My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Fran Kirby 71, Karen Carney 82
Fabiola Ibarra 90+1
England made three changes from the France defeat, moving to an attacking 4-3-3. Jade Moore, Toni Duggan and Fran Kirby replaced Alex Scott, Katie Chapman and Ellen White. Mexico made just one change from their draw with Colombia, with Bianca Sierra replacing Christina Murillo in defence.
Mexico fired a couple of warning signs at England early on, with Kenti Robles’ shot blocked and Victoria Perez’s lobbed shot just going over.
They caused England problems from a free-kick that was cleared to Charlyn Corral who could only shoot over. Seconds later, her strike partner Renae Cuellar had an effort go wide.
England though was starting to make forays forward. Lucy Bronze, playing in her more familiar role at right-back, picked out Jill Scott with a long ball, but her header went wide.
Great determination from Bronze allowed her to make room down the right-wing, and her pass was worked to Fran Kirby whose tame shot was saved by Cecilia Santiago. Kirby was trying to curl it to the far post but failed to get the correct connection.
They then had a penalty appeal. Eniola Aluko’s cross caused the Mexican defence all sorts of the problems, and the ball set up nicely for Toni Duggan whose overhead kick hit Robles’ arm. It would have been harsh with Robles having her arms by her side.
Steph Houghton’s lovely ball picked out Duggan on the left, she cut inside and tried her luck with a curling shot that was well saved by Santiago. Then it was Aluko’s turn to pick up the ball on the left, and she ran at the defence before shooting and watched as the ball smashed off the crossbar.
England nearly had a disastrous start to the second half. Bardsley tried to clear the ball, but her pass hits Houghton and fell to Cuellar, but the keeper made amends with a superb save.
But England was looking more determined going forward and came close from a free-kick. Alex Greenwood curled the ball towards the far post where Bronze had made a dangerous run, but at the last second Houghton took the ball off her and headed it wide.
Then Aluko had two great chances to score. She first broke into the box and had her shot well saved by Santiago. Seconds later, she made room for herself in the box before shooting, the keeper got down low to tip the ball wide and the England striker could only watch as the ball squirmed just wide of the post.
Mexico reminded England of their attacking threat. Stephany Mayor cut in off the wing and her curled shot was well saved by Bardsley. Then a Monica Ocampo corner hit the crossbar before falling to Alina Garciamendez who blasted her shot centimetres over the bar.
But finally, England took the lead. The ball ricocheted to Kirby who broke into the box with a surging run, before stabbing the ball past the keeper and watched as the ball hit the inside of the left post and over the line.
England had a couple of half chances soon after, with Duggan having a shot blocked by Jennifer Ruiz before Aluko fired over from close range.
Kirby could have gotten a second, as she picked up the ball on the left wing, beat a defender before her curling shot was superbly parried by Santiago.
And then England doubled their lead. Greenwood curled a delightful chipped ball towards the far post, picking out Karen Carney who headed past the keeper.
It looked like it would be a calm ending to the game, but as ever with England, they made sure the final minutes were tense. Corral’s shot was only palmed away by Bardsley and Fabiola Ibarra, who had only been on the field for two minutes, pounced to score.
But in the end, England held on to claim three precious points.
Woman of the Match:
Fran Kirby – England.
England: (4-3-3) Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze (Alex Scott 85), Steph Houghton (c), Laura Bassett, Claire Rafferty (Alex Greenwood 53), Jill Scott (Karen Carney 66), Fara Williams, Jade Moore, Toni Duggan, Eniola Aluko, Fran Kirby.
Goals: Fran Kirby 71, Karen Carney 82.
Booked: Karen Carney 90+3
Mexico: (4-4-2) Cecilia Santiago, Kenti Robles, Bianca Sierra (Valeria Miranda HT), Alina Garciamendez, Jennifer Ruiz, Nayeli Rangel (c), Monica Ocampo (Fabiola Ibarra 89), Stephany Mayor, Veronica Perez, Charlyn Corral, Renae Cuellar (Maria Sanchez 77).
Goal: Fabiola Ibarra 90+1.
Booked: Alina Garciamendez 64.