England women beat Bosnia & Herzegovina to go top of World Cup qualifying

England women beat Bosnia & Herzegovina to go top of World Cup qualifying

Highlights: Bosnia & Herzegovina 0-2 England

England women moved top of their World Cup qualifying group with a 2-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

Forward Toni Duggan turned in Mel Lawley’s cross before Jodie Taylor scored a stoppage-time penalty.

England’s Alex Greenwood was sent off shortly after half-time for a second yellow card.

Bosnia captain Amira Spahic was also dismissed as England moved two points clear of Wales at the top of Group A.

Victory was England’s second in five games since Phil Neville’s appointment as head coach in January, and came four days after they were held to a goalless draw by Wales in Southampton.

Greenwood’s dismissal, which appeared harsh, looked to have hampered England. The left-back, who replaced Demi Stokes in the starting XI, looked to have won a penalty when she fell under a challenge in the Bosnia penalty area.

Instead she was cautioned for diving and was visibly upset as she left the pitch.

England, who are second in the Fifa rankings, had dominated until that point, with Ellen White and Barcelona’s Duggan featuring prominently but failing to find a way past Bosnia goalkeeper Envera Hasanbegovic.

Even with an extra player, Bosnia – ranked 57th in the world – struggled to contain the visitors, who deservedly went ahead when Lawley dashed down the right and Duggan hooked in her cross.

Duggan hit the woodwork with a powerful left-footed drive moments after Spahic was sent off for a second booking.

England persisted, though, and when Lidija Kulis chopped down Beth Mead, Taylor placed the ball past Hasanbegovic from the penalty spot.

‚This was parking three or four buses’

Neville told BBC Radio 5 live: „We talked about parking the bus – this was parking three or four buses. It was football like I had never seen before.

„It was a patient performance; we had to wait. The first goal was always going to be key and we managed to get the first goal.

„It was comfortable throughout, but as long as it is 0-0 there is always that temptation of thinking back to Friday night when we dominated the game against Wales and we didn’t manage to get the goal. So the girls stuck at it.

„Toni Duggan scored a brilliant goal – she was fantastic today.”

‚A dominant display’ – analysis

Former England forward Sue Smith on BBC Sport

Toni Duggan looked lively in the second half. It is as if she said, „I’m going to take this game by the scruff of the neck.” She did – she looked really dynamic.

It was a great response from England, a dominant display. They had so much of the ball in difficult circumstances with a team just sitting back like Bosnia did.

Overall, England and Phil Neville will be happy they have those three points and are top of the table.

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