DOETINCHEM, Netherlands, July 20, (AFP): Jodie Taylor scored a hat-trick as England demolished newcomers Scotland 6-0 at the women’s European Championship while Spain cruised past Portugal in their opening Group D match in the Netherlands on Wednesday.
In Utrecht, Arsenal striker Taylor struck an 11th-minute opener, capitalising on a run by Lucy Bronze, before firing home again in the 27th minute following a goalmouth scramble.
Ellen White made it 3-0 five minutes later from a rebound after Jill Scott’s long-range blast hit the crossbar, and Taylor completed her hat-trick on 53 minutes, chipping the ball over Gemma Fay in the Scottish goal following a flick-on header from White.
Jordan Nobbs scored a fifth goal three minutes from the end with a volley and substitute Toni Duggan rounded off the rout with a header in stoppage time as England recorded the biggest margin of victory in tournament history.
“I’m happy to get three goals but I wouldn’t be able to score without the service of the team,” said Taylor.
“The last two years have been tough. It’s a huge achievement for myself to be here.”
Scotland had a decent chance in each half but were outclassed on their first appearance at a major competition and extended their losing streak against England in competitive matches to seven. “It was a tough debut for us, but I think we played against a very, very good side, a contender in this tournament,” said Scotland coach Anna Signeul.
“We’re disappointed to lose by so many goals. We will learn from this, we’ll work on our resilience and we’ll come back. It’s not over.”
In Doetinchem, first-half goals from Vicky Losada and Amanda Sampedro handed Spain a convincing 2-0 win against Euro debutants Portugal.
Barcelona midfielder Losada opened the score on 23 minutes after a long pass from Andrea Pereira, slamming the ball past the helpless keeper Patricia Morais.
Atletico’s Sampedro made it 2-0 three minutes before half-time, heading in a cross from Mariona Caldentey.
“I’m happy with the result, our first half was almost perfect,” said Spain coach Jorge Vilda.
“They are really strong defensively, but we were better.”
Spain, who won twice against Portugal in the Euro 2017 qualifying campaign, started with seven players from Champions League semi-finalists Barcelona.
They showed their dominance from the beginning, with Jennifer Hermoso firing over the bar early in the game while Silvia Meseguer was denied by Morais after a fine exchange in the box.
The second half was very much in the same vein.
Spain were in control, barely letting their rivals cross the halfway line and restricting Portugal to a single shot from captain Claudia Neto which went wide.
At the other end, Hermoso saw her overhead kick headed to safety by a defender and Losada’s long-range attempt was cleared by Morais who also stopped a vicious volley from substitute Maria Paz.
“We knew we would have to close all gaps in the first half but didn’t do it,” said Portugal coach Francisco Neto.
“It’s not easy to have ball possession against a team like Spain.”