Kirby and Taylor send England to brink of the knock-out stages of Euro 2017 but Scotland are beaten by Portugal

Kirby and Taylor send England to brink of the knock-out stages of Euro 2017 but Scotland are beaten by Portugal

23 July 2017 / 20:40
Fran Kirby and Jodie Taylor put England on the brink of a quarter-final spot at Euro 2017 after a hard-earned 2-0 win against Spain in the Netherlands.

And the result kept alive Scotland's hopes of progressing after they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Portugal. 

For England, Kriby pounced on a Ellen White pass and slotted England into a two-minute lead but, unlike in their 6-0 win against Scotland on Wednesday, they struggled to push on and spent much of the match defending against a dangerous Spanish side.

However, Taylor, who scored a hat-trick against the Scots, buried a late chance to ease the pressure and maintain the Lionesses 100 per cent winning start.

Now, all they need is a point against Portugal on Thursday to book a last eight spot.

Boss Mark Sampson unsurprisingly named the same side which beat Scotland and it paid dividends straight away as White picked up a loose ball 40 yards from goal and slipped Kirby through.

The Chelsea forward was ice-cool and slipped the ball into the net to send the thousands of England fans wild.

Spain applied plenty of pressure and had a late penalty shout for handball turned down, but Taylor made them pay for failing to turn pressure into goals with a neat chip from close range.

England boss Sampson said: "It's a huge result.

"We'll look back and say this was a big moment for us. We had to find a way to win, and that's exactly what we did.

"We knew we needed a win to top the group, and that's a big one for us.

"I can't remember Karen Bardsley having to make a save.

"We'd have liked to have more of the ball. But in the second half we got up to the ball quicker and got a bit more territory.

"We've got lessons to learn and we'll be better for Portugal. We'll get back, dry off and then think about Portugal.

"I'm delighted for Fran (Kirby) to get off the mark for this tournament and (Jodie) Taylor is obviously on fire as well."

Meanwhile, Anna Signeul’s Scotland suffered their second defeat in two games after going down 2-1 to Portugal in Rotterdam.

Carolina Mendes pounced from eight yards minutes before the break after Vaila Barsley’s slip, but substitute Erin Cuthbert levelled for Scotland midway through the second period with a tidy finish.

However, Ana Leite slotted home from 12 yards to give Portugal their first win at a European championships.

It was harsh on Scotland, who hit the woodwork twice – Lana Clelland’s first-half effort clipping the upright and Caroline Weir’s powerful strike cannoning back off the post five minutes from time. 

And Signeul was left to rue the marginal moments which went against the team in blue, who could easily have won the game on another day.

“I think we definitely deserved something better than we got," she said. "We should have been up 2-0 in the first half, but unfortunately we couldn’t put the ball in the net.  

“It was an unlucky first goal against us too, which put us on the back foot in the game. It’s always important in these games to score the first goal. 

“However, I must say, I am proud of the players in trying to overcome not having the marginals on our side, which we haven’t had since we qualified.”

Sportsbeat 2017

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