England Women Dominate France in 4-1 Win in 2018 Friendly

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2018

England's Toni Duggan, left, celebrates her goal against France during the first half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

England's women national football team cruised to a 4-1 win against France at the 2018 SheBelieves Cup in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday.

The Lionesses were supreme in Phil Neville's first match as manager, and they raced to a 3-0 half-time lead as France slumped in the international friendly.

Toni Duggan gave England a sixth-minute lead, and further strikes from Jill Scott and Jodie Taylor gave Neville's side a three-goal advantage at the interval.

Fran Kirby was on target immediately after the restart to make it 4-0, and the French appeared lifeless in a poor display.

Gaetane Thiney collected a late consolation for France after her deflected shot hit the back of the net.

Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

It was the perfect victory as the Lionesses opened the invitational round-robin tournament which also features the United States and Germany.

England were missing three major players for the match, as skipper Steph Houghton, Karen Carney and Jordan Nobbs were absent through injury.

However, Neville's team selection was quickly rewarded against a French side that lacked intensity and purpose.

Duggan celebrated wildly in inclement weather as she scored England's opener after Kirby's excellent work provided the assist.

England women's official Twitter account provided footage of the quality finish:

It was just the start the new England boss had desired, and it knocked the stuffing out of France before they could move through the gears.

The conditions were troublesome for both teams, but it was England who combatted the wind and the rain as they made it 2-0.

Scott's tame effort beat France goalkeeper Karima Benameur, with Kirby dummying the shot as the strike limped over the goal line.

England were playing with swagger, but their opponents were nowhere near their best, despite being one of the major nations in the women's game.

Taylor ran clear of the French defence to score the Lionesses' third, slotting her shot home expertly six minutes before half-time.

Once again, England women's Twitter account shared footage of the goal:

Kirby capped a fine performance for her side as she made it 4-0 a minute after the restart, and France were well beaten as the second half progressed.

The weather continued to ruin the spectacle, with the crowd hugely down on expectations as a result, but there was a moment of joy for the losing side as substitute Thiney scored after 77 minutes.

England cruised through the final stages with the victory guaranteed, but it was a composed performance against a side who were expected to provide a bigger threat in the United States.

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