First-half goals from Nikita Parris and Ellen White gave England a winning start to their World Cup campaign against Scotland in their opening Group D match.
FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year Parris gave England the lead early on by converting a VAR-awarded penalty after Fran Kirby’s cross appeared to strike Nicola Docherty’s arm.
In-form striker White doubled just before the break after dispossessing Scotland captain and curling the ball past goalkeeper Lee Alexander.
Scotland were rewarded for a strong finish late on when Claire Emslie fired home to create a nervy end for Phil Neville’s side in Nice.
The match was end-to-end from the beginning with Scotland, on the back of a five-match unbeaten run, starting the brighter of the two sides.
It was a far cry from the last time these two met in EURO 2017 with England winning 6-0 on that occasion, although that scoreline could well have been repeated if not for the performance of Alexander.
She was powerless to stop Parris’ spot-kick after 14 minutes though as debates inside and outside the stadium raged about whether it was a penalty or not.
SheBelieves Cup winners England definitely had the best of the chances however with White and teammate Beth Mead both forcing saves from the Glasgow City shot-stopper.
White’s goal after 40 minutes proved to be the decisive one for England who seemed to tire towards the end but would have felt aggrieved had they failed to take all three points.
Shelley Kerr’s side, making their first World Cup tournament appearance, will now look to take the positives from today’s defeat into their next game against Japan.