The closer you are, the better you perform – Taylor hails England ‘camaraderie’

Jodie Taylor (right) celebrates her winning goal against Argentina

Jodie Taylor was keen to give credit to her room-mate Beth Mead after the pair combined for the goal that secured England a 1-0 win over Argentina at the Women’s World Cup and a place in the last 16.

A smart Lionesses move just after the hour mark in Le Havre saw the ball worked from Jill Scott to Fran Kirby and on to Mead, whose fine delivery from the left was tapped in at the back post by Taylor.

Having ended a goalless run at international level stretching back to April 2018, Taylor, who was the top scorer at Euro 2017, has now netted in three successive major tournaments.

The 33-year-old Reign FC striker said: “I’m the first one to admit that I score goals because of my team-mates. At the Euros, I won the Golden Boot because of the quality of my team-mates.

“I think the ball from Beth Mead absolutely shows that.”

Taylor “just knew” where Mead was going to put the ball and she said: “It must be room-mates and becoming more connected.

“It was such a good ball from Beth and I was in the right place to time my run and put it in the back of the net.”

She added: “I do believe the closer you are as a team the better your performance will be on the pitch.

“We’ve got a really good team togetherness, not only with Beth as my room-mate but the other girls in the team. The camaraderie in the group is good and we just go from strength to strength.”

When asked if her international goal drought had been weighing on her mind, Taylor – scorer of 18 England goals in total – said: “Not really, not until all of you people start bringing it up.

Jodie Taylor won the Golden Boot at Euro 2017

“It’s not until I think about it, because it’s the same process whether you score or not. You’re still trying to be in the right place at the right time.

“I was on the other side with a few assists at the SheBelieves Cup (the four-team competition England won in March).

“It’s just nice to score at major tournaments. It’s what it’s all about, to help the team do well. It’s brilliant.”

Argentina goalkeeper Vanina Correa celebrates after saving a penalty from Nikita Parris

Taylor’s goal broke what had been dogged resistance from Argentina, whose goalkeeper Vanina Correa made a number of impressive saves, including pushing Nikita Parris’ first-half penalty against a post.

Asked if it had felt like a battle with the goalkeeper, Taylor said: “A little bit. I always felt like it was going to come through. It’s one of those days where you just have a feeling. It was there, it just took a bit of time.

“We’re happy with the performance and as soon as we got a goal we could just relax. We were always in control.”

Beth Mead celebrates England's win with captain Steph Houghton

Having overcome an Argentina outfit who used physical tactics at times, Mead stressed England were “not going to be bullied”.

“I’ve got a few bumps and bruises, but nothing we can’t shake off,” the Arsenal forward said.

“We have seen them try and play a few mind games, a few things that went on out on the pitch, but you have to brush it off. Phil (Neville, the England manager) said don’t get drawn into those types of battles, and we stayed professional.

“But we are not going to be bullied. It’s about having the full package, we want to be known as a physical team, a hard team to play against.

“We’re not going to roll over, we will get battered around, lay on the floor for a bit, get up and give it back. We are never going to pull out of a 50-50, we have to be a team that can bring a bit of everything.”

With qualification for the next round confirmed after taking six points from two games, Neville’s England will now look to cement top spot in Group D when they conclude their pool matches by facing second-placed Japan in Nice on Wednesday.

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