England‘s Nikita Parris and Ellen White scored first-half goals as the Lionesses defeated neighbours Scotland 2-1 on Sunday to make a strong start to their women’s World Cup campaign.
Phil Neville’s team emerged as early leaders of a difficult Group D after a fine attacking display against the debutants at Stade de Nice, with 2015 World Cup runners-up Japan playing their first game, against Argentina, on Monday.
England went 1-0 ahead in the 14th minute when striker Parris fired her penalty past goalkeeper Lee Alexander after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review had confirmed that forward Fran Kirby’s cross inside the box had hit defender Nicola Docherty’s arm.
They continued to trouble the Scottish defence and doubled their lead through Birmingham City forward White, who collected the ball at the edge of the penalty area and beat Alexander with a curled effort from her left foot in the 40th minute.
Scotland pulled back a goal in the second half as former Manchester City forward Claire Emslie took advantage of a rare defensive error by England skipper Steph Houghton to slot the ball past goalkeeper Karen Bardsley with 11 minutes to go.
The only worry for England on the day was a shoulder injury suffered by experienced defender Millie Bright who had to be substituted shortly after she landed awkwardly following a challenge on Erin Cuthbert.
England meet Argentina in their next match at Le Havre on Friday while Shelley Kerr’s Scotland take on world number seven Japan on the same day in Rennes.