NICE, France (Reuters) – England maintained their perfect women’s World Cup Group D record when Ellen White’s double gave them a 2-0 win over Japan on Wednesday.
White struck either side of the interval as the Lionesses, who had already qualified for the last 16, topped the pool with nine points, five ahead of second-placed Japan.
Scotland threw away a two-goal lead in the other group game as they were held 3-3 by Argentina to be knocked out of the tournament.
England coach Phil Neville made eight changes to the team who beat Argentina but it did not cause too much disruption as they dominated a Japan side lacking a cutting edge in attack.
White collected a superb through pass from Georgia Stanway before chipping the ball over Ayaka Yamashita to open the scoring in the 15th minute.
Yamashita kept her team’s hopes alive with a fine save to deny Toni Duggan’s volley from a Lucy Bronze cross on the hour.
Stanway and Rachel Daly marshalled the midfield well, although Japan looked potentially dangerous when England lost the ball.
Neville’s side were largely disappointing after a good start to the second half but White sealed the win when she found the back of the net with a clinical finish after being set up by Karen Carney six minutes from time.
It was White’s third goal of the tournament in two appearances.
England will take on a third-placed team in Valenciennes on Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals.
(Rpeorting by Julien Pretot, editing by Ed Osmond)