Lauren James shone again with two fine goals as England put in their best performance of the Women’s World Cup so far to sweep aside China 6-1 and march into the last 16 as Group D winners.
Alessia Russo gave the European champions the perfect start on Tuesday with a goal in the fourth minute and Lauren Hemp and James added two more to give England a comfortable lead at the break at Australia’s Hindmarsh Stadium.
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Asian Cup champions China, who exit in the group stage for the first time in eight editions of the World Cup, came out firing in the second half and got a goal back through a Wang Shuang penalty.
James grabbed her third goal, however, before Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly also found the net to give England an emphatic victory as they head off to Brisbane to play Nigeria on Monday for a place in the quarterfinals.
The Lionesses equaled their biggest-ever World Cup win, after beating Argentina by the same score in 2007.
England also set a World Cup record by scoring in 16 consecutive games at the tournament.
Denmark defeated Haiti 2-0 in the other Group D match to come second and will face co-hosts Australia next.