England beat Japan 2-0 to take Group B honours


England booked their ticket to the quarter-finals of the 2011 women’s World Cup on Tuesday with an impressive 2-0 victory over Japan to claim first place in Group B. Ellen White gave England the best start possible with a 1-0 lead after 15 minutes and Rachel Yankey sealed the victory after 66 minutes.
In the meantime, the strong English defence held the vaunted Japan attack — nicknamed the Barcelona of women’s football — in check the entire game. England win the group with seven points while Japan, who had already qualified for the final eight, finish with six points. In the quarters, England will play whichever team out of France and Germany finishes second in Group A, with Japan to face the group winners.
The victory was England’s first ever over Japan following a 2-2 draw at the 2007 World Cup, while Japan have yet to beat a European opponent in nine World Cup matches. Japanese boss Norio Sasaki kept the same starting XI for the third straight game, but England head coach Hope Powell made four changes to her line-up, with the main move being captain Faye White left out for precautionary reasons in the defence, with Sophie Bradley taking her place.
Veteran Anita Asante made her 2011 World Cup debut in the midfield for Fara Williams, while Karen Carney and White took over from Eniola Aluko and Yankey in attack. In front of 20,777 spectators in Augsburg, Japan were the more dangerous side early in the game, going close with a couple of long-range shots after snatching balls in the midfield.