James on fire as England hit China for six

Danes ease past Haiti to set up meeting with hosts Australia

England's Chloe Kelly celebrates scoring their fifth goal with Lauren James.
England's Chloe Kelly celebrates scoring their fifth goal with Lauren James.
Image: Reuters/Hannah Mckay

Adelaide - England's Lauren James was left beaming with pride after powering her side to a 6-1 win over China with two goals and three assists, and only a VAR review prevented her from completing a brilliant Women's World Cup hat-trick.

"Again, another day of what dreams are made of," James said as she left the field. "I'm happy for the team and everyone's buzzing. And yeah, we're looking forward to going into the next round."

The 21-year-old had already teed up Alessia Russo and Lauren Hemp before scoring herself to make it 3-0 as halftime approached, and she thought she had made it four with a superb shot into the top corner.

However, after a VAR review Lucy Bronze was found to be offside in the build-up, and the goal was chalked off.

"Yeah, I was disappointed in the moment obviously, but that's football for you, and in the moment I just had to refocus for the game to continue," James told a press conference.

Undeterred, she struck again in the 65th minute and set up Chloe Kelly for England's fifth in a rout that sees them sail through the group stage with three victories to top Group D and sets up a last-16 clash with Nigeria in Brisbane on Monday.

"I think I'm just playing with freedom, feeling myself and just enjoying my football. I think tonight showed that, and so did the last game, and hopefully I can just continue doing that and take it into the next round," James added.

True to form, England coach Sarina Wiegman gently steered the discussion away from James's individual brilliance and back to the collective performance."I think you could see it from the whole team, that we were enjoying ourselves, you could tell that we were really connected," Wiegman told reporters."

Meanwhile, Denmark captain Pernille Harder converted a first-half penalty to register her maiden World Cup goal, setting up a 2-0 victory over Haiti and a spot for her side in the last 16.

The result ends a long drought for the Danes, who last advanced to the knockout stage in 1995. After defeating China, England topped Group D and face Nigeria on Monday, while runners-up Denmark meet Australia in Sydney.

- Reuters

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.