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England Women vs Spain Women. Women's European Championship Group A.

Rat Verlegh Stadion.

England Women 2

    Spain Women 0

      England 2-0 Spain: Fran Kirby and Jodie Taylor score in determined win

      Oliver Young-Myles

      Monday 24 July 2017 10:06, UK

      England's Fran Kirby celebrates scoring her side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Women's Euro 2017, Group D match at Rat Verlegh Stadium, Breda
      Image: Fran Kirby celebrates opening the scoring for England

      England took a huge step towards qualifying for the Women's Euro 2017 knockout stages after beating Spain 2-0 in Breda.

      The Lionesses enjoyed a perfect start to the game as Fran Kirby raced through to score inside two minutes, and the win was sealed late on in the second half when Jodie Taylor netted her fourth of the tournament with a clever finish.

      Spain will feel aggrieved at not securing at least a point, though, particularly after appearing to have been awarded a penalty late on in the game, only to see the referee Carina Vitulano change her mind.

      Team news

      Mark Sampson named an unchanged team after England's 6-0 win against Scotland in their opening match.

      England will feel they were well worthy of the win after seeing a brilliant Millie Bright header ruled out for offside shortly after Kirby had opened the scoring.

      Having dismantled Scotland emphatically in their first game, England started brilliantly against their main rivals in Group D by taking the lead within two minutes.

      A slick, free-flowing passing move down the left flank carved the Spanish defence apart and Ellen White had the presence of mind to pick out Kirby who deceived Sandra Panos in goal by sliding the ball past her at the near post.

      England's Jodie Taylor celebrates scoring her side's second goal of the game during the UEFA Women's Euro 2017, Group D match at the Rat Verlegh Stadium, B
      Image: England's Jodie Taylor celebrates scoring her side's second goal of the game

      Just a few minutes later, England thought they had doubled their advantage as Bright rose highest to power a header into the top corner from Jordan Nobbs' delivery only to see her effort ruled out.

      More on this story

      Following a nightmare start, Spain dominated proceedings inside the rain-drenched Rat Verlegh but they struggled to create many opportunities until seemingly forcing a penalty with 15 minutes remaining.

      After a move broke down inside the area, White appeared to slice the ball onto her own arm and she was initially penalised by the referee before the official retracted her decision moments later.

      England's Ellen White (left) and Jade Moore (right) celebrate after the final whistle during the UEFA Women's Euro 2017, Group D match at the Rat Verlegh S
      Image: England's Ellen White and Jade Moore celebrate after the final whistle

      That moment proved to be a defining one as England capitalised upon a demoralised Spanish side by scoring the game's second goal, with Taylor continuing her good form by lifting the ball deftly over the onrushing Panos, after Nobbs' clever flick.

      Mark Sampson's side were certainly not as impressive with the ball as they were against Scotland, but showed true grit and determination to survive Spain's late pressure and secure a win that all but seals their place in the quarter-finals.

      Player of the match - Millie Bright

      England spent virtually the entire game doggedly defending their own area and nobody epitomised their determination more than Millie Bright, who alongside captain Steph Houghton, was a colossus in defence. She should have had a goal to her name too after seeing a header wrongly ruled out for offside.

      What's next?

      Sampson's side face Portugal in their final group game in Tilburg on Thursday, while Spain play Scotland in Deventer, with both games kicking off at 7.45pm. If England make it through to the knockout stages, they will play their quarter-final tie on Sunday.

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