England beat world champions Korea DPR 3-1 to open their Under 20 Women’s World Cup campaign in spectacular fashion, largely thanks to a brace from Alessia Russo reports RICH LAVERTY.
Her two goals either side of Georgia Stanway’s strike gave England the margin they needed to get off to the perfect start in Dinan despite Ja Un Yong’s effort providing the Young Lionesses with a brief scare.
In what was always going to be a hard-fought game England were excellent in every area, pressing their opponents well while Chloe Peplow and Mollie Rouse superbly marshalled the midfield area.
England were largely restricted to efforts from distance during the first half with Stanway, Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp all trying their luck with various degrees of fortune.
The breakthrough came just after the half-hour mark when Hemp found Russo out on the right, the forward’s first touch allowing her to slot an effort past the helpless Kim Yong Sun.
England almost doubled their lead at the start of the second half when Hemp headed Kelly’s cross against the crossbar before Stanway successfully doubled the lead on the hour mark.
After some pin ball on the edge of the box , the ball fell to the Manchester City midfielder who hammered home a left-footed effort from just outside the box.
Despite England’s control of the game, Korea DPR were back in it with 20 minutes to go. While Maz Pacheco was off the field being treated for a knock, substitute Ja Un Yong headed home in the area of the pitch England were left short in.
But Head Coach Mo Marley and her side needn’t have worried. Instantly the brilliant Hemp broke upfield and put in an inch-perfect cross for Russo to tap home her second and wrap up an important opening three points for England, who now face Brazil in Dinan on Wednesday afternoon.
“Dare To Shine” Player of the Match: Lauren Hemp (ENG)
England: Sandy MacIver; Anna Patten, Grace Fisk (C), Megan Finnigan, Maz Pacheco (Taylor Hinds 71); Mollie Rouse, Chloe Peplow; Alessia Russo (Rinsola Babajide 84), Georgia Stanway, Chloe Kelly; Lauren Hemp (Charlie Wellings 90)
Unused subs: Georgia Allen, Niamh Charles, Ali Johnson, Ellie Roebuck, Esme Morgan, Zoe Cross, Emily Ramsey
Goals: Russo 31 & 73, Stanway 60