England followed up their thrashing of Scotland with another impressive showing in Breda
JODIE TAYLOR followed her hat-trick heroics against Scotland with a late strike to rain on Spain’s parade.
The Arsenal ace’s goal in the closing stages came after Fran Kirby got England off to a dream start with her early opener in foul conditions in Breda.
The win keeps the Lionesses top of Group D and a huge step closer to the Euros quarter-finals in Holland.
Kirby opened the scoring inside two minutes when she calmly slotted past the keeper after Ellen White played her in.
England had the ball in the net again three minutes later with Millie Bright’s looping header from a Jordan Nobbs free-kick, but the goal was harshly ruled offside.
Captain Steph Houghton flashed over the crossbar after good work from Kirby down the left.
The Lionesses were pegged back from then on, with Spain enjoying most of the possession in the driving rain. England struggled to get hold of the ball and were quickly closed down and dispossessed when they did.
But the Spaniards were unable to find an opening and it remained 1-0 at half-time.
England continued to be pegged back in their own half after the break and Spain began to threaten more in the final third as the game wore on.
And the Lionesses had a let-off in the 75th minute as White slipped and handled with the ref first pointing to the spot before ruling in England’s favour.
Then Taylor doubled the lead with five minutes left when she swept home from a deft Nobbs flick as England rallied.
They now face Portugal in their final group game on Thursday with a draw enough to ensure they remain top of the pile following Taylor’s treble in their opening 6-0 defeat of Scotland.
The Scots are hanging by a thread after a 2-1 defeat to Portugal left them needing victory over Spain to have any hope of progressing.
Chelsea striker Kirby said: “My dad and brother are out here and it’s nice they were able to see me score a goal. I was a bit nervous as I hadn’t touched the ball yet but luckily it came off.
“We knew they like to play football and were going to have more possession than us but we needed to keep our shape and be defensively disciplined and we really did that.
“When Jodie goes one-on-one with the goalkeeper there’s only going to be one outcome. I was very relieved – I was pulling my hair out on the side.
“I’m really happy to be playing in a European Championship and loving every second of it.”
England boss Mark Sampson said: “I think we’ll look back on this night and see it’s a really big moment for us. We had to find a way to win tonight. You could see the athleticism of the players towards the end.
“We worked incredibly hard on a sapping pitch. In the last ten minutes we were the team that started to get hold of it and force Spain with some direct passes.
“I’m delighted for Fran to get off the mark in this tournament and Taylor’s obviously on fire.
“Overall I’m just incredibly proud of the players after a tough game and a big, big win for us.”