My premonition about England team-mate Lauren James came true – Rachel Daly

By Sports Desk August 02, 2023

Rachel Daly revealed her pre-match premonition about England team-mate Lauren James came true on Tuesday night after the Chelsea prodigy scored twice and picked up three assists in the 6-1 victory over China at the World Cup.

James, 21, became the first England player of either gender to be directly involved in five or more goals in a World Cup match as the Lionesses clinched top of group D to set up a last-16 meeting with Nigeria in Brisbane on Monday.

Daly was one of five Lionesses who got their names on the scoresheet at Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium, where boss Sarina Wiegman switched to an inspired 3-5-2 system in the wake of an undisclosed knee injury to midfield maestro Keira Walsh.

Versatile Daly, who happily occupied an unfamiliar left wing-back role in the shake-up, said: “I will just say one thing, last night (Monday) we were walking round the pitch and we have come out of here and there’s the ‘player of the match’ sign as you walk out. I said: ‘Have a look at that kid, because that will be you tomorrow night’.

“That’s how much we back her! She is unbelievable. I have got no more words to say about her. She is growing and growing and the most important thing is we keep around her.

“She is a young player at the end of the day and she’s learning every day. She can pick up little bits from the older players, but she is LJ – and she’s brilliant.

“She has got great technical ability, but those (goals) come out in training all the time. It’s nothing new for us.

“Like I said the other day, it’s just nice for the rest of the world to see how good she is. ‘Cheat code’ as everyone is calling her. That’s what she is.”

England only scored once in each of their first two group-stage victories, first through Georgia Stanway’s penalty against Haiti before James netted six minutes into her first World Cup start, ultimately enough for three points against Denmark.

Tournament veteran Daly – who started every game of England’s European championship-winning campaign – had called for patience earlier in the week over concerns that the Lionesses were not living up to their world number four billing, particularly in attack against a Haiti side 49 places below them in FIFA’s world rankings.

Others joined her, often accompanying the call with a reminder that this was not the same squad that lifted the trophy at Wembley 367 days ago, following the retirements of Ellen White and Jill Scott and injuries to Beth Mead, Fran Kirby and Leah Williamson.

Walsh, who was also part of that triumph, remained at England base camp on Tuesday after it was determined she did not injure her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), though her status for the remainder of the tournament remains unclear.

Daly said: “I think obviously there has been a lot of criticism about us not being ruthless enough.

“I said we would grow into the games and it’s tournament football. It’s not about the first, second, third win, it’s how we grow into it.

“We knew it would come and that it would only be a matter of time before we scored goals – and there were some unbelievable goals on display (against China).

“I think (the formation change) is what tournament football is all about. We have got that in our locker now.

“We know that we can do that system and keep growing and working on that.

“We obviously can revert back to type with a 4-3-3. It’s another weapon in the armoury.”

Related items

  • LA Galaxy v New York City FC: Vanney lauds resilience LA Galaxy v New York City FC: Vanney lauds resilience

    Greg Vanney continues to battle without standout LA Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig as his side prepare to host New York City FC on Wednesday in MLS.

    The Los Angeles outfit are unbeaten throughout this season at their home Dignity Health Sports Park after overcoming Sporting Kansas City 4-2 on Saturday.

    Vanney's men are yet to lose through eight games on their own turf, sitting third in the Western Conference and just three points behind leaders Real Salt Lake.

    Yet the Galaxy remain without star man Puig, formerly of Barcelona, as Vanney continues to work around the Spaniard's absence.

    "I think for me, we are positionally a little bit more stable," Vanney said, before lauding Puig.

    "Our two pivots stayed in our pivots. [Against SKC] we were able to – we were more predictable even for each other in terms of our spots.

    "When Riqui is on the field, he starts high, comes low, he defends high, he drops low. That sets a series of moments into play that are hard to defend, and Riqui has special qualities to be able to change the tempo of the game like nobody else in our league.

    "If Riqui is here, if we can do both, stay inside the systems and use his qualities in the best way possible, and we have even another level [to go to]."

    New York are fourth in the Eastern Conference after a 3-2 home defeat to Columbus Crew last time out – the visitors recording four straight wins on the road on Friday.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    LA Galaxy – Dejan Joveljic

    Dejan Joveljic recorded his team-leading 10th goal of the season and an assist in the win over Kansas City.

    Joveljic ranks tied for sixth in MLS for goals scored during the 2024 campaign and will be keen to add to that tally here.

    New York City FC – Santiago Rodriguez

    Santiago Rodriguez remains the leading light of the New York attack, netting his seventh goal of the campaign in the defeat to Columbus.

    The Pigeons attacker has more MLS strikes than any team-mate this term, though Cushing will be desperate his goals can help New York to victory this time around.

    MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

    The Galaxy are unbeaten in their first eight home matches of the season (W5 D3) for the first time since 2016 (15 straight) including winning the last three in a row at home. They have lost only one of their last 18 regular-season home matches dating back to last June (W9 D8).

    NYCFC have won four of their six all-time meetings with the Galaxy, though LA won the last meeting, 1-0, in February 2022. This will be the seventh meeting between the sides and the fifth in Carson.

    NYCFC have won their last three road matches after winning just one of their previous 23 on the road in all competitions dating back to the start of the 2023 season (D9 L13). This run equals their longest-ever road winning streak, having also won three in a row away from home in April-May 2019.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    LA Galaxy – 41.7%

    New York City FC – 31.7%

    Draw – 26.7%

  • Vertonghen confident Belgium can regain clinical edge Vertonghen confident Belgium can regain clinical edge

    Jan Vertonghen believes Belgium will be able to handle the pressure and bounce back from their first Euro 2024 defeat.

    Slovakia earned a surprise win over the Red Devils thanks to Ivan Schranz's early goal, and a wasteful Belgium were unable to salvage a point.

    Lukaku thought he had twice equalised, though both strikes were ruled out, the first for offside and the second by VAR for a handball in the build-up.

    Despite an early setback in the tournament, Vertonghen is confident his side will be able to quickly put it behind them when they face Romania next time out.

    "Obviously, the team is very disappointed after yesterday's result," Vertonghen said.

    "You always want the first game at a tournament to take the pressure away a bit, but now the pressure is probably even more and that's why we're disappointed. We're not disappointed in the way we played, or the chances we created or the way we defended.

    "[To change our style] would be a mistake in my opinion. Obviously, the easy answer is to score goals and avoid conceding any. But yeah, the mindset is key, to attack and then to win and to keep doing what we've been doing for the previous 15 matches.

    "I would be more worried if we didn't have the quality, so I'm confident we will score on Saturday."

    Belgium missed four Opta-defined big chances in this match, the first time they’d done so in a European Championship game since 1980 against Spain, with three of those falling to Lukaku.

    The striker created an xG of 0.82 from his three shots over 90 minutes, cutting a frustrated figure on the pitch.

    It is also the first time that Belgium have lost since 27 November 2022 against Morocco in the World Cup, ending a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions (W10 D5).

  • LA Galaxy vs New York City FC: Vanney lauds resilience LA Galaxy vs New York City FC: Vanney lauds resilience

    Greg Vanney continues to battle without standout LA Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig as his side prepare to host New York City FC on Wednesday in MLS.

    The Los Angeles outfit are unbeaten throughout this season at their home Dignity Health Sports Park after overcoming Sporting Kansas City 4-2 on Saturday.

    Vanney's men are yet to lose through eight games on their own turf, sitting third in the Western Conference and just three points behind leaders Real Salt Lake.

    Yet the Galaxy remain without star man Puig, formerly of Barcelona, as Vanney continues to work around the Spaniard's absence.

    "I think for me, we are positionally a little bit more stable," Vanney said, before lauding Puig.

    "Our two pivots stayed in our pivots. [Against SKC] we were able to – we were more predictable even for each other in terms of our spots.

    "When Riqui is on the field, he starts high, comes low, he defends high, he drops low. That sets a series of moments into play that are hard to defend, and Riqui has special qualities to be able to change the tempo of the game like nobody else in our league.

    "If Riqui is here, if we can do both, stay inside the systems and use his qualities in the best way possible, and we have even another level [to go to]."

    New York are fourth in the Eastern Conference after a 3-2 home defeat to Columbus Crew last time out – the visitors recording four straight wins on the road on Friday.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    LA Galaxy – Dejan Joveljic

    Dejan Joveljic recorded his team-leading 10th goal of the season and an assist in the win over Kansas City.

    Joveljic ranks tied for sixth in MLS for goals scored during the 2024 campaign and will be keen to add to that tally here.

    New York City FC – Santiago Rodriguez

    Santiago Rodriguez remains the leading light of the New York attack, netting his seventh goal of the campaign in the defeat to Columbus.

    The Pigeons attacker has more MLS strikes than any team-mate this term, though Cushing will be desperate his goals can help New York to victory this time around.

    MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

    The Galaxy are unbeaten in their first eight home matches of the season (W5 D3) for the first time since 2016 (15 straight) including winning the last three in a row at home. They have lost only one of their last 18 regular-season home matches dating back to last June (W9 D8).

    NYCFC have won four of their six all-time meetings with the Galaxy, though LA won the last meeting, 1-0, in February 2022. This will be the seventh meeting between the sides and the fifth in Carson.

    NYCFC have won their last three road matches after winning just one of their previous 23 on the road in all competitions dating back to the start of the 2023 season (D9 L13). This run equals their longest-ever road winning streak, having also won three in a row away from home in April-May 2019.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    LA Galaxy – 41.7%

    New York City FC – 31.7%

    Draw – 26.7%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.