The young Lionesses qualified for the FIFA u-20 WWC quarter finals by beating Mexico 6-1, with Lauren Hemp scoring a hat-trick. They will play the Netherlands on Friday for a place in the semis.

It was a curious game, with England second best in the first half, and not unfairly down 1-0 at half-time. They couldn’t control the game well, with the team looking slightly disjointed, and relying from some magic from the front three of Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp and the former Arsenal striker Chloe Kelly.

Mexico opened the scoring just before the break through Ovalle, with a superb top corner shot from outside the box. At this point England, were out of the World Cup, with the result in the Korea DPR v Brazil not going their way.

Then came the half-time talk. Mo Marley said in her press conference that she didn’t have to say too much to the players, besides trying to get better on the ball and applying the game plan. There was no rollicking or ranting and raving, and it worked a treat.

England came back in the second half duly transformed. They pressed Mexico from the start, keeping them relentlessly under pressure, and it paid dividend really quickly. Alessia Russo took advantage of comical defending by the Mexican defenders to calmly put away the equalizer and England never looked back from there.

Chloe Kelly scored a brilliant goal to give England the lead. Goalkeeper Sandy McIver delivered a goal kick that was headed backward in the center circle by a Mexican midfielder who was challenging Mollie Rouse.

The ball went behind their back four and it became a foot race, won by Kelly. She scored a great goal with her weak foot, a powerful shot that hit the post before going in. Not many players have the ability to run at full pace under pressure and send a rocket with their weaker foot from just inside the penalty area.

The goals just kept coming, with Russo finding Hemp on the edge of the penalty area absolutely unmarked. The young striker is absolutely lethal in such a situation and buried the chance for 3-1. The Mexico players’ heads dropped down and the game was over.

Georgia Stanway then went on a rampaging run from the middle of the pitch, finishing with a 20-yard strike that hit the same post as Chloe Kelly’s earlier strike, and ended up in the back of the net. 4-1 England.

The fifth goal came courtesy of a long range Chloe Kelly shot that was pushed away by the Mexican goalie straight into the path of Lauren Hemp, who said ‘thank you very much’ and made it 5-1.

The final goal was a beauty scored by the Manchester City forward for her hat-trick.

The 18 years old forward received her second player of the match award of the tournament as well:

Overall England were well-deserved winners on the strength of their second half. They will play the Netherlands, who got battered by hosts France 4-0 yesterday, but were already through.

England will be without Molly Rouse, who will be suspended after receiving her second yellow card of the tournament, and Mo Marley will have to make a change in her usually stable line-up. She played the same starting eleven three times, only making changes for the second game when Lauren Hemp was given a rest against Brazil, and came on in the second half.

Mo Marley’s confident that the player coming in for Rouse will be fit and ready to help the team though.

The match highlights can be found here :