Georgia Stanway (L) of England celebrates scoring a goal with Alessia Russo during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 soccer match between England and Haiti at Brisbane Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, 22 July 2022. EFE/EPA/DARREN ENGLAND AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

US, Japan dominate as England, Denmark earns narrow wins

Sports Desk, Jul 22 (EFE).- The United States and Japan cruised to victory in their opening matches at the Fifa Women’s World Cup on Saturday, while European champions England and Denmark eked out 1-0 wins as they began their own campaigns.

Sophia Smith played a starring role for the tournament favorites, scoring the first two goals before setting up the third as the US – who are bidding to win a record third consecutive World Cup – comfortably defeated competition debutants Vietnam.

Japan – winners in 2011 and runners up in 2015 – also kicked off their tournament in style, trouncing an overmatched Zambia 5-0.

Denmark players celebrate winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 soccer match between Denmark and China at Perth Rectangular Stadium in Perth, Australia, 22 July 2022. EFE/EPA/RICHARD WAINWRIGHT AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

The score could have been even more lopsided, with VAR intervening to overturn two goals and a penalty for the Japanese, who are looking to return to the summit of international women’s football after a disappointing run that saw them knocked out at the Round of 16 at the last World Cup and fail to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Reigning European champions England also got off to a winning start, although theirs was a much nervier performance than the US or Japan.

Georgia Stanway’s retaken penalty was the only goal of the game against a physical Haiti side that frustrated England for long periods and always posed a threat on the counter.

One goal was all that separated Denmark and China in Saturday’s last game, as substitute Amalie Vangsgaard’s late header beat goalkeeper Xu Huan to settle a nervy game that lacked attacking quality from either team. EFE