England players celebrate a goal against China

Reds trio help England advance at World Cup

Tuesday 01 August 2023 14:16

Our trio of Manchester United players were involved as England cruised to the Women's World Cup knockout stage with a convincing 6-1 victory over China.

After being an unused substitute in the first two group games, Katie Zelem made her first appearance of the tournament and her first-ever England start on the occasion of her ninth cap.

Wearing no.20, the midfielder was effective in the engine room as part of a fluid team display and some of her deliveries from corners caused problems for China.

Zelem was effective with her corner-kick deliveries for England.

Mary Earps made key contributions in England’s back-to-back 1-0 wins over Haiti and Denmark, but she had little to do as the Lionesses were in complete control for long periods at the Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide.

The Reds keeper did well to get down low and tip Wu Chengshu's long-range effort wide in the 52nd minute.

But just five minutes later, she had to pick the ball out of the net for the first time at the tournament as Wang Shuang converted a penalty for China, after the referee penalised Lucy Bronze for handball following a pitchside review.

Earps proved her concentration levels were still high late in the game as she was at full stretch to parry away Yao Lingwei’s curling effort.

After starting the first two matches, United’s Ella Toone was a substitute on this occasion in Australia and came on for the final 10 minutes in place of her former United team-mate Lauren James.

The forward, who is now at Chelsea, was the undisputed star of the show, scoring two sublime goals herself and setting up three others for Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly.

James - who netted the winner in their previous outing against Denmark - also had another sensational strike ruled out in first-half stoppage time after Bronze was adjudged to be interfering when coming back from an offside position in the build-up.

Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly smashed home England’s sixth goal from close range in the 84th minute as the Lionesses dominated.

England, who only needed a point to top the group, now advance as Group D winners with three wins out of three and will face Nigeria in the round of 16 in Brisbane on Monday (08:30 BST).


As we approach the knockout stage of the tournament, Vilde Boe Risa could be involved again for Norway when they face Japan on Saturday (kick-off 09:00 BST) in their last-16 clash.


Don’t forget, you can watch our women’s team, including our World Cup stars, next season. Get your season ticket for 2023/24 now.