JON SHALLARD in AUCKLAND: World champions United States and European champions England both made winning starts to their 2023 Women’s World Cup campaigns.

The US easily defeated newcomers Vietnam 3-0 in Auckland in Group E in front of a 41,107 crowd. Sophia Smith scored twice before half-time for the four-time world champions then set up the third for captain Lindsey Horan in the 77th minute.

The winning margin could have wider but Vietnam keeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh saved an Alex Morgan penalty awarded for a foul on Trinity Rodman.

Group D saw Georgia Stanway’s retaken first-half penalty sneak a 1-0 victory for England over more World Cup newcomers Haiti in Brisbane. England’s performance was not up to their expected standard against a team 49 places below them in the world rankings.

They took a first-half lead after Batcheba Louis handled. Stanway’s kick was saved by goalkeeper Theus but VAR ruled that she had stepped off her line and this time Stanway made no mistake.

Melchie Dumornay, Haiti’s Lyon-bound midfielder, drew two fine saves from keeper Mary Earps before a relieved secured the three points.

The other Group D tie saw Denmark, back in the finals after a 16-year absence, defeat China 1-0 with a late winner from newly-arrived substitute Amalie Vangsgaard.

Japan went top of Group C, ahead of Spain in goal difference, with a simple 5-0 defeat of Zambia. Hinata Miyazawa scored twice against a Zambian side who finished with 10 players after the late expulsion of goalkeeper Catherine Musonda for giving away a penalty.