74 mins: A couple of lovely touches from Argentina, before the pass through to Jaimes is overhit. There have been a couple of moments in this second half when they have caused England’s defence some vague concern, even if they haven’t had any kind of possession inside the English penalty area.
72 mins: Excellent chance for England! Parris’s cross is headed out to Greenwood, and her centre is an absolute beauty, curling onto Scott’s forehead, but from eight yards she heads high!
70 mins: They try something from the training ground that involves a short pass to Kirby, but mess it up pretty badly and give Argentina a good chance to break, which is not taken.
69 mins: Barroso is booked for quite a nasty foul on, I think, Mead. Steph Houghton stands over the free-kick, 30 yards from goal.
68 mins: Argentina’s first substitution sees Banini go off, and Mariana Larroquette come on.
66 mins: Mead spins and beats two defenders with some nice skill on the left, but her driven cross is deflected behind from a corner, from which nothing arises.
65 mins: England do win a corner, though, and from it Scott heads over the bar when well placed.
64 mins: Parris goes down on the edge of the area, but the referee is unmoved. Parris has also had two loud corner appeals ignored this half, and is starting to look a little stroppy.
GOAL! England 1-0 Argentina (Taylor, 61 mins)
The breakthrough! Argentina push forward for a change, but when they lose the ball England break fast and in numbers. Mead gets it on the left and her first-time cross is low and precise; Correa is stranded at the near post and Taylor turns it into an empty net!
59 mins: “According to Jonathan Pearce on BBC ‘The goalkeeper’s in electrical form.’” reports Paul Thompson. But what electrical? Perhaps a washing machine: quite good at securing clean sheets.
56 mins: Another save! This time Parris’s cross is quick and perfectly tailored for, er, Taylor, but her header is again down the middle, and Correa stops it!
52 mins: There’s then a delay while the VAR checks to see if England should have another penalty, this time for handball. Felix Zwayer, the VAR in question, eventually decides that they shouldn’t.
51 mins: Another fantastic save from Correa! England win a free-kick on the left, which is crossed to the far post, half-cleared and drops to Parris. She half-volleys a vicious shot goalwards, and though it was straight down the middle it came through a thicket of players, and Correa did well to beat it away.
60 mins: “Goalkeeping has been top notch at this World Cup,” says Lisa Diedrich. “Correa’s penalty save & kick save on Mead’s shot were excellent & keep Argentina in the match. But England are not quite clicking on all cylinders. Decision making in final third not great.” As if to prove her point, Parris overcomplicates on the right side of the area, and loses the ball.
49 mins: A brief moment of danger for England after a long ball over the defence finds Jaimes running clear, but she’s eventually dispossessed, and was anyway offside.
47 mins: Parris beats Stabile on the right again, and her cross floats over Correa but also over Mead, lands a yard from the back post and bounces to safety.
The players are back out and ready for more. Deep breath now …
Phil Neville has a very brief half-time chat:
We knew before the game it was going to be difficult. We just need to keep our discipline. At the moment it is an attack v defence session. If we stick to what we said before the game then we’ll be OK.
Half-time reading: here are some reports on today’s other matches. I don’t think Scotland, whose future in this tournament now depends on them giving Argentina a bit of a thumping in their final group game, will be enjoying what they’re seeing tonight:
Watching a replay of the penalty, it looks very much like Taylor’s attempt to turn-in the follow-up was spoiled by Cometti’s massive shove in her back. That could easily have been a post-penalty penalty, I think.
Half time: England 0-0 Argentina
45+3 mins: And that’s it for now! England have been significantly superior and have had two fabulous chances, but Vanina Correa in the Argentina goal has not yet been beaten.
45+2 mins: Nothing comes of the corner, and Argentina break. Moore is booked for pulling back Jaimes, though it looked more of a blame-sharing defensive sandwich to me.
45+1 mins: There will be about two minutes of stoppage time, and it’ll start with an England corner.
43 mins: Sachs, I think, just took a hilariously bad throw-in. The ball must have slipped out of her hands before it was supposed to, and thus looped high into the air before dropping onto an English head.
41 mins: What a chance for England! Sachs’ rubbish clearance is intercepted by Kirby, who instantly frees Mead. She runs into the penalty area, with just the goalkeeper to beat, and Correa keeps out her low, hard shot towards the far post!
40 mins: Chaost from the free-kick! Meads sends it in, Scott hooks it goalwards and it rolls to Taylor, who can’t turn it in and is anyway is offside.
39 mins: Bronze, on the right, takes a touch past Cometti and is prevented from running free towards the byline by a fairly cynical tug. Cometti gets a booking, England have a free-kick.
38 mins: A shooting chance for England, but Mead lifts it over the bar from 22 yards. There remains a sense of imminent goalness about proceedings.
35 mins: Beth Mead keeps getting into good positions, finding herself with one defender between her and a genuine goal-threatening position, taking them on and failing.
32 mins: A couple of over-exuberant challenges are flying in here, from England players. Scott slides in to dispossess Banini; she probably got the ball first, but it was unnecessary contactful, I’d say.
30 mins: Not a great penalty, in short, but still a first-rate save. Correa celebrates like she’d just curled the ball into the top corner from 40 yards, as well she might.
Correa saves the penalty!
It’s a safe penalty, sidefooted by Parris to her right at ideal saving height. Correa flings herself the right way and at full stretch diverts it onto the post! It rolls clear and Taylor is first to it, and she skews her effort well wide!
Penalty to England!
27 mins: That’s a lovely, lovely move from England. It ends with Mead playing the ball back to Greenwood, who is brought down from behind by Bravo!
23 mins: Another foul on the flanks, Bonsegundo clipping Mead. From the set piece England use a prepared routine, which ends with Cometti sliding the ball just wide of her own post.
