Late Clarke strike gives England hope
New Zealand 1 England 2
Saturday 02 July 2011
Hope Powell cut a relieved figure last night as her England team, having performing poorly in the first hour of their second group match, came from behind to put themselves within touching distance of a place in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Following a 1-1 draw with Mexico in their opening group game, they went behind in Dresden to an 18th-minute Sarah Gregorius goal and their prospects were looking grim until the midfielder Jill Scott equalised in the 63rd minute. They had been in control for much of the second period, however, and the substitute Jess Clarke's 81st-minute victory clincher was deserved after a determined fight-back.
The result at the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion, combined with Mexico's 4-0 defeat by Japan in Leverkusen yesterday, means that a five-goal swing is needed if the Mexicans are to edge past England. That's an unlikely scenario, but Powell is taking nothing for granted.
"We haven't got out of the group by any stretch of the imagination," she insisted. "We enjoy making these tournaments hard work. Credit to New Zealand, they really put us on the back foot and we struggled in the first half, but I think we had most of the opportunities and play.
"We haven't quite hit that mark yet, though. I'm hoping today's result might give us some confidence, but there's lots of room for improvement – I know that and the players know that."
Hesitant defending led to New Zealand's goal, Gregorius squeezing between two players to stab the ball over the line. And if Gregorius had not stumbled when clear seven minutes before the interval, England would have been in desperate trouble.
They showed a marked improvement after the break, however, and after Jill Scott had neatly glanced home, Clarke hit an eight-yard drive into the roof of the net to clinch victory. England now face Japan. Powell said: "We are expected to get out of the group but we are not quite there yet. We've got another game to go, and it's going to be a tough game."
New Zealand (4-1-3-2): Bindon; Riley, R. Smith, Erceg, Green; Hoyle; Percival (R. White, 72), Hassett, Bowen (Morwood, 46); Gregorius (Wilkinson, 90), Hearn. Substitutes not used Moorwood, Yallop, R. White, McLaughlin, Kete, Longo, Hill, Clansey, Nayler.
England (4-2-3-1): Bardsley (New Jersey Sky Blue); A Scott (Boston Breakers), F White (Arsenal) (Bradley, 85), Stoney (Lincoln) Unitt (Everton); J Scott (Everton), Williams (Everton); Aluko (New Jersey Sky Blue) (Carney, 46), K Smith (Boston Breakers), Yankey (Arsenal) (Clarke, 65); E White (Arsenal). Substitutes not used: Brown (Everton), Houghton (Arsenal), Bassett (Birmingham), Asante (New Jersey Sky Blue), Susi (Birmingham City), Rafferty (Chelsea), Chamberlain (Bristol Academy).
Referee: T Neguel (Cameroon).
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Follow the latest news and score as Chelsea take on Maribor at Stamford Bridge.
Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
Latest in Sport
Luis Suarez: Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
Angel Di Maria injury: Manchester United sweat over fitness of record signing as he is in danger of missing Chelsea clash
Adel Taraabt criticism from QPR boss Harry Redknapp sparked by player walking out of team meeting prior to Liverpool game
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters