England 6 Argentina 1: England safely in last eight as Smith smashes double

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The Independent Football

Hope Powell congratulated her England players on staying focused after they earned a quarter-final place in the women's World Cup with a 6-1 win over Argentina here yesterday.

Powell's side were favourites to beat the South Americans, especially as the Argentines had lost 11-0 to Germany earlier in the competition, but she said: "It's very easy when you come into a game like this, when you're expected to win, to think further into the tournament. So the clear message to the players was to keep their concentration and stay focused, and credit to them – it was a job well done."

The Arsenal striker Kelly Smith scored twice as England claimed a comfortable win against an Argentina side who played most of the second half with 10 players after having central defender Catalina Perez sent off. "We're two games away from the World Cup final," Smith said. "Sounds good, doesn't it?"

Her two goals took her tournament tally to four, level in the Golden Boot race with Germany's Birgit Prinz and Marta of Brazil.

Germany finished the group stage with seven points, after they beat Japan yesterday, followed by England with five, Japan with four and Argentina with none.

As well as Smith's two goals, there were one each from Fara Williams, Jill Scott and Vicky Exley plus an early own goal, which was a gift from the Argentina captain Eva Gonzalez who, under no pressure at all, headed a cross from the left-back Casey Stoney into her own net. It set Powell's team on their way to reaching the last eight of a major tournament for the first time since the 1995 World Cup finals.

The second goal in the 10th minute was as bizarre as the first. The Everton midfielder Scott challenged Perez 25 yards from the Argentina goal and the ball flew off Scott's right boot to creep under the body of goalkeeper Romina Ferro.

Five minutes after the break victory was virtually assured when Perez, booked for encroachment in the first half, saw red for a foul on Smith and Williams coolly slid home the resulting penalty.

Argentina pulled back a goal through a 20-yard free-kick by Gonzalez on the hour, and two minutes later England took a more severe blow when Williams was booked for the second time in successive games and so will be suspended for the quarter-final.

But two minutes later the celebrations began in earnest as Smith flicked the ball in from a Rachael Yankey cross for the fourth goal. Smith doubled her tally in the 76th minute, ramming home the loose ball after Ferro failed to hold Yankey's shot. Exley completed the scoring from a last-minute penalty after her fellow substitute Jody Handley had been brought down by Gonzalez.

Powell, who played in the 1995 team who reached the World Cup quarter-final s, was delighted for her team. "I can't remember much as a player," she said. "I'm just really happy for the players, all the staff. It's been a very, very long journey."

Germany beat Japan 2-0 in Hangzhou, with Prinz scoring the opening goal to give her a record 13 World Cup strikes, overtaking the total of the American Michelle Ackers.

Goals: Gonzalez og (1-0) 9; J Scott (2-0) 10; Williams pen (3-0) 50; Gonzalez (3-1) 60; K Smith (4-1) 64; K Smith (5-1) 77; Exley pen (6-1) 90.

England: Brown; A Scott (S Smith, 68), Stoney, Phillip, Asante; White, Williams, K Smith (Exley, 79), J Scott, Yankey; Aluko (Handley, 79). Substitutes not used: Chamberlain, Carney, Unitt, Sanderson,

Johnson, Telford, Chapman.

Argentina: Ferro; Gonzalez, Chavez, Huber (Cotelo, 51), Perez; Quinones (Mendieta, 76), Mandrile, Vallejos, Potassa; Almeida (Gatti, 62), Pereyra. Substitutes not used: Correa, Brusca, Barbitta, Manciler, Gomez, Minnig, Ojeda.

Referee: D Ferreira-James (Guyana).

Booked: England A Scott, Williams. Argentina Perez, Gonzalez.

Sent off: Perez (49).