The past week has seen a huge amount of international women’s football. Ben Gilby rounds up the action in detail from Europe, Asia, South America, and North America. Our French editor Jean-Pierre Thiesset provides a special feature on France’s two matches.
Above: Carli Lloyd waves to the crowd ahead of her final international appearance for the USWNT against South Korea. Photo: Soccer Wire
UEFA’s World Cup qualification games for the 2023 World Cup continued over the past seven days.
Group A sees Sweden three points clear at the top after a 1-0 win in the Republic of Ireland on 21st October. For further news of this game, click here . On the same night, Finland won 3-0 in Georgia. Linda Sällström, Sanni Franssi and an Emmi Alenen penalty completed the win.
Five days later, the Republic of Ireland gained an excellent 2-1 win in Helsinki over Finland. Megan Connolly put the Irish ahead after 10 minutes before Adelina Engman levelled early in the second half before Denise O’Sullivan hit the winner for Vera Pauw’s side. Also that night, Slovakia gained their first win of the campaign with a 2-0 win at home to Georgia. Mária Mikolajová and Martina Šurnovská were on target.
Group B sees Spain and Scotland six points clear of the rest after both nations recorded further victories over the past week. On 22nd October, the Scots needed a last gasp Rachel Corsie goal to overcome Hungary 2-1 at Hampton Park. AC Milan’s Christie Grimshaw put Scotland ahead just before the break, shooting home inside the six-yard box after the visitors failed to deal with Nicola Docherty’s cross. Fanny Vágó took advantage to level when Docherty’s ball towards Jen Beattie was intercepted and she smashed home into the top corner. Corsie sealed the win when her effort after a header back from Beattie found the net. Spain grabbed a comfortable 6-0 win in Ukraine thanks to two goals from Sarriegi Isasa and single strikes from Alexia Putellas, Narea Eizaguirre, Alba Redondo Ferrer, and an own goal by Daryna Apanaschenko. In the group’s other games in the period, Faroe Islands suffered two hefty losses. First, on 21st October, they went down 4-0 in Ukraine with Nicole Kozlova, Roksolana Kravchuk, Olha Boychenko, and Kateryna Korsun on the mark. The Islanders followed that up with a 7-1 reversal at home to Hungary. Lea Lisburg put the hosts ahead but the Hungarians hit back powerfully. Fanny Vágó’s hat-trick, two from Dóra Zeller plus single strikes from Evelin Fenyvesi and Bernadett Zágor completed the rout.
Group C Netherlands have recovered from their stumble at the start of qualification to lead the table by four points, albeit having played a game more than Iceland. On 22nd October, they returned from Cyprus with an 8-0 win. Jill Roord’s hat-trick, plus goals from Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk, Joëlle Smits, Merel van Dongen and an own goal from Chara Charalambous gave them the points. They followed this up four days later with a 2-0 win in Belarus with Lieke Martens and van de Donk on target. Iceland kept up their pursuit with two big wins in the other games this window. First, they beat Czech Republic 4-0 in Reykjavik on 22nd October. Barbora Votíková’s own goal set them on their way before further strikes from Dagný Brynjarsdóttir, Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir and Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir sealed the victory. They followed this up four days later with a 5-0 win at home to Cyprus. Two goals from Sveindís Jónsdóttir, plus one each from Dagný Brynjarsdóttir, Karólína Vilhjálmsdóttir and Alexandra Jóhannsdóttir continued the Icelandic team’s strong start to the qualifying campaign.
Group D England’s procession towards qualification continued as they scored 14 goals without reply in two games. They didn’t have it their own way though against Northern Ireland at Wembley in front of just over 23,000 fans last weekend. The Irish produced a typically dogged performance and kept the Lionesses goalless until 64 minutes when Beth Mead put the hosts ahead. A spell of three goals in six minutes wrapped up a 4-0 win with Mead completing a hat-trick and Beth England continuing her impressive recent goal-scoring run for her country too. Three days later, England crashed ten goals past Latvia in Liepaja. An Ella Toone hat-trick, two from Rachel Daly plus single strikes from Ellen White, Millie Bright, Beth Mead, Leah Williamson, and Georgia Stanway put the Lionesses in pole position in the group.
