Japan 0 England 2: White double seals top spot

Ellen White's brace earned England a 2-0 win over Japan to maintain their 100 per cent record at the Women's World Cup.

England finished top of Group D at the Women's World Cup with a 2-0 win over Japan secured thanks to Ellen White's double.

The Lionesses lost to Japan in the last World Cup's semi-final stage, but they gained a measure of revenge with a battling victory in Nice on Wednesday.

With Phil Neville making eight changes to his side with an eye on the knockout rounds to come, White's goals were enough to ensure England finished with three wins from three.

White opened the scoring with a deft strike and she struck again late on to settle matters, but Japan had also already qualified and they go through in second place.

Karen Bardsley made a sensational save high to her right to push away Kumi Yokoyama's long-range free-kick, then England opened the scoring in the 14th minute.

Georgia Stanway's perfectly timed throughball put White in on goal and she beat Ayaka Yamashita with a clever chipped finish to net her second goal of the tournament.

England were close to doubling their lead in the 59th minute, but Yamashita was sharp to keep out Toni Duggan's volleyed effort that came at the end of a sweeping team move.

Japan were threatening at the other end, with Yuika Sugasawa denied the chance to test the well-protected Bardsley by a last-gasp challenge from England skipper Steph Houghton before the substitute striker toed wide Aya Sameshima's cross.

And White made sure of the points with six minutes to go, again timing her run well to meet Karen Carney's pass and firing a placed effort inside Yamashita's near post.

England now wait to see who they will face in Sunday's last-16 game while Japan will take on Group E's winners, who will be either Canada or Netherlands.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- England, who now progress as Group D winners, have won all three of their group stages matches at the Women's World Cup for the very first time.
- England have now won each of their five final group stage games at the Women's World Cup – the Lionesses are the only side to have played at multiple tournaments and maintain such a 100 per cent win ratio.
- Japan have lost a group stage match at the Women's World Cup for the first time in six games, since they also lost to England (2-0 in 2011).
- Only Fara Williams (five) has netted more Women's World Cup goals for England than White, whose second goal against Japan was her fourth for the Lionesses in the competition.
- Jill Scott equalled Peter Shilton's record for the most appearances by an England player in FIFA World Cup matches (17).