From Stadium of Light – England kicked off their Nations League campaign with a battling 2-1 win over Scotland thanks to goals from Lucy Bronze and Lauren Hemp.
Sarina Wiegman’s side were in action for the first time since their World Cup final defeat to Spain last month, and their performance was far from perfect against a dogged Scotland side that stayed in the game after Kirsty Hanson’s goal just before half-time.
England started the night in spritely fashion going forward but a defensive error gifted Caroline Weir an early opportunity to score – Mary Earps coming to the rescue after saving the Real Madrid midfielder’s shot from close range.
Rachel Daly had the ball in the back of the net following an England corner, but the goal was ruled offside due to Chloe Kelly obstructing Scotland goalkeeper Lee Gibson’s view.
The breakthrough came through Bronze after Martha Thomas was denied a penalty at the other end following a shove from skipper Millie Bright – the Barcelona full-back heading Katie Zelem’s teasing cross into the back of the net.
Hemp doubled England’s advantage with another header, courtesy of Daly’s cross, but the impressive Hanson, who was a thorn in Bronze’s side all night, capitalised on more sloppy defending to deflect the ball in off Earps’ post just before the break.
The game’s high octane pace dropped during the second half, but Hanson did come close to levelling the scores as she rattled the crossbar.
Lauren James had a second goal ruled out for England – replays suggested the goal should have stood after an incorrect offside call – but Bronze and Hemp’s strikes were just enough to get Wiegman’s Women’s Nations League campaign off to the perfect star. The Netherlands await on Tuesday having lost their opening game to Belgium by the odd goal.
GK: Mary Earps – 7/10 – Perhaps should have done better with Hanson’s effort but effectively dealt with other dangerous situations.
CB: Jess Carter – 6/10 – Caught out of position a few times and contributed to England’s sloppiness.
CB: Millie Bright – 6/10 – Not the assured performance you’ve come to expect from England’s captain.
CB: Alex Greenwood – 7/10 – The best of the three centre-backs, Greenwood made some vital clearances throughout the 90 minutes.
RWB: Lucy Bronze – 8/10 – Struggled against Hanson’s pace, but her goal shifted the game’s momentum in favour of the Lionesses.
MF: Georgia Stanway – 6/10 – Marked tightly throughout the game and wasn’t able to influence proceedings as she’d have liked.
MF: Katie Zelem – 7/10 – Cracking assist to set up Bronze but felt a little absent from the game at times.
LWB: Chloe Kelly- 7/10 – Got into some good forward areas but struggled with the quality of her crossing throughout.
CAM: Lauren James- 7/10 – Advanced into some dangerous areas but couldn’t apply the killer touch more often than not. Had a goal ruled out.
FW: Lauren Hemp- 8/10 – Made some terrific runs into the box to cause problems for Scotland’s centre-backs.
FW: Rachel Daly- 8/10 – A real threat all night long, stretching the game and looking to put crosses into the box.
Ella Toone (59′ for Kelly ) – 6/10 – Made a decent impact coming on from the bench that nearly led to a late goal.
Sarina Wiegman- 7/10 – Things worked well up front but Wiegman must reassess England’s backline – more clinical opposition will punish continued mistakes.
GK: Lee Gibson- 6/10 – Could have done better to prevent England’s first goal but did make other important saves.
RB: Rachel McLauchlan – 6/10 – Coped with England’s press on the wing well but struggled defensively.
CB: Sophie Howard – 5/10 – A little run ragged against the impressive duo of Hemp and Daly.
CB: Rachel Corsie – 6/10 – Solid enough in her defensive work and could do little to flip the momentum of England’s attacks.
LB: Nicola Docherty – 6/10 – Defensively very sound but didn’t offer Scotland enough going forward.
CM: Christy Grimshaw – 6/10 – Struggled to impose herself on the game.
CM: Sam Kerr – 7/10 – Made some key defensive interceptions and helped Scotland control the pace of the game when in possession.
AM: Caroline Weir – 9/10 – A really classy display from Weir, exploiting England’s fragile defensive confidence.
RW: Claire Emslie – 6/10 – Some good progressive passing and clever runs failed to really lead to anything.
LW: Kirsty Hanson – 9/10 – Caused problems for England all evening and was exceptional on the wing. The best player on the pitch despite being on the losing side.
CF: Martha Thomas- 6/10 – Failed to capitalise on a clear chance on goal but did well to put pressure on Earps.
Amy Gallacher (82′ for Thomas )- N/A
Lisa Evans (83′ for Emslie)- N/A
Fiona Brown (86′ for McLauchlin)- N/A
Lauren Davidson (89′ for Hanson)- N/A
Pedro Martines Losa – 6/10 – Earlier substitutions may have helped Scotland’s cause but can be proud of the performance of his players.