England 1-0 Denmark - FIFA Women's World Cup match centre
- L. James (6′)
An early goal from Lauren James makes it two wins from two games for the Lionesses at the FIFA Women's World Cup
Highlights: England 1-0 Denmark
See the best of the action from Sydney as the Lionesses beat the Danes to register a second win in Australia
England v Denmark
FIFA Women's World Cup
9.30am BST, Friday 28 July 2023
Sydney Football Stadium, Australia
Denmark in profile
Nickname: The Red and White
Coach: Lars Sondergaard
Captain: Pernille Harder
What was said
Sarina Wiegman has revealed England will have a fully fit squad of 23 players to select from when they take on Denmark in their second group game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Lionesses head coach was joined by Lucy Bronze for the official pre-match press conference in Sydney, after almost a week of training at their new base camp in Terrigal.
And following their opening game victory over Haiti last weekend, all of the focus has since been on preparing for Friday’s match.
“What we’re trying to do is to play our own style of play, that means being tight on the ball, keep the ball moving and trying to create as many chances as possible and score goals,” said Wiegman.
“We want to play our possession game. That’s what we’re working on all the time, every day and what do we have to do to create chances and score goals.
“What we do is approach every game and first of all, we see who is fit and available and then we make the decision to what we need in the game, and then we decide whether to start with the same eleven or make some changes.
“We don’t prepare just for one player, Denmark is a very well organised team and they have a very clear game plan in possession and out of possession.
“[Pernille] Harder is a big part of that, but what we’ll try to do is have the ball a lot and play our style of game and then try to dominate.
“We’re always the team to beat, I’ve never experienced anything else and I think tomorrow we will have more possession of the ball, so let’s see how it goes.”
Featuring in her third World Cup, Bronze is one of the most experienced players in this year’s competition let alone the England squad.
And she believes the Lionesses have shown enough in their first game to suggest there is more to come in terms of performances and goals as the competition goes on.
England know that a victory over the Danes will be enough to secure progress to the knockout stages, which remains the key objective for the team.
“We’re focused on the fact that if we do well as a team, that should be enough for us to get a result,” said Bronze.
“Every game is important…you could go a whole way and win a World Cup by winning 1-0 or even drawing games and winning penalty shootouts.
“But obviously performances matter to us and the better you perform the more likely you are to win in general, but we’re winning the games that are important to us.
“We were pleased to win our first game at the World Cup and it’s not always about scoring seven goals. If you have enough to win the game, that’s important and the performances are there.
“At moments in games, we’ve seen really good performances by individuals and the collective team as well, it’s just about being a bit more ruthless and clinical in front of goal and I don’t think people will talk as much about results and performances then.”
There will be a familiar face in opposition to many of the England squad in the shape of Denmark’s Pernille Harder, who plies her trade in the Barclays WSL with Chelsea.
And Bronze knows she’s a player which England will have to deal with if they are to secure the three points.
“Pernille Harder’s strength as a player is probably dribbling with the ball and in attack, she’s a hard working player as well,” revealed the Barcelona ace.
“But that’s why they [Denmark] play her higher up because she’s got that quality on the ball that not many players in the world possess.
“We’ve seen that in the last few years as she’s been one of the best players in the world, not just at Chelsea but when she played at Wolfsburg and for Denmark, when they did well in the previous EUROs to last year.
“She’s a top player, but equally, we’ve got many of those in our England side as well.”
● This will be the 18th meeting between England (eight wins) and Denmark (six wins) in all competitions (D3), with the Lionesses winning each of the last three encounters, most recently a 2-0 victory in a friendly back in May 2019.
● This will be the first FIFA Women’s World Cup meeting between Denmark and England; however they have met three times previously at the European Championships, with the Lionesses winning the first two encounters (both in 1984) before losing in 2005 (1-2).
● Having failed to win any of their first five FIFA Women’s World Cup games against fellow European sides (D2 L3), England have since won four of their five games in the competition against such opposition, although they did lose their most recent such encounter, 2-1 against Sweden in 2019’s third place play-off.
