England Women got their Euro 2017 campaign off to the perfect start with a 6-0 victory over bitter rivals Scotland.
Scotland, making their tournament debut, were simply outclassed and outfought by a determined England side who are strong contenders to win the competition.
The Lionesses took the lead after 10 minutes thanks to a cool finish from Jodie Taylor, who got on the end of Fran Kirby’s through ball.
Taylor punished Scotland once again 16 minutes later when she converted from Jordan Nobbs’ free-kick to double the Lionesses’ advantage. The Scots were struggling to keep control of the ball for long periods with Mark Sampson’s side intent on pressuring their opponents and forcing them into mistakes.
Jill Scott’s long range effort was tipped onto the bar by Scotland keeper and captain, Gemma Fay. However, Ellen White was first to react and expertly slotted the rebound home to make it 3-0. The Birmingham City striker has now scored seven goals in nine games.
The Lionesses maintained their intensity in the second half. Eight minutes after the restart, it was 4-0 to England. Captain Steph Houghton’s free-kick was brilliantly flicked on by White. Taylor then timed her run to perfection as she dinked the ball over the keeper. Jodie Taylor becomes the first England Women player ever to score a hat-trick at a major tournament.
Scotland’s best chance of the game came in the 66th minute. Lana Clelland beat England’s Millie Bright but instead of squaring to Erin Cuthbert in the middle, she went alone and hit the side-netting.
Toni Duggan could have added to the scoreline but her effort was quickly thwarted by Fay and pushed out for a corner.
With three minutes remaining, vice-captain Jordan Nobbs capped her performance with a superb goal. Duggan got in on the act when she headed home with the final touch of the game to make it a stunning 6-0 victory for England.
For the first time since the 2005 Euros, England have won their opening game at a major tournament. And what an emphatic win it was. Scotland were given a harsh introduction to their first Euro tournament and will learn plenty of lessons from their drubbing at the hands of bitter rivals England. Three points, a clean sheet and an excellent team performance. This was also a record win for England as it is their largest ever margin of victory at a major tournament. It’s not hard to see why Mark Sampson and his Lionesses are strong contenders to win Euro 2017.
England Starting XI: Bardsley, Bronze, Houghton, Bright, Stokes, Moore, Scott, Nobbs, Kirby (Parris 65), White (Carney 74), Taylor (Duggan 59)
Unused substitutes: Potter, Christiansen, Williams, Stoney, Chamberlain, Bassett, Greenwood, Telford, Scott
Scotland Starting XI: Fay, Brown, Dieke, Barsley, Arthur, Corsie (Love 76), Evans, Weir, Crichton, Brown (Clelland 45), Ross (Cuthbert 63)
Unused substitutes: Murray, Ross, Lauder, Lynn, Howard, Murray, McLauchlan, Smith, Alexander