England 2, New Zealand 1
Jill Scott rallied England with a second-half goal and assisted
on another for a 2-1 win over New Zealand on Friday.
For more than an hour, England was in trouble. But the tall
midfielder Scott turned things around with a 63rd-minute header and
a low pass to Jess Clarke for an 81st-minute winner.
England moved into second place in Group B with four points,
behind Japan, which beat Mexico 4-0 in the other group game to
advance to the quarterfinals. With two losses, New Zealand was
England will play Japan in the last group game on Tuesday.
”We had most of the play and sheer determination got us the
goals and three points,” said England coach Hope Powell.
Against the run of play, New Zealand scored on a smart counter.
Amber Hearn went deep and robbed a defender of the ball and sent a
low pass into the center where Sarah Gregorius forced her way in
between two defenders to slot home the opener in the 18th
Midfielder Scott tied it by rising high in the center to meet
Alex Scott’s cross from the right and head it forcefully past
goalie Jenny Bindon.
She later won the ball in a goalmouth scramble late in the game
and calmly set up Clarke for the winner with a shot that went high
into the net.
England looked in trouble early on. Its top striker Kelly Smith
twisted her left ankle in the eighth minute as she sought to
challenge Bindon on a high ball. She needed treatment before
resuming, but was rarely a factor from then on.
England came off a disappointing 1-1 draw against Mexico, while
New Zealand lost 2-1 to Japan. It meant both teams needed a victory
to maintain a realistic chance of advancing.
Much was expected of England after it defeated the United States
2-1 in an exhibition before the World Cup. But the team hasn’t
thrilled the crowds in two games so far. Before a crowd of 19,110,
desperation increasingly crept into the Brits game as New Zealand
went into a defensive shell and started working the counter.
It took Scott to turn things around.