England dominate South Korea to start Arnold Clark Cup defence

England women players celebrate after scoring a goal against South Korea in the Arnold Clark Cup.
England women players celebrate after scoring a goal against South Korea in the Arnold Clark Cup.
Getty Images

England put on a dominating display in a 4-0 win over South Korea in their opening match of the Arnold Clark Cup on Thursday night.

A Georgia Stanway penalty near the end of the first half gave England a deserved lead at the break after an opening 45 minutes that saw Sarina Wiegman's side totally outclass the visitors at the Stadium MK.

- Hamilton: Arnold Clark Cup make or break for hopeful Lionesses

Creating from the get-go, England struggled to get the better of first choice Korean goalkeeper, Kim Jung-Mi, drawing several eye-catching saves from the veteran.

Unable to find the back of the net the conventional way, centre-back -- and joint top goalscorer from the previous ACC -- Millie Bright tried her hand from outside the box before Alessia Russo saw her driven effort cannon off of the upright and stay out.

As it was starting to look like it wasn't going to be England's day, Lauren James, who had been more than a handful for the visiting defence all evening, was felled on her way into the box leaving referee Andreza Ferreira no option but to point to the spot.

In flying form this season, Bayern Munich midfielder Stanway stepped up and sent the ball thundering into the back of the net to finally break the deadlock five minutes before the break.

The rout was on after the break as Manchester City winger Chloe Kelly doubled the Lionesses' lead with a shot from distance and Alessia Russo poked home from the near post to make it 3-0 within five second-half minutes.

James scored the fourth for the defending champions in the 78th minute, picking up a loose ball in the area and smashing a shot past Kim before being replaced by Katie Robinson.

As expected, Leah Williamson wore a rainbow colored OneLove armband, which the England captain said she hopes to wear at the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer, in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

Additionally, England's players wore black armbands in tribute to the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, and in memory of injured forward Beth Mead's mother, who died last month.

The win puts England at the top of the four-team table ahead of Belgium, who beat Italy 2-1 earlier in the day, on goal difference.

In the second of three round-robin matches at the Arnold Clark Cup, England will play Italy on Feb. 19 and finish with a game against Belgium on Feb. 22.