti goalkeeper Kerli Theus, but he was forced to retake the penalty as he crossed the goal-line too early.

The second match of Group D between Denmark and China also ended 1-0. Amalie Wangsgaard scored the winning goal in the 90th minute with a header from 13 yards following a Harder corner in Bern. This is Denmark’s only shot at a designated fight for second place behind favorites England.

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