● Denmark have lost all three of their FIFA Women’s World Cup games against European opposition, losing in 1991 against Norway (1-2) and Germany (1-2) and then in 1995 against Norway (1-3).
● Denmark have won two of their last three games at the FIFA Women's World Cup (L1), as many as they had in their first 12 (D1 L9). They're looking to win consecutive games at the tournament for the very first time.
● England have won eleven of their last 14 matches at the FIFA Women's World Cup (L3), with that win rate of 79% a stark contrast to their first 13 games in the competition (38% - 5 wins).
● England had eleven shots on target in their 1-0 win against Haiti, their most on record (since 2011) in a single FIFA Women's World Cup match. Alessia Russo had five of these, the most by a Lionesses player in the same period.
● Both of Denmark's shots on target in their 1-0 win over China PR on MD1 came in the final 15 minutes of the game, and both came via substitutes. Amalie Vangsgaard's 89th minute winner was their latest ever goal at the FIFA Women's World Cup.
● England have lost just one of their 33 matches under Sarina Wiegman in all competitions (W26 D6), going down 2-0 against Australia in April. However, the Lionesses have netted just twice in their last four (0.5 per game), having scored 137 times in their first 29 under Wiegman (4.7 per game).
● Only Beth Mead (39) has been involved in more goals for England under Wiegman than Georgia Stanway (26 – 14 goals, 12 assists), whose penalty gave the Lionesses victory over Haiti on MD1. Stanway also created more chances than any other player in that match (4).
Head to head
England's first meeting with the Danes came in September 1979 when we lost 3-1 in a friendly in Hvidovre.
Since then, it's been relatively tight between the nations with a total of 17 games played with England winning eight to Denmark's six, and then three draws.
Our last three games have all ended in wins for England, with details below.
England 2-0 Denmark
25 May 2019,
Banks's Stadium, Walsall
Goals from Nikita Parris and Jill Scott sealed a win for the Lionesses in the Midlands, as Phil Neville's squad prepared for the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France.
Denmark 1-2 England
1 July 2017
Gladsaxe Stadium, Copenhagen
Ellen White bagged a brace in the Danish capital as England were victorious in their final warm-up match ahead of UEFA Women's EURO 2017 in the Netherlands
England 1-0 Denmark
22 July 2009
County Ground, Swindon
It took a late header from Jody Handley to separate the teams in Swindon, in what was a friendly game ahead of the 2009 UEFA Women's EURO in Sweden.
How they got here
Captained by the inspirational former Chelsea midfielder Pernille Harder, the Danes will represent formidable opposition in Group D. Lars Sondergaard’s side sailed through their qualification for the tournament, winning all eight of their games in Group E, scoring 40 goals and conceding just two as they finished 13 points clear of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Their nearest rivals, Russia, were thrown out of the competition in March 2022 following the invasion of Ukraine, ensuring that the Danes secured qualification with two matches remaining.
Lyon striker, Signe Bruun, was in prolific form in qualification, scoring 13 goals as the Scandinavian side made it to their first World Cup since 2007. The 24 year old scored five in Denmark’s 8-0 thumping of Bosnia back in October 2021.
Denmark suffered a frustrating European Championship, finishing third in their group behind Germany and Spain – losing their final group game 1-0 against the latter following a 4-0 defeat against the eventual finalists. Since the EUROs, Denmark have been in solid form. In February’s Tournoi de France they finished as runners-up to France, losing 1-0 to the hosts before recording successive and comfortable victories against Norway and Uruguay. In April, they registered impressive 1-0 wins over Sweden and Japan.
Sarina Wiegman's thoughts on Denmark
“Of course, in the EURO, they struggled a little bit. They went to 4-5-1 and against Germany, they had a hard time. But then against Spain, in the third match, they gave Spain a very hard time and that was a tight match.
“They're well-organised, I think they learned a lot from the EURO and how they want to play.
“Of course, they have Pernille Harder, who is their key player, and they have lots of players that play in the UK.
