Day 9: Something is rotten in the game against Denmark
England’s second match is overshadowed by injury
England 1 - Denmark 0
England’s match against Denmark was overshadowed by the injury of Keira Walsh, substituted in the 36th minute with what looked like a serious knee problem, but they put themselves in a strong position to qualify from the group after holding on to win 1-0 against Denmark.
Prior to Walsh’s injury, England had begun the game looking like a totally different side to the one that had struggled against Haiti. Sarina Wiegman had made two changes ahead of the match with Rachel Daly coming in for Jess Carter to play at left-back as Alex Greenwood moved over to partner Millie Bright in midfield. Lauren James also came in for Lauren Hemp.
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It was James who lit this match up, scoring a fantastic curled strike from the edge of the area after only six minutes. Whilst many had suspected we might replace Ella Toone as the 10, James showed how she can offer something totally different to any of England’s other wingers out wide. The use of Daly behind her was key in order to still create width as James tucked inside.
As we can see from this attacking threat graphic, England’s control on the match changed when Walsh went off. They finished with 70% of the possession in the game but the concern will be how open they continue to look on quick transitional breaks. Lucy Bronze was able to get higher up the pitch with England seeming to be a lot less concerned about Denmark’s ability to counter-attack than they were against Haiti, but there were a number of moments when England lost the ball and were exposed.
One other concern from an England perspective will be their crossing. England have averaged 28.5 crosses per game in their first two World Cup matches against Haiti and Denmark. That is significantly higher than the 20.5 they averaged across their six matches at the Euros. Yet as we can see from this graphic, they are not doing it very well! Only three of their open play crosses against Denmark were successful. Clearly England are prioritising crosses as a way of attacking but they will need to be more precise if they are actually going to generate chances from them.
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