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att: 7,047; at Prenton Park, Tranmere Rovers FC>
England 6 (Parris 11, Taylor 13, Nobbs 36, Bronze 44, Duggan 57,84)
att: 7,047; at Prenton Park, Tranmere Rovers FC
England started their World Cup qualifying campaign with an emphatic victory over Russia at Prenton Park.
Four of the goals came from Merseyside-born players and the margin could well have been much greater but for a fine performance from Russian goalkeeper Tatyana Shcherbak which included a first half penalty save.
England went on the offensive from the start and were rewarded with eleven minutes on the clock, Fran Kirby's pass picking out Nikita Parris who steered a low shot inside the far post for the opener.
Before Russia could recover, the second goal came and Kirby was once again the provider, this time with a superb pass which released Jodie Taylor on goal and she slotted confidently past Shcherbak.
Ksenia Tsybutovich fired a free kick narrowly over at the other end but England had a great chance at the midway point when Kirby's shot was blocked by the arm of Tsybutovich and a penalty was awarded. The defender was shown a second yellow card and left the field but Kirby was unable to score from the spot, Shcherbak guessing the right way to make a save.
England did not stop pressing though against their depleted opponents and the third goal came when Kirby exchanged passes with Toni Duggan before finding Jordan Nobbs who took a touch before drilling home.
On the stroke of half time, a quickly taken corner ended with Kirby's cross being half cleared as far as Lucy Bronze who volleyed an unstoppable shot into the top corner to make it four.
The pattern of the game continued after the break with England seeking more goals and the next one came twelve minutes after the restart. Bronze played a one-two with Kirby as she burst forward into the area before cutting the ball across goal for Duggan to plant home a shot from eight yards.
England replaced their front three with Karen Carney, Ellen White and Izzy Christiansen, and went close to further extending their lead on a number of occasions but were denied by the overworked Shcherbak, who pulled off a string of saves.
However with six minutes remaining, a badly miscued clearance from Anna Kozhnikova dropped to the edge of the area where Duggan coolly sidefooted into the empty net.
Ekaterina Pantyukhina hit the bar in injury time for Russia but, in truth, they had looked a poor side all match and England could look back on a highly satisfying start to their group.
Siobhan Chamberlain, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Jordan Nobbs, Steph Houghton, Millie Bright, Nikita Parris (sub Karen Carney 61mins), Jade Moore, Jodie Taylor (sub Ellen White 65mins), Fran Kirby (sub Izzy Christiansen 70mins), Toni Duggan. Subs not used: Laura Bassett, Carly Telford, Alex Greenwood, Jill Scott.
Tatyana Shcherbak, Anna Kozhnikova, Anna Cholovyaga (sub Anna Belomyttseva 33mins), Nadezhda Smirnova, Ekaterina Sochneva (sub Ekaterina Pantyukhina 79mins), Elena Danilova, Marina Fedorova, Elvira Ziyastinova, Ksenia Tsybutovich, Kseniya Kovalenko, Elena Morozova. Subs not used: Tatiana Sheykina, Natalya Mashina, Irina Podshibyakina, Maria Galay, Alena Belyaeva.
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