England win highlighted by Jodie Taylor hat trick
EURO 2017 was always going to be a hard road for Scotland. It was their first ever appearance in a major tournament, and they were missing star midfielder Kim Little, out with a torn ACL. Additionally, they opened the tournament against England, two-time runners-up and current fifth-ranked team in the world. Scotland has only beaten England once in 25 meetings between the two countries.
But few could have predicted just how hard Scotland’s EURO debut would be. In the highest-scoring match of the EURO group stage thus far, England defeated their neighbors to the north, 6-0, thanks largely to a superb showing from striker Jodie Taylor. Taylor scored a hat trick before subbing out at the hour mark, with Ellen White, Jordan Nobbs and Toni Duggan adding goals of their own on the day.
Knowing that the deck was stacked against them, Scotland came out strong looking to make their presence felt, which they did in the opening seconds of the match when Jane Ross immediately called English keeper Karen Bardsley into action, forcing the keeper to tap her long-range shot over the crossbar to prevent Scotland from taking a very early lead. From then on out, though, it was all England as Jodie Taylor led the charge that resulted in six goals to nil for the English side.
Taylor opened up scoring in the 11th minute in an impressive effort from the Lionesses that should have foreshadowed what was to come. Lucy Bronze threaded the middle of the field with a perfectly-weighted pass that Fran Kirby then dummied to Taylor. Taylor used her speed to break through the Scottish defense and slot the ball past Scottish keeper Gemma Fay. Taylor would strike again in the 26th minute, with Ellen White knocking in a ball that deflected off the crossbar in the 32nd to put England up 3-0 at the half.
England double their goal total in the second half with Taylor completing her hat trick in the 53rd minute. It was the first time an English player had scored a hat trick and the first in 20 years at the EUROs. Taylor exited the field shortly thereafter, and Toni Duggan, who would go on to score mere seconds before the final whistle, entered in her stead. Sandwiched between their two goals was a long-range volley by Jordan Nobbs, who made the strike look effortless.
Up next for Scotland is a chance at redemption, as they face off against the other loser on the day, Portugal, on Sunday. However, they may have to do so without Jane Ross, who was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for further examination following a shoulder injury suffered in the second half.
Two first-half goals put Spain over Portugal
Spain dropped Portugal 2-0 on Wednesday in the opening match of the EUROS for the Iberian rivals. Vicky Losada and Amanda Sampedro scored first half goals and the Algarve holders’ three points were never threatened on the day. According to statistics on fifa.com, Portugal managed only one shot which was not on goal, and Spain claimed more than three-quarters of the possession.
It seemed inevitable for Spain to get on top after they spent much of the opening minutes on the ball with Portuguese players sitting deep and defending. In the 23rd minute, a decisive ball was played in by Losada. The one-time Western New York Flash striker made a gorgeous first touch to take the ball down without losing it, earned herself a second touch and used that one to score.
In the 42nd, Mariona Caldenty put a probing ball near the top of the six. Despite the presence of two Spain attackers and three defenders, both attackers were wide open. Sampedro got to it first and scored with her head to double the lead.
Portugal are making their EURO debut. In the 15 years Algarve—which they host—has featured 12 teams, Portugal’s best finish is 8th.
The four teams will have the next three days to regroup before returning to the field for their second match day of the tournament. Portugal and Scotland will hope to get their first points of the tournament as they face off on Sunday, July 23 at noon ET, followed by England and Spain at 2:45 p.m. ET.