Digital Football Journalist @ronnabe
England Women 1-0 Argentina Women: Jodie Taylor guarantees Lionesses' path to last 16
Last Updated: 15/06/19 7:02am
Jodie Taylor's close-range finish gave England Women a 1-0 win over Argentina to seal their place in the World Cup last 16.
With the hour mark approaching, Phil Neville's side had nothing to show for their dominance in Le Havre after wasting numerous chances, none bigger than Nikita Parris' missed penalty before the break.
Argentina had defended stoutly, as they had against Japan in their opening game, but England finally produced a chance they could not miss in the 61st minute when a counter found Beth Mead on the left, and her excellent low cross beat both centre-backs allowing Taylor forward to tap in.
Jill Scott should have doubled the lead soon after but headed Alex Greenwood's delivery over, before England saw the match out with relative ease to leave them needing just a point in their final game with Japan, next Wednesday, to top Group D.
Straight from kick off, England looked to dominate against a defensive Argentina side, but while their build-up was much improved from their shaky win over Scotland last Sunday, their final ball was still lacking.
Lucy Bronze's pinpoint cross from the right was headed straight at Correa by Scott in one fine move, but their biggest missed opportunity would come from the penalty spot.
Greenwood was scythed down by Linda Bravo from Mead's reverse ball and after a moment's thought Liang Qin pointed to the spot. But the referee's determination to avoid encroachment would leave Parris waiting more than a minute to take the penalty, and her low strike was then kept out with a excellent save from Correa.
Manager Neville said at the interval England needed to be patient and they continued in the same vein after the break, with Correa continuing her rivalry with Parris to keep out the Lyon winger's half-volley from 12 yards through another stunning stop.
Taylor then conspired to head straight at the Argentina goalkeeper from close-range as Parris turned provider, but she put that missed opportunity to the back of her mind moments later with the opener.
Argentina were made to regret a rare decision to commit players forward as England swept through midfield, reaching Greenwood on the left and then Mead, whose arching low ball from just inside the area found Taylor, who could not miss.
Scott's header should have put the result beyond doubt but bar a couple of defensive mishaps, which were comfortably dealt with, England were untroubled across the 90 minutes and deservedly booked their place in the last 16.
England will top Group D should they secure at least a point against Japan on Wednesday, in a rematch of their 2015 semi-final. Whoever wins the group looks likely to play one of Chile, New Zealand or China in the last 16.