England hold off spirited Haiti to seal victory in World Cup opener

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Desk report;  England produced a lacklustre performance against tournament debutants Haiti in their opening match of the Women’s World Cup but held on for a narrow victory in Brisbane.

Georgia Stanway’s pinpoint re-taken penalty gave England victory despite an underwhelming performance by the Lionesses.

The midfielder kept her cool after the Video Assistant Referee adjudged Haiti goalkeeper Kerly Theus had stepped off her line too early as she saved her first attempt.

Much like their display in the opening match against Austria in Euro 2022, which England went on to win, Sarina Wiegman’s side looked short of creativity and sharpness.

Haiti, ranked 53rd in the world, were dangerous in attack – especially hugely impressive teenager Melchie Dumornay, who was the most effective player on the pitch.

The 19-year-old was involved in Haiti’s biggest chances as England were heavily tested in defence, with captain Millie Bright struggling at times on her first appearance since March following knee surgery.

Striker Alessia Russo, given the nod ahead of Women’s Super League Golden Boot winner Rachel Daly, was also denied by Haiti goalkeeper Theus on numerous occasions in each half.

While England had opportunities to extend their lead in the second half, their goalkeeper Mary Earps pulled off a brilliant save to push away Roseline Eloissaint’s strike from close range in what was one of the biggest chances of the match.

The Lionesses, who have lost just once in 33 games under Wiegman, take on Denmark in their second Group D match on Friday.

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