England belatedly kick-started their 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ campaign with a hard-won 2-1 victory over Mexico in Moncton.
The Three Lionesses desperately needed all three points after opening with an uninspired 1-0 loss to France, while Mexico held a slim advantage over their rivals following a 1-1 stalemate against Colombia. England held a slight edge over Mexico in the opening half but it wasn’t until the final 20 minutes that the Europeans finally wrestled control thanks to a goal from the impressive Fran Kirby, with substitute Karen Carney adding insurance.
There were first-half efforts from Kirby, Toni Duggan and Eniola Aluko with the latter notably clipping the crossbar a minute prior to the break. Mexico rarely threatened the England goal although dead-ball specialist Monica Ocampo did see her dangerous inswinging corner pushed onto the crossbar by goalkeeper Karen Bardsley.
With 19 minutes remaining Kirby deftly made the most of a half chance on the edge of the penalty area to finish cleverly for England’s first goal of the campaign. Eleven minutes later Carney nodded home an Alex Greenwood cross as England’s confidence soared.
However, Mexico are renowned for their fighting spirit and Fabiola Ibarra pulled a goal back during stoppage time after Bardsley spilled a Charlyn Corral strike.* *
Live Your Goals Players of the Match: Fran Kirby (England)