England have edged their first Women’s World Cup match with a 1-0 victory over Haiti in Brisbane.
It took 29 minutes for Georgia Stanway to push the Lionesses into the lead with a retaken penalty – aiming the ball low into the left corner of the net.
With the win England go top of Group D along with Denmark who beat China 1-0 hours later.
England looked dominant at the start, with Alessia Russo testing Haiti’s defence to take an early chance after five minutes.
There was also a chance of a penalty after 16 minutes when Haitian player Dayana Pierre-Louis was given a yellow card for a foul in the area.
But just before that, Alessia Russo had clipped Tabita Joseph so the referee handed Haiti a free-kick.
The first half turned on two penalties after a handball, with the first replayed after VAR ruled the Haitian goalkeeper came off the line.
England tried to keep up the pressure in the second half but were unable to secure a second goal.
Haiti came tantalisingly close to scoring in the 81st minute, but England goalkeeper Mary Earps made a stunning stop with her feet to block the attempt.
“They challenged us and were very dangerous on the counter-attack. That’s something we’ll work on in training this week,” Stanway said after the match.
“Mary came up with a big save and everybody played their part. It’s saves like that that keep us in this tournament.
“The most important thing is that we’ve got three points and it’s the first game. Off to a good start.”
She added: “The first game is to settle the nerves, you can build momentum. It’s just nice to get that World Cup feel after watching for two days.”
Boss Sarina Wiegman said: “It was a very hard game. I’m very happy with the three points.
“Haiti are unpredictable, they’re very transitional, and that’s what they showed.
“We were struggling with that. I think we had a lot of possession but they were really tough in the duels, they were very quick. We did create chances but we lost the ball at moments where we weren’t expecting it and then they were gone, so that was hard for us.
“Overall what we want to do is finish our chances. And a little better in the possession game. I hope in the next game in open play we can score goals.”
The odds were stacked against Haiti’s Les Grenadieres, who were 49 places behind England in the global rankings.