“They're ranked 15th in the world and they have played some proper games in preparation and some different results, but they are a good team
From the archive: England 2-0 Denmark
A look in the archives from 2019, when the Lionesses met the Danes in a pre-World Cup warm-up in Walsall
England Squad News
How to watch or stream
The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup will be broadcast in the UK on BBC and ITV, with England versus Denmark being shown live on BBC1 and iPlayer.
The broadcast will begin at 9am ahead of the 9.30am kick-off.
Making her first start at a major tournament, James curled in a delightful effort in the sixth minute as the Lionesses came racing out of the blocks in Sydney.
The chances continued to come in an enterprising first quarter but the loss of midfield general Keira Walsh to injury took the shine off England’s best half of the tournament so far.
Sarina Wiegman's side faded as the game wore on and Denmark very nearly snatched a point in the closing stages, but Amalie Vangsgaard’s header deflected off the post as England held out to edge the first ever World Cup meeting between the sides.
Rachel Daly, brought into the side at left-back, will claim the assist for James’ goal but it was really all about the Chelsea star.
England’s No.7 picked the ball up in the inside left channel and turned before using Stine Ballisager as a marker to curl a delightful effort just inside Lene Christensen’s post.
England’s second-youngest scorer at a World Cup had two more opportunities as the midway point of the half approached, with a low shot saved before Lucy Bronze’s inviting cross rebounded off the Chelsea star and into the welcoming hands of Christensen.
Rikke Madsen was first to take aim, spinning smartly in the box before striking wide from an acute angle and minutes later Pernille Harder cut inside dangerously but the former Chelsea star fired her effort straight at Mary Earps.
England's corner chaos was a recurring theme of the first half as Denmark had no answer to their set-piece prowess – Lucy Bronze’s looped header landing just over the bar on the half hour mark.
The mood turned on the stroke of half time as Walsh exited the field on a stretcher with a suspected knee injury, adding to England’s star-studded absentee list, with Laura Coombs stepping into the midfield.
But it was Denmark’s Kathrine Kuhl who had the first genuine chance after the interval, poking her effort at Earps when the Arsenal star had the entire goal to aim at.
The tension escalated as the clock ticked towards full time, with much of the play taking place between the two back fours.
Denmark threw caution to the wind late on, with Earps tipping over a shot from Katrine Veje before substitute Vangsgaard ran across Daly and headed onto the post from close range.
England then survived four minutes of stoppage time to see out their second consecutive 1-0 win of the tournament and they will qualify for the knockout stages if China fail to beat Haiti in Friday's final game.
Substitutes: 17 Laura Coombs (Manchester City) for Walsh 38’, 19 Bethany England (Tottenham Hotspur) for Russo 76’, 11 Lauren Hemp (Manchester City) for Toone 76’
Substitutes not used: 3 Niamh Charles (Chelsea), 12 Jordan Nobbs (Aston Villa), 13 Hannah Hampton (Chelsea) 14 Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal), 15 Esme Morgan (Manchester City), 16 Jess Carter (Chelsea), 20 Katie Zelem (Manchester United), 21 Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), 22 Katie Robinson (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Goals: James 6’
Head coach: Sarina Wiegman
Denmark: 1 Lene Christensen, 2 Josefine Hasbo, 3 Stine Ballisager, 4 Rikke Sevecke, 5 Simone Boye, 6 Karen Holmgaard, 10 Pernille Harder, 11 Katrine Veje, 12 Kathrine Kuhl, 17 Rikke Madsen, 19 Janni Thomsen.
Substitutes: 9 Amalie Vangsgaard for Hasbo 71’, 14 Nicoline Sorensen for Madsen 76’, 15 Frederikke Thogersen for Ballisager 76’, 7 Sanne Troelsgaard for Holmgaard 88’
Substitutes not used: 8 Emma Snerle, 13 Sara Thrige, 16 Kathrine Larsen, 18 Luna Gevitz, 20 Signe Bruun, 21 Mille Gejl, 22 Maja Bay Ostergaard, 23 Sofie Svava
Head coach: Lars Sondergaard