Taylor hat-trick leads England to thumping win

19 July 2017 10:38

Jodie Taylor fired a brilliant hat-trick as England's Lionesses hit Scotland for six in Utrecht.

The World Cup bronze medallists made the perfect start to their quest to become European champions for the first time, inflicting a 6-0 defeat on outclassed opponents.

Arsenal striker Taylor hit an early double, and when Ellen White poached a third before half-time it was already a grim night for the Scots on their major tournament debut.

But Taylor was not finished and the 31-year-old lobbed home to complete her treble, the first at a Women's European Championship since France's Angelique Roujas netted three against Russia at the 1997 finals.

Jordan Nobbs got the goal her impressive midfield performance deserved when she volleyed home in the 87th minute, and Toni Duggan headed in a late sixth.

After months of build-up since manager Mark Sampson named his squad in early April, this was exactly the kind of commanding performance England were hoping to produce.

The players spent almost six weeks together beforehand, working on their fitness but also their cohesion, and the front three of Taylor, White and Fran Kirby clicked from the very early stages with Scotland unable to handle them.

Anna Signeul's Scots had been given a pre-match pep talk from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, marking her 47th birthday with a visit to the game.

Inside a minute, Jane Ross cracked a 25-yard attempt that forced her Manchester City team-mate Karen Bardsley to tip over - b ut England were soon on the front foot.

Nobbs, the dynamic midfielder and vice-captain, twice threatened the goal guarded by Scotland goalkeeper Gemma Fay, winning her 201st cap.

Fay was busy early on and cut out a through-ball aimed for Taylor, only for the forward to score the opener in the 11th minute.

Kirby cleverly let Lucy Bronze's pass run beyond her and into the path of the charging Taylor, who slipped her finish coolly beyond Fay.

England struck for a second time when Kirby was taken down by Rachel Corsie on the left of the box and after Nobbs' free-kick saw Caroline Weir clear off the line from Lucy Bronze, Taylor hooked home at the far post.

England's third came in the 32nd minute. Jill Scott swung a 30-yard strike against Fay's bar, with the ball bouncing into the path of White who raced in to finish with Scotland's defenders static.

Fay saved Nobbs' long-range effort but England had become the tournament's top scorers by half-time, and there was more to come.

The Scots came out fired up and Ross lifted an early shot over the bar, but again they were caught cold by a brilliant England goal. Captain Steph Houghton's long pass was flicked on by White and Taylor, with her confidence soaring, sealed her treble with a first-time lob over Fay.

With England's victory no longer in any doubt, Taylor made way after 59 minutes for Barcelona's new recruit Duggan, who was soon denied by the feet of Fay.

White gave way to Karen Carney in the 75th minute. The Chelsea midfielder made her Euros debut as a 17-year-old when England hosted the 2005 tournament and scored a stoppage-time winner in the opening game against Finland.

Her free-kick here was only part-cleared and volleyed in by Nobbs for the fifth goal before Duggan put the seal on a special night.

Source: PA


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