England 2 - 1 Mexico (half-time 0-0)
The dreams of England's footballers are still very much alive at the Women's World Cup, after Mark Sampson's side earned a 2-1 victory against a stubborn Mexican side over the weekend. Second-half strikes from Fran Kirby and Karen Carney secured the crucial three points, despite a late consolation goal for Mexico.
With group favourites France surprisingly losing earlier, England knew that they needed a win to get back into contention for the qualifying places. They had the best chance in the first period, as Eniola Aluko's fine strike beat the keeper but not the woodwork.
After a goalless first forty-five minutes, two second-half substitutes seemed to spark a difference in their fortunes, as Alex Greenwood and Carney were introduced.
It was 21-year-old Reading player Kirby though who broke the deadlock with just twenty minutes remaining. Afterwards Sampson described her as his side's "mini Messi", perhaps a reference to her feint inside the area to wrong foot the defenders, before poking the ball into the net for the opener.
England's nerves were settled and they added the second through a Carney header eight minutes from the end, as the two substitutes combined. She may have been marginally offside as the ball was deliciously played in by Greenwood, but her finish was neat and precise.
It wouldn't be an England World Cup finals' campaign for either the men or the women without a slight hiccup though. Mexico reduced the deficit thanks to Fabiola Ibarra in the last minute, but it was too little and far too late to rescue the result for them.
French surprisingly lost
France lost 2-0 to Colombia to propel the South Americans into top spot in the group with just one game remaining. The French as the third-ranked side in the world had already beaten England and were expected to overcome the Colombians as well. But they were surprised by their opponents and went behind after 19 minutes, Lady Andrade being played through the middle and calmly slotting the ball under the advancing goalkeeper. They pressed for the equaliser but were caught out again near the end, as Usme Pineda seized on defensive frailties at the back to add the second goal.
After two games apiece for all four sides in the group, the standings are:
Colombia 4 points (+ 2 goals)
England 3 (0)
France 3 (-1)
Mexico 1 (-1) #Football