England is on the brink of the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup after beating Denmark 1-0 in the second group game of the tournament.

The Lionesses will book their place in the last 16 if China fail to beat Haiti in the other late kick-off match.

The women’s national side were ahead after just six minutes when Chelsea’s Lauren James, lifted the ball past diving Denmark keeper Lene Christensen.

England's Lauren James celebrates celebrates scoring the opening goal

Image: England’s Lauren James celebrates scoring against Denmark

But England suffered a blow when Keira Walsh was taken off the pitch on a stretcher before half-time with a knee injury.

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The 26-year-old holding midfielder, who was a key part of the England team that won the Euros last year, crumpled to the floor at the Sydney stadium without contact in the 38th minute and immediately called for medical assistance.

She later appeared on the touchline using crutches.

Speaking after the match, England goalscorer James told BBC Sport: “It was a dream, something I’ve been thinking about, but most importantly happy to help the team win.

“But as soon as it hit the net it was just a relief.

“(My team-mates) were really happy for me and to be fair, they said it before the game they had a good feeling about me today and I’m just thankful I’ve got good people around me.

“I’m calm all around on and off the pitch and I try to bring that to my game as well and today it showed that and helped.”

England's Keira Walsh was stretchered off during the game

Image: England’s Keira Walsh was stretchered off during the game

England manager Sarina Wiegman said: “I think we started well, we played well, we scored that goal, we had a little stage in the first half that we lost balls we didn’t have to lose, but we got the rhythm in the game.

“Then of course we got this horrible moment with Keira, she had to go out, the second half it was a fight.

“We adapted to the new situation, we had to fight for the win and that’s what we did so I’m very proud of the team.”

Praising James, who was one of two changes coming into the team, Wiegman told the BBC: “For me it doesn’t matter who scores the goals, they played well, started well and LJ made a very beautiful goal so that’s very nice.”

On Walsh’s injury, she said: “It looked serious, if you can’t walk off the pitch it’s serious, but I don’t know. We just finished the game.

“I haven’t heard anything yet, you’re in the game you just have to move on and now it’s time to have a look at how she is and what the next steps are.”

The fourth-ranked Lionesses, who defeated Haiti 1-0 in their opener, play China on 1 August in their final group game.

Denmark, who beat China 1-0 to kick off their campaign, play Haiti the same day.

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