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Women’s World Cup: England eke out another narrow win, China back in qualification picture

England’s unconvincing 2023 Women’s World Cup campaign continued with a hard-earned 1-0 win over Denmark on Friday.

Sarina Wiegman’s reigning European champions kicked things off in Group D with a 1-0 victory over tournament debutants Haiti, courtesy of Georgia Stanway’s first-half penalty.

Expectations were significantly higher, given the substantial gulf in class, but the Lionesses struggled for conviction against a resilient performance from the CONCACAF nation.

Friday’s encounter against Denmark always promised to be a sterner test for England, and they barely passed as Chelsea ace Lauren James slotted home a sixth-minute winner.

An early opener fired Wiegman’s side off to a perfect start, yet they had to work hard for another victory.

Despite eventually condemning the Red and White to a fourth consecutive Women’s World Cup loss to fellow UEFA rivals, England delivered another stuttering showing.

Regardless of all the trouble at the Sydney Football Stadium, they have put one foot in the round of 16, going into the final group-stage matchday looking on the rest from above.

Three points adrift of England, Denmark’s bid to secure a place in the Women’s World Cup knockout stage will rumble on to the final group fame when they encounter dead-last Haiti.

China’s narrow 1-0 triumph over Hait later today could still complicate Denmark’s life. There’s nothing but the Europeans’ superior head-to-head record to separate the sides ahead of the final day.

The Steel Roses eked out a precious victory to keep their hopes of maintaining a 100% progression ratio at the Women’s World Cup alive.

Zhang Rui’s expulsion midway through the first half left China’s effort to live up to their tag as pre-match favourites in tatters, but Wang Shuang’s 74th-minute penalty tipped the scales in their favour.

In Group G, Argentina and South Africa shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, with the South American nation overcoming a two-goal deficit to avoid defeat.

Argentina were two goals down heading into the final quarter of the game before a quick-fire double from Sophia Braun and Romina Nunez salvaged a point.

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