England Women's player ratings vs China: Lauren James can't be stopped! Lionesses truly arrive at the World Cup as Chelsea star dominates while Alessia Russo finds form

Lauren James England Women 2023
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It was a night to remember for the European champions in Adelaide, and it was their 21-year-old superstar who stole the show again

England secured top spot in Group D and a place in the Women's World Cup last 16 on Tuesday in Adelaide after beating China, the Asian champions, 6-1 in an intriguing and exciting display. Goals came from Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp, Lauren James, Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly, with James getting two in a fantastic performance.

Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman opted to change her team's system for this match and it worked brilliantly, with there only four minutes on the clock when Russo broke the deadlock. From there, it was a one-sided contest, Hemp's cool finish coming before the half-hour mark while James made sure it was 3-0 at half-time with a gorgeous effort from the edge of the box.

China got back into the game when Wang Shuang netted from the spot after Lucy Bronze was penalised for handball, but James restored the three-goal cushion with a delightful side-footed volley before Kelly and Daly put the icing on the cake late on.

GOAL rates England's players from Hindmarsh Stadium...

  1. Goalkeeper & Defence
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    Goalkeeper & Defence

    Mary Earps (6/10):

    Too harsh to say she was at fault a little for the penalty, in pushing Bronze towards the ball? Maybe. Made a great late save to deny China a second.

    Jess Carter (7/10):

    Solid at the back upon her return to the side. Played in a wonderful cross for James' second goal.

    Millie Bright (7/10):

    Excellent battling and determination to plat a key role in Hemp's goal. Strong at the back, too.

    Alex Greenwood (7/10):

    Came up with a number of good headers and defensive interventions when China did get forward. Picked out James well to set her up for her first goal of the night.

  2. Midfield
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    Midfield

    Lucy Bronze (7/10):

    Wing-back really suited her and allowed her to bomb on down the right, getting into the box a lot to cause problems.

    Katie Zelem (7/10):

    Looked comfortable and composed on her first ever start for England and took good set-pieces, too.

    Georgia Stanway (6/10):

    Solid again before being subbed at half-time to protect her from getting a yellow card that would've suspended her in the last 16.

    Lauren James (9/10):

    Excellent footwork was on show throughout, allowing her to get out of tight spaces to create chances, and her two goals were sublime. Star of the show, again, with three assists also to her name.

    Rachel Daly (8/10):

    She wasn't playing as a centre-forward but she took up a lot of positions that one would, with this system really helping to make her stand out in attack, as showcased by her late goal.

  3. Attack
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    Attack

    Alessia Russo (8/10):

    Scored a brilliant goal that will've done her confidence so much good given her recent struggles in front of goal. Was truly excellent in possession, too, with this system suiting her to a tee.

    Lauren Hemp (7/10):

    Occupied a lot of good positions in the box, especially with Russo roaming, and finished superbly for her goal.

  4. Subs & Manager
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    Subs & Manager

    Laura Coombs (5/10):

    Replaced Stanway at the break but couldn't get into the game.

    Niamh Charles (5/10):

    Came on with 20 minutes to go as part of a triple sub but wasn't as much of a force as Bronze in the right wing-back role.

    Bethany England (5/10):

    The second name in that triple sub, she could've had a chance at goal almost immediately but elected to pass to Kelly. Otherwise didn't get much of a look in the box.

    Chloe Kelly (6/10):

    Completing the trio of changes, Kelly didn't have much time to get on the scoresheet but she still managed to do so, profiting from some poor goalkeeping to finish into an empty net.

    Ella Toone (N/A):

    Came on for the final 10 minutes, so didn't have time to make an impact.

    Sarina Wiegman (9/10):

    This was the perfect game for Wiegman to mix things up and what she experimented with suited the strengths of so many of the players in this team that had been underwhelming in the tournament so far. It certainly unlocked England's attacking potential, too, and showed that the Lionesses do indeed have a Plan B.