England win first match against Haiti


Georgia Stanway’s twice-taken penalty sees England top of the table

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By Millie Simon

England went into their first 2023 World Cup game with hopes to dominate the Haitian side, but the English defence was certainly tested, and at times, forced goalkeeper Mary Earps to defend the goal unassisted.

The game began in a fast-paced fashion, with the Haitian side using speed as their main weapon to gain possession. The English back-line seemed fragmented as the ball was passed to Haitian forward Roseland Borgella, who was able to get one-on-one with goalkeeper Mary Earps, but Borgella’s shot was put wide of the post.

A penalty was denied for England as a foul from Alessia Russo discounted a foul seconds later on Chloe Kelly.  A definite penalty was given to England after a Haitian defender lifted both her hands above her head and touched the ball.

Designated penalty taker Georgia Stanway sent the ball towards the left bottom corner of the goal but it was saved by goalkeeper Kerly Theus, keeping the scoreline 0-0. However, after a video assistant referee (VAR) check, the referee confirmed the penalty would have to be taken again after the check showed Theus was off her line when the penalty was taken. For the second time, Stanway stood at the penalty spot and sent the ball in the same direction again, but this time Theus failed to save it.

The beginning of the second half didn’t see Haiti tire. After Lucy Bronze lost the ball, Melchie Dumonay fired the ball at the English goal, but Earps, with a powerful save, managed to prevent a Haitian equaliser.

Despite a number of attempts, Russo struggled to get past goalkeeper Theus. This included a magnificent save that sent the ball just over the crossbar.

Haiti continued their shots at the English goal, including another one-on-one moment with Earps that was saved by the goalkeeper. However, Earps made it very clear to the English defence that they needed to maintain their line more effectively.

Many are worried about the low scoreline against Haiti, especially since the winning goal was scored only through a penalty shot. But manager Sarina Wiegman and Lucy Bronze reassured supporters that it’s not just about the extravagant scorelines, rather, England are focused on winning their games regardless of how many goals they score.