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England 1 (Carney 64)
att: 8,753; at the New Meadow, Shrewsbury
England maintained their 100% record at the top of the group but a jaded looking side was made to work very hard for their victory by youthful and determined opponents.
Hope Powell was forced into one change with Jill Scott returning in place of the injured Katie Chapman in midfield, whilst Anita Asante was preferred alongside Faye White in defence.
England could have been ahead as early as the third minute as Kelly Smith slid the ball into the area for Karen Carney whose low cross just evaded the oncoming Rachel Yankey.
A goalmouth scramble led to White stabbing a close range shot at goal which was well saved by Ainhoa Tirapu, Jill Scott rolled the loose ball across the face of goal but no England player was on hand to turn it home.
Yankey fired in a low shot which was gathered by Tirapu and only a good challenge from Vanesa Gimber prevented Alex Scott from getting in an effort on goal as England continued to have the better of the early exchanges.
Jill Scott looped a header on to the roof of the net from a Carney corner and, following a scare as Laura Del Rio dispossessed Carney and carried the ball 50 yards before shooting straight at Brown, England were handed another clear chance after Carney was tripped on the edge of the area following a neat piece of skill, but Fara Williams lifted her shot disappointingly over the bar.
Jill Scott diverted a header wide from a pinpoint Carney centre and Aluko drove a 20-yard effort just past the post but England were unable to find the breakthrough at the end of a goalless first half.
The pattern of the game continued after the break with England still toiling to break down the Spanish defence. Williams could hardly have come closer just before the hour mark as she found space 25 yards from goal, but her left foot strike was inches off target. Moments later, Lianne Sanderson and Carney combined to set up Smith but she sent her shot over the bar.
England finally opened the scoring in the 64th minute after Smith had slipped the ball out to the right, Yankey's cross was half cleared and the ball ran loose for Carney to plant a right foot shot into the far corner of the net.
Spain almost conjured up a reply eight minutes later as Del Rio curled a neat shot from the edge of the area which beat Brown but struck the underside of the bar before bouncing away.
England hit back with a rasping shot from Smith which was deflected just wide but, from the resulting corner, a quick Spain breakaway almost caught out England but Alex Scott was on hand to clear Maria Jose Perez' low cross. The corner was taken quickly and a dangerous centre from Del Rio was headed away well by White.
Carney was unlucky not to score her second goal as she poked a Yankey cross just wide at full stretch. White headed over a Yankey corner and Tirapu dived to save Sanderson's low shot as England sought a killer goal but, after needing to be alert and keep the Spaniards from creating danger late on, the hard earned 1-0 victory was enough.
England: Rachel Brown, Alex Scott, Casey Stoney, Jill Scott, Faye White, Anita Asante, Karen Carney, Fara Williams, Eniola Aluko (sub Lianne Sanderson 53mins), Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey. Subs: Mary Phillip, Siobhan Chamberlain, Rachel Unitt, Sue Smith, Lindsay Johnson, Jody Handley.
Spain: Ainhoa Tirapu, Marta Torrejon, Melisa Nicolau, Itziar Gurrutxaga (sub Maria Paz Azagra 74mins), Laura Del Rio, Vanesa Gimber, Sandra Vilanova, Iraia Iturregi (sub Ruth Garcia 64mins), Noella Aybar, Gurutze Fernandez (sub Maria Jose Perez 62mins), Erika Vazquez. Subs: Marina Torras, Adriana Martin, Maria Paz Vilas, Maria Sanchez.
Photo - Karen Carney scores the winning goal for England (www.jamesprickett.co.uk).
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