England can pass final Group F test with flying colours
England women’s coach Mark Sampson has given Fran Kirby the nickname ‘mini-Messi’ and the 21-year-old Reading forward, who almost quit the game four years ago, lived up to her promise when producing a moment of individual brilliance to unlock the door against Mexico last week.
Karen Carney added a second to wrap up the points for England, though they had a late scare when Mexico scored in added time. They now have their destiny in their own hands and will qualify for the last 16 if they can beat surprise group leaders Colombia in their final group match in Montreal, though that is no straightforward task.
Colombia caused a big surprise when beating France in their second Group F game having been held by the Mexicans in their opener. France had beaten England in their opening match but the third seeds couldn’t find a response to goals from Lady Andrade and Usme Pineda, even though they had 22 attempts on goal as opposed to their opponents’ three. That was Colombia’s first-ever victory at a World Cup finals and they now need only a point against England to progress.
For England, the equation is simple. If they win their final group match they’ll be in the last 16 and possibly as group winners depending on how France fare against Mexico in a match which kicks off at the same time. Defeat will send them home and even a draw may not be enough for Sampson’s squad, though four of the third-placed teams in the six groups will qualify for the knockout stages.
The England coach thinks that his side have yet to hit their best form and is treating Colombia with plenty of respect. But that victory over Mexico has settled the nerves and you get the feeling that their final group opponents may have used up all of their luck against the French. They are ranked 22 places below England, who should grab their second win in the tournament at 4/7 even though the form of goalkeeper Karen Bardsley remains a concern. We have priced up a 2-0 correct score in England’s favour at 5/1.
The match kicks off at 9.00pm on Wednesday, June 17 at the Olympic Stadium, Montreal