21 mins: England are certainly dominating this match, but are yet to fashion a genuine chance. “The English full-backs are super fun to watch in this match,” writes Josh Reynolds. “I suppose the term is ‘marauding’?” That’s probably the one. Lucy Bronze certainly marauds.
18 mins: Gentile gives the ball away and England attack excellently. They have four players running unmarked into the area, with the four defenders all six yards in front of them, but Scott’s centre is poor, deflects off the nearest Argentinian and rolls to Correa.
16 mins: Houghton has an optimistic shot from a free-kick a good 30 yards from goal, which soars way over the bar.
14 mins: Gentile slides in on Bronze, giving away a free-kick. “Is the ‘21st Club’ statistician suggesting that Luton Town would have an 11% chance of beating Barcelona?” asks Mac Millings. “I ask purely as an interested observer, and certainly not as a highly amused Watford supporter.”
13 mins: There is always an English player in space on the wing. They build up through midfield, with Mead hanging around on her own on the left. Eventually however they go right to Bronze, whose cross finds Scott, whose header is too close to Correa.
10 mins: Argentina win a free-kick on the halfway line and take a ludicrous amount of time over getting the ball into position and taking it. England point a bit and look grumpy.
8 mins: Another run from Mead, who this time beats Sachs for pace, bursts into the area and then completely miskicks when she attempts to centre, and both she and the ball end up out of play.
7 mins: An excellent long pass from Moore finds Mead on the left, who turns Sachs, turns her again, and then loses the ball as she keeps trying to beat her without ever really doing anything else.
3 mins: Another Parris run and cross. Stabile hasn’t handled her at all well so far, and looks set for a difficult evening at left-back.
1 min: England, wearing a very fine shade of dark red, get the game started and within 30 seconds Parris crosses from the right and Bronze flings herself at the ball at the near post, collides with Barroso and the ball hits her in the face and rolls wide.
Halfway through the Argentinian anthem the mascots decide that it’s probably finished and run away.
“That sure is a luxurious spread in the England dressing room. (Two varieties of fizzy energy drink?!) I can’t imagine that the Argentina one is nearly as well-stocked. It’s clearly the Le Havres versus the Le Havre-nots,” writes Peter Oh, who adds: “Given the glaring gap in resources and quality between these two sides, are you sure Neville didn’t actually say ‘We’re under no illusions that it’s going to be a tough game’?”
I thought that was an important comma.
The teams are out and ready for the anthems. Meanwhile, a statistician writes:
Argentina are expected to park the proverbial bus, much as they did against Japan in their opening game, when they had 39% of possession, performed 28 tackles to Japan’s 14, did 35 clearances to Japan’s 10, completed 166 passes to Japan’s 583, and still drew 0-0 (Japan only had three shots on target).
Here are Phil Neville’s pre-match ponderings:
We wanted to freshen it up a little bit. We’ve freshened it up down the side, and brought in players who are in good form and fit the profile of the game. I thought they were fantastic against Japan. We’ll have to break down a resolute, determined, spirited team who have got some good players up front as well. We’re under no illusions, it’s going to be a tough game.
Just half an hour to go until kick-off. Here’s some more pre-match reading for you:
England make four changes to the team that beat Scotland 2-1 on Sunday. Ellen White, who scored in that game, is replaced by Jodie Taylor and goalkeeper Karen Bardsley is bumped out while Carly Telford comes in. The other changes see Jade Moore and Abbie McManus replace Keira Walsh and Millie Bright.
A peek inside the England dressing-room. Looks like a well-stocked table, that.
England: Telford, Bronze, Houghton, McManus, Greenwood, Mead, Moore, Scott, Kirby, Taylor, Parris. Subs: Bardsley, Walsh, Bright, Stokes, Williamson, Daly, White, Stanway, Carney, Staniforth, Duggan, Earps.
Argentina: Correa, Sachs, Barroso, Cometti, Stabile, Bravo, Mayorga, Benitez, Banini, Bonsegundo, Jaimes. Subs: Santana, Oviedo, Garton, Gomez, Potassa, Coronel, Chavez, Larroquette, Ippolito, Juncos, Menendez, Pereyra.
Referee: Qin Liang (China).
Further reading while we wait for the teams: today’s Fiver is entirely this-game-centric:
England and Argentina in the World Cup. It’s a fixture heavy with history – 1966, 1998, 2002 – but the women have only played once before, at the 2007 World Cup, when the Lionesses won 6-1. Another one-sided game might be anticipated – Argentina are ranked 37th in the world by Fifa while England sit third, and Argentina only qualified thanks to an admittedly resounding play-off win against Panama – but Argentina drew 0-0 with seventh-placed Japan in their first game and their coach, Carlos Borrello, has declared that the result “has really changed the dynamic” within their squad. “If we can even get one point, or even three, it would be welcome,” he says of this game. “We came to try. England is a great team, we know this. But we also have things up our sleeve, we have passion, and we are going to give it our all.”
“I think everyone in this tournament is here on merit and we definitely do not underestimate any team,” the England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley said. “I think we’re very much prepared for anything that could happen. We have to treat it as if we are going to play a top nation. We have to be extremely respectful of what could potentially happen.”
If England win tonight they will secure qualification from Group D with a game to spare, though that would not mean that they can relax: Japan beat Scotland in Rennes earlier today, meaning that the identity of the group winners, who have a handy draw in the round of 16 against one of the third-placed sides (while the runners-up will play the winners of Group E, which features two of Fifa’s top-eight teams, Canada and Vivianne Miedema’s Netherlands) would be decided in the final fixture.
Anyway, and most importantly, welcome. Now read this: