England open their Arnold Clark Cup campaign with a comfortable win over South Korea.
Updated: Feb 17
England 4-0 South Korea - the latest episode of The Lauren James Show.
England have been among the better teams in the world for some time now, but post Euro victory they have a newfound reputation as truly one of the very best. This is reflected in how teams will approach playing England and perhaps serves to explain the opposition whom are participating alongside them in the Arnold Clark Cup. England will face three good teams who they will be the favourites against and it's up to them to get used to that and to adjust to teams playing very deep and very compact against them.
South Korea, who to be fair to them are almost all in pre-season, really put this into action from the get go.
The first half wasn't vintage. England had spent so much time in international camp for the last 6 months of 2022 they were basically a club team. This is their first camp in since November and, to put it simply, you could tell.
As mentioned, South Korea were playing very deep, the pitch was not very good to say the least and England looked understandably a bit disjointed. They had some nice combinations at times but there was a lack of patience and quality on the ball. Alessia Russo was rather isolated which shouldn't have really been the case given England's dominance.
England had a number of miscued chances as they blew the cobwebs off.
The highlight of the first half was Lauren James, she’s probably comfortably Englands best player already and was definitely comfortably the best player on the pitch in Milton Keynes. It's difficult to find the superlatives really because she is all of them, and she's likely only going to get better.
James won the penalty which Georgia Stanway converted very emphatically to break the deadlock 5 minutes before half time.
England opened the second half with quite a bit more rhythm scoring 2 goals in 5 minutes to put the game to bed with some conviction. It was Chloe Kelly (with thanks to a massive deflection of Lee Geum Min) who got England's second 16 seconds into the half. Alessia Russo (with thanks to some questionable defending) executed an impressive near post finish less than 5 minutes later and England looked to have loosened up.
England continued to keep sustained pressure as South Korea began to wilt. England showed their fast developing depth bringing on the likes of Rachel Daly, who seems to finally be viewed as a striker by England, Lauren Hemp, and Laura Coombs for her first international appearance in 8 years.
The best player on the pitch got England's fourth, James' first (probably of very many) for England. with an excellent shifting first touch and a finish nearly more emphatic than Stanway's penalty.
England saw out the rest of the game in cruise control and should've had a fifth through Katie Robinson who specularly managed to hit the post facing an open goal about 5 yards out. She'll be dreaming about that later.
Overall a very comfortable victory for England, the context of the opposition has to be considered but there is still a lot to be excited about. They showed yet again that they always have another gear - and now they have Lauren James too.