England Stays Perfect in Group Stage with 2-1 Win over Portugal

Close-up of England's huddle.

A much-changed England side made it three wins out of three with a narrow 2-1 win over Portugal, ensuring they will face rivals France in Deventer on Sunday night.

The result also ensured the Lionesses became the first side, male or female, to progress from a group with maximum points since 1982.

Goals from Toni Duggan and Nikita Parris either side of the break meant Carolina Mendes’s equalizer was nothing more than a brief scare.

With Spain losing to Scotland, a point would have been enough for Francisco Neto’s side to spring a surprise by making the quarterfinals, but Parris saw to that.

Mark Sampson made 10 changes to the team that beat both Scotland and Spain; only Chelsea’s Millie Bright kept her spot.

Laura Bassett captained her country for only the third time in what was a rare appearance for the 33-year-old in 2017.

But it was Duggan, making her 50th cap for her country, who opened the scoring in typically early fashion for England.

With just seven minutes on the clock, a dreadful clearance from Portugal goalkeeper Morais found Duggan. The striker doing the rest with a neat lob over the flailing Morais.

Neto’s team didn’t take it lying down though. England looked rusty with so many players making their tournament bows, and the minnows were level within 10 minutes.

Diana Silva got in behind England’s defense, and while the winger saw her initial cross blocked by Bassett, the ball found its way back to her and allowed Silva to pick out Mendes for the equalizer.

It was the attacker’s second goal in two games, and it could have been her third had she made connection with another Silva cross just minutes later.

The Lionesses needed a spark, but it wasn’t forthcoming. Sampson’s side struggled for creativity up front as the new-look attack struggled to click into gear.

But wherever the manager said at halftime had the desired impact as England once again struck early on when Parris found her way past two defenders after being laid off by Manchester City teammate Izzy Christiansen.

It was the 23-year-old’s first major tournament goal in just her second appearance, and it was the breathing space England required to control the second half.

Few chances arrived for either side as Sampson looked to shut down the match with the introductions of Jo Potter and Demi Stokes, while Neto withdrew both Silva and Mendes in the second half.

Although far from England’s best performance under Sampson, it was enough to secure their 100 percent record so far and book themselves a spot against France in the quarterfinals.

It will be the fourth time in four tournaments the two sides have met, England not having beat their rivals since 1974.


Referee: Kateryna Monzul (Ukraine)

Attendance: 3,335


Portugal (4-3-3):
Morais; Borges, Rebelo, C. Costa, D. Silva; T. Pinto, Antunes, Pires (Da Costa 80); C. Mendes (Leite 64), Neto, D. Silva (Luis 87)

Unused subs: Marreiros, R. Costa, M. Mendes, Infante, Fidalgo, Norton, F. Pinto, Marques, D. Gomes

England (4-2-3-1)
Chamberlain; A.Scott, Bassett, Bright (Nobbs 60), Greenwood; Potter, Williams; Carney, Duggan (Stokes 81), Christiansen; Parris

Unused subs: Bardsley, Telford, Bronze, Houghton, Stoney, Stokes, Moore, J. Scott, White, Kirby, Taylor