Taylor puts England in World Cup last 16 with game to spare

Taylor’s goal ended a 540-day scoring drought that had stymied the Golden Boot winner from the 2017 European Championship. (Reuters)
Updated 15 June 2019
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Taylor puts England in World Cup last 16 with game to spare

  • England are through with a game to go in Group D

LE HAVRE, France: As roommates at the Women’s World Cup, Jodie Taylor and Beth Mead have built a connection that helped lead England into the second round of the tournament.
Mead delivered a low cross from the left flank and Taylor sneaked into a central location, nudging the ball into the net to earn a 1-0 victory over Argentina on Friday and secure England’s place in the second round with a game to spare in Group D.
“I just knew where Beth was going to play it,” Taylor said. “It must be roommates becoming more connected. It was such a good ball from Beth. I do believe the closer you are as a team the better your performance will be on the pitch.”
Argentina had frustrated England for 61 minutes and goalkeeper Vanina Correa was nearly flawless — she even stopped a penalty kick — until Taylor and Mead connected on the game-winning goal.
Taylor’s goal ended a 540-day scoring drought that had stymied the Golden Boot winner from the 2017 European Championship.
“It’s not until people start bringing it up that you start thinking about it,” said Taylor, who plays in the US for the Seattle Reign.
England had to be patient against the resilient Argentines, who collected their first ever World Cup point in an opening draw against Japan. Finding a way past Correa wasn’t easy.
The 35-year-old goalkeeper was coaxed back into competition after giving birth to twins in 2017 and her appearance in this tournament makes Correa the only Argentine woman to appear in three World Cups.
“Generally, for women goalkeepers, things are changing, we’re having better training,” she said. “It’s not nice to criticize goalkeepers even if we do sometimes make mistakes.”
Jill Scott discovered how hard it would be to beat Correa in the 13th minute when her header was collected.
While Nikita Parris scored the first England goal in the opening 2-1 victory over Scotland on Sunday, she missed her chance to do it again. After Linda Bravo’s sliding tackle brought down Alex Greenwood, Parris sent her spot kick to the right and Correa pushed it onto the post.
Correa’s hand denied Parris, and her foot thwarted Mead just before halftime. When Fran Kirby hooked a ball through to Mead, the low shot was turned away by Correa’s outstretched right boot.
“We were thinking when is it actually going to go in?” Alex Greenwood said.
Particularly when in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Parris had a shot saved and Taylor’s header was collected by Correa before she was finally beaten.
“I told Jodie before the game that I knew she would score,” England coach Phil Neville said. “You reap your rewards from your training performances. She thrives off service, she thrives off balls through and the support from around her.”
England has opened a World Cup with back-to-back wins for the first time and advanced to the next round ahead of its final Group D match against Japan. Italy, France and Germany are also already through to the round of 16 with a game to spare.


Amir Khan says agreement made for Manny Pacquiao Riyadh bout in November

Updated 5 min 7 sec ago
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Amir Khan says agreement made for Manny Pacquiao Riyadh bout in November

  • The two boxers came close to a fight in 2017, but negotiations fell through
  • The two boxers are known to be good friends and spent years sparring with each in the US

LONDON: British boxer Amir Khan said on Tuesday that a deal has been agreed for a fight against Manny Pacquiao on 8 November in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at his gym in the British city of Bolton the former world champion said the fight would happen in Riyadh, adding that the bout had been “signed by both parties.”
Pacquiao, 40, has a scheduled fight with American Keith Thurman in Las Vegas on Saturday and, barring any potential rematch, would be available to fight Khan in the Kingdom.
“It’s on, unless he gets injured or he says he is going to retire after the fight and then the fight won’t happen, but he is interested in the fight as well,” Khan told Boxing Social.
The two boxers came close to a fight in 2017, but negotiations fell through and the bout never materialized.

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READ MORE: Amir Khan beats Billy Dib in Jeddah on ‘fight night of the year’

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“It is going to be amazing, because it’s been a long time we’ve been chasing that fight. I’ve been chasing the big names like (Floyd) Mayweather and Pacquiao for a long, long time but those fights never happened.
“But now it has come to a stage where we both signed on that dotted line, so hopefully he is going to be the next (fight).
“To have him sign that dotted line is brilliant and no matter how he does against Thurman, I still think it’s a big fight.
“Hopefully he comes out of it in one piece in his next fight against Keith, which is a hard fight and not an easy one for him, and we will take it from there.”
The British boxer, 32, scored a stoppage win over Australia’s Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia last Friday and soon after his win was talking up the prospect of landing Pacquiao as his next fight.

Eight-division world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao smiles as he arrives for a workout in Hollywood, California on July 10. (AFP/File Photo)

On the prospect of returning to Saudi Arabia, Khan said his experience in the Dib fight had been “amazing” and that it was hard to turn down a deal to fight in the Kingdom.
“I was little bit nervous, because I did not know what to expect — whether it would be full or not, or if people would turn up to support — but it was amazing. I think the next one is going to be even bigger.
“The experience was awesome, I was looked after by the GSA (General Sports Authority) and the Saudi government took good care of us, the gyms were amazing. I would love to go back over there.”
When asked if he ever doubted whether his dream fight against Pacquiao would happen, Khan agreed.
“I’ve waited so long but you cannot really put all your eggs in one basket, and definitely say this is going to be the next fight.

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READ MORE: Gloves off as world champion boxer Amir Khan dreams of ‘more fights in Saudi Arabia’

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“I hope it is him but we will have to look at back up plans. I’ve always wanted to fight him. It’s the biggest fight out there for me,” he told the BBC.
The two boxers are known to be good friends and spent years sparring with each in the US while training under the mentorship of trainer Freddie Roach.
The Filipino legend has not yet officially announced any bout with Khan and on social media appears focused on Saturday’s fight.
“When I sparred him he was at his peak,” Khan said. “I got good rounds with him and did really well. I have probably sparred between 200 and 300 rounds with him. He has slowed down a bit.”
Pacquiao has 61 wins, seven defeats and two draws in a 24-year professional career, while Khan has 34 wins and five defeats.