SheBelieves Cup

England 1-0 Japan: White gives Lionesses late SheBelieves Cup win

By Emma SandersBBC Sport in New Jersey

Ellen White came off the bench to score a late winner as England beat Japan in their second SheBelieves Cup match in New Jersey.

White coolly slotted the ball past the keeper from close range after Toni Duggan, who was also a second-half substitute, won possession on the edge of the box.

It keeps alive England's slim hopes of defending their SheBelieves Cup title, after they lost to world champions the USA in their opening match on Thursday.

Bethany England and Lauren Hemp were denied by Japan keeper Sakiko Ikeda in the first half as England improved on their loss in Orlando, but still lacked the sharpness they showed in last year's competition.

Japan had chances in the first half too - Mina Tanaka was able to get in behind the defence on two occasions but failed to capitalise.

And England keeper Ellie Roebuck had to scramble to get across to Hina Sugita's long-range effort, which hit the post.

The Lionesses take on Spain in their final match of the round-robin event in Frisco, Texas, on Wednesday (21:15 GMT).

Spain, who also beat Japan in their opening fixture, suffered a late defeat to the USA on Sunday when midfielder Julie Ertz nodded in from close-range with four minutes remaining.

Young players create but lack ruthless touch

Lauren Hemp playing for England against Japan
Manchester City forward Lauren Hemp kept het place in the England attack

Neville, whose starting line up had an average age of 21, opted for a front three of 19-year-old Lauren Hemp, 22-year-old Chloe Kelly and 25-year-old Bethany England - who went into Sunday's game with 12 caps between them.

They showed confidence on the ball and fluidity on the whole but could not take the chances which they created between themselves.

Hemp, making a second successive start after impressing against the USA on Thursday, had the best chance of the game within the opening five minutes.

She was played in by England and got there ahead of the defender but couldn't disguise the direction of her shot when one-on-one with the keeper.

England was then gifted a great opportunity after a neat pass from Kelly on the right but the Chelsea striker - joint-top scorer in the Women's Super League this season - struck it straight at Ikeda, who had a busy half in goal for Japan.

Moments later, England's driving run created space for Jordan Nobbs to put in a cross from the right and Hemp, under pressure from the full-back, couldn't quite get on the end of it.

England came close again with a powerful shot from the right that Georgia Stanway, following up on the rebound, could only fire over the bar from the edge of the box. And a diving header from England in the second half was straight at the keeper.

Neville said before the tournament he wanted the young players to go out there "with no fear" and ultimately they did that - dribbling at defenders, taking on players and switching positions across the front three. But they just lacked the clinical edge that World Cup top scorer White was able to provide when it mattered.

Experience takes England over the line

Jordan Nobbs playing for England against Japan
Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs is back in the England team after missing the 2019 World Cup through injury

There have been calls for Neville to give opportunities to the youth and he did that, but ultimately it was the tried and tested which got England over the line.

Duggan, who has struggled with niggling injuries since the World Cup, came on and made an impact - winning the ball back for the goal and curling in the perfect cross for White to slide home.

Striker England said: "I was disappointed in myself to not put away the chances. I would usually back myself but thankfully Ellen does what Ellen does best - and put the ball in the net to get the win."

The experienced players provided that clinical edge England missed in the first half and Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs described Duggan's performance as a substitute as "amazing".

"We could have had a few more goals in the first half," Nobbs told BBC Sport. "Our front three and our subs coming on were phenomenal. We have a very exciting forward line.

"When [Duggan] came on she made a big difference. That's what we need - players who do a job on the pitch and players who can come on and win us the game."



Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Ikeda
  • 2ShimizuSubstituted forEndoat 45'minutes
  • 22Mayo
  • 3Miyake
  • 16Miyagawa
  • 10Momiki
  • 6SugitaBooked at 61mins
  • 17Miura
  • 7Nakajima
  • 8IwabuchiSubstituted forUekiat 66'minutes
  • 15TanakaSubstituted forUenoat 76'minutes


  • 4Kumagai
  • 5Minami
  • 9Sugasawa
  • 11Ueki
  • 12Naomoto
  • 13Ikejiri
  • 14Hasegawa
  • 18Yamashita
  • 19Endo
  • 20Matsubara
  • 21Hirao
  • 23Ueno


Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 13Roebuck
  • 2Daly
  • 5Houghton
  • 6Bright
  • 12Stokes
  • 4WalshSubstituted forWilliamsonat 60'minutes
  • 22KellyBooked at 54minsSubstituted forParrisat 60'minutes
  • 10NobbsSubstituted forScottat 90+2'minutes
  • 16StanwaySubstituted forStaniforthat 69'minutes
  • 20HempSubstituted forDugganat 60'minutes
  • 9EnglandSubstituted forWhiteat 69'minutes


  • 1Telford
  • 3Greenwood
  • 7Parris
  • 8Scott
  • 11Duggan
  • 14Williamson
  • 15McManus
  • 17Staniforth
  • 18White
  • 19Russo
  • 21MacIver
  • 23Fisk
Ekaterina Koroleva

Match Stats

Home TeamJapanAway TeamEngland
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Japan 0, England 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Japan 0, England 1.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, England. Jill Scott replaces Jordan Nobbs.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Emi Nakajima (Japan) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Yuka Momiki.

  5. Post update

    Offside, England. Toni Duggan tries a through ball, but Ellen White is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Riko Ueki (Japan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Nikita Parris (England).

  8. Post update

    Attempt saved. Toni Duggan (England) right footed shot from long range on the left is saved in the bottom right corner.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Japan 0, England 1. Ellen White (England) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Toni Duggan.

  10. Post update

    Corner, England. Conceded by Asato Miyagawa.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nikita Parris (England) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Doko Mayo (Japan).

  13. Post update

    Toni Duggan (England) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Riko Ueki (Japan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Rachel Daly (England).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Japan. Mami Ueno replaces Mina Tanaka.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jordan Nobbs (England) right footed shot from outside the box is too high following a set piece situation.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Riko Ueki (Japan).

  19. Post update

    Jordan Nobbs (England) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Japan. Conceded by Stephanie Houghton.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 8th March 2020

As It Stood

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