Match report as Lauren James scored twice and assisted three other England goals; Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly were also on the scoresheet; Shanshan Wang scored second-half penalty for China; England will play Nigeria in their last-16 game on Monday
Lauren James had a hand in all-but one England goal as the Lionesses secured top spot in Women’s World Cup Group D with a 6-1 win over China to set up a last-16 meeting with Nigeria.
All eyes were on Sarina Wiegman’s XI as England looked to adapt to the loss of the injured Keira Walsh in midfield. The team left many wondering how they would line up, but as the game kicked off it transpired that Wiegman’s 4-3-3 was out in favour of 3-5-2.
Despite there being more defensive reinforcements on the pitch to mitigate Walsh’s absence, England produced their most free-flowing and free-scoring performance at the tournament so far with James at the heart.
She provided both balls for the opening goals from Alessia Russo (4) and Lauren Hemp (26), before scoring another stunning effort herself (41) to see the Lionesses cruise into a 3-0 first-half lead.
It could have been four before the break too but James’ second equally as impressive strike was ruled out by VAR for offside against Lucy Bronze.
Perhaps the only blot on England’s evening in Adelaide was conceding their first goal of the tournament. China were awarded a penalty after Bronze was penalised by VAR once again, this time for handball. Shanshan Wang dispatched from the spot as it looked like the Chinese were starting to find their feet – but that did not last long.
Another moment of quality from James (65) restored a three-goal lead for England, before a long pass from the forward was misread by China goalkeeper Yu Zhu, allowing Chloe Kelly (77) to score into an open net.