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England secure hard-fought 1-0 win over tenacious Haiti in World Cup opener

England secure hard-fought 1-0 win over tenacious Haiti in World Cup opener

It was far from polished, but the Lionesses got the job done in their Women's World Cup opener.

England have got their Women's World Cup campaign off to a winning start.

The Lionesses fought off a tough Haiti side, beating them 1-0 in front of a packed Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

It was midfielder Georgia Stanway who scored the only goal in the match courtesy of a twice-taken penalty following a bizarre handball incident.

From the very first whistle, the Haitian players came out with the intention of taking the game to the reigning European champions.

Their physicality and engines throughout the opening half often saw them catch the Lionesses on the counter-attack.

That said, it was Sarina Wiegman's side who were dominating possession, creating some decent chances which just needed putting in the back of the net.

With momentum swinging slightly in England's favour, one of the team's stars looked destined to produce a moment of magic which would lead to the opening goal.

However, it was a moment of madness from Haitian left back Batcheba Louis which gifted England a spot kick.

As the ball was swung into the box, Louis was marking at the back-post when she bizarrely decided to raise both her hands into the air.


The ball subsequently struck her fingertips, giving the VAR booth no choice but to intervene.

When the referee watched the replays on the pitch-side screen, she wasted no time in pointing to the penalty spot.

Incredibly, there has been a penalty in all eight games at the tournament so far.

Stanway stepped up to take it, but her effort was saved by goalkeeper Kerly Theus.

After pulling off the impressive acrobatic effort, Theus was mobbed by her teammates – but their celebrations were stopped short.

The VAR booth identified that the shot stopper had left her line when saving the penalty, meaning Stanway had to re-take the spot kick.

And with her second attempt, the 24-year-old made no mistake, sending the keeper the wrong way before wheeling away in celebration.

In the second half, England still boasted the 1-0 lead but looked far from polished at times.

And with Haiti refusing to take their foot off the gas, that single-goal advantage looked like it may not be enough.

In the 81st minute, those fears were confirmed.

Every England fan's heart well and truly sank when substitute Roseline Eloissaint burst through on goal in the dying embers of the match.

Thankfully, England goalkeeper Mary Earps stuck out a left boot and sent the shot wide of the post.

A brilliant save to secure three valuable points for her nation.

The addition of Lauren James from the bench gave the Lionesses some extra flair out wide, but the side certainly weren't as free-flowing as we're used to seeing.

However, a win is a win.

Hats off to Haiti, though, they went toe-to-toe with the European champions in their first ever Women's World Cup match in history.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Optus

Topics: Football, Womens Football, Womens World Cup, England, Australia