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POST TIME: 16 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
England, Italy through to pre-quarterfinals
Taylor ends English drought
AFP, Le Havre, France

England, Italy through to pre-quarterfinals

England’s forward Jodie Taylor (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal during the France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group D football match against Argentina at the Oceane Stadium in Le Havre, northwestern France, on Friday. AFP Photo

Jodie Taylor broke a 14-month goal drought to shoot England past Argentina and into the last 16 of the women's World Cup on Friday after Cristiana Girelli’s hat-trick saw the Italians through with a 5-0 hammering of hapless Jamaica.

Euro 2017 top scorer Taylor tapped home her first England goal since April 2018 from Beth Mead's inviting low cross just after the hour mark to send England to the top of Group D on six points, two ahead of Japan, and into the next round alogside Italy, France and Germany with a game still to play.

“I'm the first one to admit that I score goals because of my teammates. The Euros I won the golden boot because of the quality of my teamates,” Taylor told reporters. “The ball from Beth today absolutely showed that.” Phil Neville's side now need a point in Nice on Wednesday against Japan, who beat Scotland 2-1 earlier on Friday, to ensure they finish in first place and avoid a potential clash with European champions the Netherlands in the next round.

They could form part of a powerful group of teams in the knockouts with the three strong-looking European nations plus the USA, who are heavy favourites to go through from their group. “To be honest I'm so focused on the group I don't even know who we could face yet,” added Taylor about the prospect of facing one of those sides.

“We want to top the group, that's all we want to focus on -- ask me after Japan.”

Despite the defeat the ‘Albicelestes’, third in the group with a point, can still qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Scotland in their final game in Paris, although they will have to show more attacking intent than they have in their opening two matches.

They were twice saved by goalkeeper Vanina Correa, who pushed Nikita Parris’ 28th-minute penalty off the post and then pulled off a super stop to deny the excellent Mead four minutes before the break.