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England 6 (Taylor 10,25,52, White 31, Nobbs 81, Duggan 90)
Jodie Taylor scored a hat-trick as England began their Euro 2017 Finals campaign with a crushing victory over Scotland in Utrecht.
Things could hardly have gone better for England Head Coach Mark Sampson if he had written the script himself, but it was a nightmare Finals debut for Scotland.
The game almost got off to a sensational start as, with only 28 seconds on the clock, Jane Ross tried her luck with a speculative shot from 30 yards which was tipped over the bar by Karen Bardsley.
However this was to prove a false dawn for Scotland as England wrested control straight away and pushed a nervous looking Scottish side onto the defensive.
The breakthrough came with ten minutes on the clock, Lucy Bronze sliding a through ball which was not dealt with by the Scotland defence, and this allowed Jodie Taylor to run clear on goal and she showed good composure to slide her shot past Gemma Fay for the opener.
Scotland were finding it hard to contain Taylor, who was in rampaging form, and Fran Kirby was also causing problems in her role just behind the front two. Indeed it was a foul on Kirby which led to England increasing their lead, Jordan Nobbs floating in the resulting free kick which could not be cleared and after Bronze's shot was blocked on the line by Caroline Weir, Taylor reacted quickly to hook the rebound past Fay for her second goal.
England were looking like scoring every time they attacked at this stage and a third was not too long in coming. Jill Scott's 20-yard strike came back off the bar and, with the Scotland defence caught flat footed, Ellen White slid in to tuck home the rebound and put them three ahead.
Scotland also had the first attempt on goal in the second half when a corner was punched away by Bardsley as far as Ross whose first time shot flew over.
However it was England, and Taylor once again, who were to be clinical in goal once again shortly afterwards. Houghton's long ball was nodded on by White for Taylor who once more eluded her markers before deftly lobbing the oncoming Fay to complete her hat-trick.
England withdrew Taylor on the hour mark to deserved applause and Scotland were dealt a further blow four minutes later as Ross - their best player on the night by some distance - was forced off with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.
Lana Clelland did get a sight of goal when she broke down the right and shrugged off a challenge from Millie Bright but shot wastefully into the side netting when Erin Cuthbert was better placed. England responded right away with Toni Duggan neatly exchanging passes with Bronze before her shot brought out a good save from Fay.
Bright drove a low shot across the face of goal after another Nobbs free kick caused problems for Scotland but the fifth was to come five minutes later, Karen Carney's cross from the left was half cleared by Dieke and Nobbs executed a sweetly struck volley from 16 yards into the top corner, giving Fay no chance.
There was no let up from England and with the final touch of the game, they rounded off a perfect night with another goal. Carney's corner was headed firmly goalwards by Houghton and an unmarked Duggan glanced the ball past Fay from six yards out.
England can therefore look back on very satisfying start to the tournament for themselves and will march confidently on to their second group match against Spain on Sunday. Scotland, meanwhile, have been left to reflect on a night where nothing went right and look to put things right in their next game against Portugal.
Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Jill Scott, Millie Bright, Steph Houghton, Jordan Nobbs, Jade Moore, Jodie Taylor (sub Toni Duggan 59mins), Fran Kirby (sub Nikita Parris 64mins), Ellen White (sub Karen Carney 74mins).
Gemma Fay, Frankie Brown, Chloe Arthur, Ifeoma Dieke, Vaila Barsley, Rachel Corsie (sub Joanne Love 75mins), Fiona Brown (sub Lana Clelland 45mins), Jane Ross (sub Erin Cuthbert 63mins), Caroline Weir, Leanne Crichton, Lisa Evans.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Jodie Taylor gives England the lead
(middle) Ellen White slides in to score England's third goal
(bottom) Jodie Taylor lobs home to complete her hat-trick
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