England women 2-0 Denmark women: Nikita Parris & Jill Scott give Lionesses friendly win
England recovered from a shaky start in each half to beat Euro 2017 finalists Denmark in their penultimate friendly before the Women's World Cup.
A stuttering performance was punctuated by a 12th England goal from Nikita Parris on the stroke of half-time.
Jill Scott then marked her captain's role with a second-half header to put England in control.
The Lionesses, who at times struggled to retain possession in midfield, had a couple of scares as Sanne Troelsgaard had a shot blocked by Jade Moore and Karen Bardsley saved from Pernille Harder.
But once Georgia Stanway and Scott pushed further forward from midfield, they helped create chances for Phil Neville's side, who face New Zealand in their final friendly next Saturday before their opening World Cup game against Scotland in Nice on 9 June.
Stanway was one of England's better players, while Parris showed the kind of ruthlessness that has secured a move from Manchester City to European champions Lyon earlier this week.
However, on a bobbly and dry pitch in front of 8,273 fans at Walsall's Banks's Stadium, England showed there is still room for improvement if they are to be considered as one of the favourites to win the tournament in France.
England still have teething problems
Neville said before the game that he would use this match or the New Zealand one to name his strongest team for England's World Cup opener against Scotland.
On the basis of this selection, that is likely to come next weekend because Lucy Bronze and Toni Duggan were both rested after their Champions League exploits last weekend.
The Danes found holes in England's defence as Neville's team - who spent time with the Royal Marines to prepare for this match - also struggled for cohesion going forward.
Part of the problem seemed to be another slow start, which also occurred in their last friendly against Spain, and a 4-3-3 formation which offered a lack of support to Ellen White from central midfield.
With Stanway and Scott playing in front of a deeper Jade Moore, there was plenty of space behind White to exploit. And once the Manchester City pair pushed further forward, they began to create chances.
Scott's surging run set up White - now also of City - but she could only stab wide, before Scott poked over from Stanway's clipped pass.
Behind them, Reading's Moore, who has been injured for a large part of the season, struggled to retain possession as she was preferred to Kiera Walsh of Manchester City.
Denmark, who failed to qualify for the World Cup and are ranked 17th in the world, also had a goal ruled out for handball when it appeared to strike Signe Bruun's shoulder.
But Parris' strike and Scott's header, which came from a fine break forward from Stanway, showed the hosts can pierce a stubborn defence when the players combine well.
Who advanced their claims for World Cup start?
Despite their problems, there were positives for England, who once again showed they can win games despite not playing at their best.
The SheBelieves Cup winners, ranked third in the world, have suffered home friendly defeats by Sweden and Canada in recent months, but with the likes of Bronze, Duggan and captain Steph Houghton missing, stronger personnel are likely to be included once they begin their World Cup campaign.
Parris' strike, in an otherwise quiet game, was top class, while Stanway showed she can be a driving force from midfield with some clever runs and approach play, including for Scott's goal.
Fran Kirby, who came on as a substitute after missing last month's friendlies against Canada and Spain, also showed touches of her quality and is likely to fill the number 10 position should Neville choose that formation.
On her 135th cap, Scott also demonstrated why she is one of the mainstays of England's team with another energetic performance, while Bardsley cemented her position as the Lionesses' number one with some decent stops.