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England 6 (Gonzalez og 8, J.Scott 9, Williams pen 48, K.Smith 63,76, Exley pen 89)
Argentina 1 (Gonzalez 60)
England cruised into the quarter finals with an easy 6-1 victory over Argentina, to emulate their achievement at their last World Cup appearance in 1995.
They now face one of their toughest ever opponents as they will play the Group B winners in Tianjin on Saturday, most likely to be either the United States or North Korea.
With Katie Chapman missing the match through suspension, Hope Powell sprang another surprise by leaving out Karen Carney whilst recalling Eniola Aluko and Rachel Yankey to the starting line up.
England set their stall out to attack from the start and they profited after just eight minutes through more astonishing defensive ineptitude from Argentina. Casey Stoney crossed from the right and, with no England player near her, Eva Gonzalez planted a header into the top corner of the net and the vital breakthrough had come.
Barely a minute later it was two. Jill Scott raced into a 50-50 ball around 30 yards from goal with a speculative long range shot, Romina Ferro dived over the top of the ball and the Everton midfielder was handed her first ever international goal.
A quickly taken free kick saw Yankey's low strike fumbled by Ferro and Aluko hit the bar with a shot on the turn as England began to rain shots on goal. Alex Scott shot straight at Ferro after a strong run into the area and Faye White was inches away from reaching a Kelly Smith cross with the goal gaping.
Argentina tried to respond with some long range efforts of their own, including a 35-yard free kick from Gonzalez which was just over the bar but England still looked dangerous every time they attacked, Smith's shot from outside the area hitting the side netting.
A free kick for a foul on Aluko almost led to England extending their lead, after Fara Williams' shot was charged down, Smith unleashed a stinging half volley which brought out an excellent diving save from Ferro. Aluko was denied by a good saving tackle from Florencia Mandrile following a strong run forward by Smith.
England were back on the attack from the restart and Yankey's angled drive was turned over the bar by Ferro. Smith then drove into the area where she was pulled down by Catalina Perez and a penalty was awarded. Perez was shown a second yellow card, reducing Argentina to ten players, and Williams confidently stepped up to plant her shot past Ferro, putting England 3-0 ahead.
Yankey was again denied by Ferro after selflessly being set up by Smith but England were set back on their heels on the hour mark as Argentina scored their first goal of the tournament. Again it was a free kick that led to the breakthrough, a poor decision by the referee for an innocuous foul by Faye White and Gonzalez drilled her shot into the corner of the net.
There was more bad news for England moments later as a harsh yellow card for Williams ruled her out of the quarter finals but they were quickly back on track when Yankey tricked her way to the line and her low cross was cheekily flicked in by Smith at close range.
A last ditch clearance from Chavez foiled Aluko as she was poised to score from Yankey's low centre and the winger should have added to England's tally, Sue Smith cut the ball back to Aluko whose shot was blocked but, with an open goal in front of her, Yankey hooked her right foot shot past the post.
It wasn't too long before the fifth goal came, Mary Phillip's initial break down the right led to Yankey cutting in and shooting, Ferro parried her effort but Kelly Smith on hand to drill the rebound into the far corner of the net.
A bad ball from Rachel Brown almost led to a scare for England but she comfortably saved the resulting shot by Maria Potassa. England went back on the attack and, after Sue Smith's cross was punched away by Ferro under pressure from Vicky Exley and Williams fired the loose ball inches over from the edge of the area.
Exley was unlucky not to score from a Stoney corner but her downward header was blocked by the legs of Ferro. England regained possession and played the ball back into the area where Exley was caught by a high boot from Almeida and a second penalty was awarded. Exley coolly slotted the kick into the corner of the net to cap off a successful day for England.
England: Rachel Brown, Mary Phillip, Casey Stoney, Jill Scott, Faye White, Anita Asante, Alex Scott (sub Sue Smith 67mins), Fara Williams, Eniola Aluko (sub Jody Handley 79mins), Kelly Smith (sub Vicky Exley 79mins), Rachel Yankey.
Argentina: Romina Ferro, Eva Gonzalez, Gabriela Chavez, Clarisa Huber (sub Valeria Cotelo 51mins), Maria Quinones (sub Emilia Mendieta 75mins), Catalina Perez, Florencia Mandrile, Fabiana Vallejos, Maria Potassa, Analia Almeida (sub Natalia Gatti 62mins), Mercedes Pereyra.
Photo: Kelly Smith skips past a tackle from Maria Quinones (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
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