Keira Walsh injured her knee - and is likely to be out for the time being
Dean Lewins v EPA
The cross with the knee: Actually, everything went according to plan for England. The European champions dominated Denmark and made a much more lively impression than in the tired 1-0 opening win against Haiti. Then Keira Walsh got stuck in the grass about ten minutes before the end of the first half, slumped and immediately hinted: It can't go on. The midfield engine was carried off the pitch on a stretcher, the fans looked drowsy, but gave encouraging applause. It is not for nothing that FC Barcelona paid more than 400,000 euros to Manchester City, more than ever invested in a female footballer.
The result: England defeated Denmark 1-0 (1-0) and are almost certain of a place in the round of 13 in Group D after two victories. Denmark is currently in second place. The group opponents China and Haiti, who have not scored points so far, will play against each other on Friday at <> p.m.
Next, please: How badly Walsh is injured is still unclear. But the fact that she couldn't leave the pitch on her own suggests the worst. And that's what the English know all about: midfielder Fran Kirby withdrew from the trip to Australia after knee surgery, as did European Championship top scorer Beth Mead and captain Leah Williamson, who are out with torn cruciate ligaments. Top players from other nations such as Germany's Giulia Gwinn or Sweden's Hanna Glas are also absent due to such an injury, it's a huge problem in women's football, the reasons are manifold.
Read more about why so many serious knee injuries occur here.
Arrived in the tournament: Against Haiti, England's attacking game faltered alarmingly. In the second group game, the »Three Lionesses« finally whirled in their usual manner at the beginning. Again and again, they cleverly shifted the game to the outside, looking for one-on-one. Consequently, the early 1-0 was also scored by the strong Lauren James. The 21-year-old Chelsea player got the ball, dribbled three or four metres towards the sixteen and slotted fantastically into the right corner (6th minute). This was followed by chances every minute by James (20th/21st) and Lucy Bronze (34th).
Pernille alone at home: Denmark, on the other hand, shifted to counterattacking, that's their game. For a long time, however, the Scandinavians could not get past the midfield wall Walsh, Lucy Bronze and Bayern player Georgia Stanway. It wasn't until the middle of the first half that Denmark got through better with their lightning attacks, Madsen missed a promising opportunity, otherwise there was often a lack of precision. Top star Pernille Harder, who will be on the ball for FC Bayern next season, was too often left to her own devices.
Passport with you? The Danes have moved into their World Cup quarters in Perth, in southwestern Australia. The match against Denmark took place in Sydney, about a five-hour flight away on the east coast. "I think we saw the long journey as a problem before we came to Australia, but now we've gotten used to it. I think we travel very comfortably," said national coach Lars Søndergaard. However, his team did not look very fresh in the game against England, especially at the beginning.
Without esprit: In the second half, England was also the team that determined the game, but the attacking vortex from the beginning of the game was clearly weakened. The Danes defended without much effort, but also did not have much to offer up front. It was only when the English gave the ball away carelessly that it became dangerous. It was Denmark's second staid performance after a narrow win over China in the opener. The 2017 European Championship runner-up is struggling to get his horsepower on the road.
The big tremor: Even though it wasn't a particularly respectable game in the second half, it always remained exciting. In the Sydney National Stadium, which was mainly filled with English fans, it remained suspiciously quiet, which was probably due to Walsh's injury, but also because all the fans knew: The Danes can always be trusted to score. The goal was scored shortly before the end against China, and the Danes also turned up the heat late against England: substitute Nicoline Sørensen crossed from the left, in the penalty area the also new Amalie Vangsgaard got her head on the ball - but only hit the post (87th). Vangsgaard had scored against China – she may be allowed to start soon.
Here's what's next: England play against China on Tuesday (13 p.m.), one point is definitely enough to progress. Coach Sarina Wiegman may then be able to experiment a little on how to continue playing without Walsh. Denmark will face Haiti at the same time, then still have a chance of progressing, but should improve as much as possible.