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Arsenal’s Taylor sends England into semi-finals

Gunners striker makes it five goals in three games at Euro 2017 and sets up a tasty clash against the Netherlands

31 July, 2017 — By Catherine Etoe

 

UEFA Women’s Euro 2017
Quarter-final
ENGLAND 1, FRANCE 0

“SHE scores when she wants” is the chant that will follow Jodie Taylor when she returns to Arsenal after the forward hit the back of the net yet again to see England through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Euro.

Taylor, already the tournament’s leading striker, made it five goals in three games when she scored shortly after the hour mark in an historic win over France in Deventer on Sunday.

England had not beaten France since 1974 and, with losses to Les Bleues in three major championships, the pressure was on Mark Sampson’s team.

But third in the world France had stuttered thus far out in Holland, while England came into the game with the best group stage record of any team in this tournament with three wins out of three.

Ten goals had been scored in those matches and just one conceded, that in a scrappy 2-1 win over Portugal on Thursday, which had seen Sampson field 10 changes.

Against France, the England boss returned to the line-up that had confidently seen off Scotland 6-0 and overcome Spain 2-0, a side that featured Arsenal’s hot-shot striker Taylor and flair midfielder Jordan Nobbs.

It was certainly all to play for, the tournament having been blown wide open earlier in the day after Germany, winners of the last six Euros, were knocked out by Denmark, and tournament debutants Austria had made it through at the expense of Spain on penalties.

With those two sides set to meet in one semi-final on Thursday, the winner of tonight’s match would face 12th in the world ranked Netherlands in Enschede in the other.

Despite their solid start in the tournament, England struggled to get into any rhythm in the first half of this match, although chances were few and far between for either side.

A thunderous run at the France defence by Lucy Bronze sparked the game into life on 60 minutes, however, as the Manchester City defender passed to Taylor and she walloped the ball home.

It was a match that had been crying out for a goal and finding themselves 1-0 down galvanised the French, who promptly peppered the England defence with an all-out attack.

England lost keeper Karen Bardsley 15 minutes from time to injury, but her replacement, former Arsenal goalie Siobhan Chamberlain saw out the match, and the six minutes of injury time, without conceding.

The victory sets up a tasty encounter for fifth in the world England on Thursday against hosts Netherlands, who feature four Arsenal players including the talismanic Vivianne Miedema.

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