Elsewhere, Northern Ireland held Austria 2-2 in the battle for second place at a sold-out Seaview, but it was so nearly even better for the Green Army. Barbara Dunst put the Austrians ahead but goals from Lauren Wade and Demi Vance put the home side in the driving seat before an equalizer in stoppage time at the end of the match from Stefanie Enzinger denied Northern Ireland all three points.
North Macedonia had conflicting results over the period. On 21st October they won 4-1 in Latvia thanks to two goals from Nataša Andonova and further strikes from Gentjana Rochi and Ulza Maksuti. Tatjana Baļičeva was on target for the Latvians. They followed this up with a frustrating 3-2 loss to Luxembourg five days later. Julie Marques Abreu (2) and Katie Thill earned the visitors a welcome three points. Gentjana Rochi and Pavlina Nikolovska were on target for the Macedonians.
In the group’s other match, Austria cemented second spot, two points behind England with a 5-0 win over Luxembourg. Nicole Billa (2), Katharina Naschenweng, Stefanie Enzinger and a Sarah Puntigam penalty were the difference.
Group E Denmark and Russia lead the way with both on 12 points after the latest matches. The Danes hit goals galore in two wins. On 21st October, they saw off Bosnia & Herzegovina 8-0 with Signe Bruun hitting five goals. Also on the mark were Mille Gejl, Pernille Harder and Sara Thrige. Five days later they won 5-1 in Montenegro thanks to two goals from Stine Larsen and further strikes from Signe Bruun, Sofie Svava, and Sanne Troelsgaard. One negative was a worrying injury for star player Pernille Harder. Armisa Kuč scored for Montenegro.
Russia also gained comfortable wins and two clean sheets. First up on 21st October was a 3-0 home win over Malta thanks to goals from Nelli Korovkina, Kristina Mashkova and Anna Belomyttseva. They followed this up five days later with a 4-0 success in Bosnia & Herzegovina. A brace from Anna Kozhnikova plus goals from Nelli Korovkina and Alsu Abdullina clinched the win.
Montenegro saw off Azerbaijan 2-0 on 21st October with goals from Slađana Bulatović and Anđela Tošković. The remaining game in the period saw Malta win 2-1 in Azerbaijan thanks to a penalty from Dorianne Theuma and Emma Xureb’s strike four minutes from the end. Vusala Seyfatdinova got a late consolation for the hosts.
Group F Norway are two points clear at the top after picking up four points from two games against their closest group rivals. They were held 0-0 by second-placed Poland on 21st October, but gained a vital 4-0 win over Belgium in Oslo five days later. Guro Bergsvand, Caroline Graham Hansen, Elisabeth Terland and Ingrid Syrstad Engen were on the mark.
Poland came back to form with a 2-0 win over Albania on 26th October thanks to a penalty from Paulina Dudek and Małgorzata Mesjasz’s effort. Belgium defeated Kosovo 7-0 with Tessa Wulleart grabbing a hat-trick on top of Justine Vanhaevermaet’s brace and single strikes from Janice Cayman and Tine De Caigny.
Elsewhere in the group, Armenia suffered two further defeats. First, on 21st October they went down 5-0 in Albania due to goals from Megi Doci (2) Mimosa Hamidi (2), and Esi Lufo. Five days later they fell 1-0 at home to Kosovo in the battle of the group’s bottom sides. Liridona Syla’s goal was the difference.
Group G Switzerland and Italy are still out front as they both recorded two further victories over the past week. The Swiss saw off Romania 2-0 with Ana-Maria Crnogorčević scoring both (one penalty). She was on target again five days later in her country’s 5-0 win over Croatia. Noelle Maritz, Ramona Bachmann (two – one penalty), and Rachel Rinast also scored.
The Italians defeated Croatia 3-0 in Castel di Sangro on 21st October with Valentina Cernoia, Cristiana Girelli (penalty), and Valerie Pirone on the scoresheet. They followed this up with a 5-0 success in Lithuania five days later with Valentina Cernoia, Valerie Pirone, Valentina Giacinti, Sara Gama, and Arianna Caruso on the scoresheet.
Group H Germany’s procession towards qualification continued. A 1-0 win in Israel thanks to Svenja Huth’s goal was added to five days later with a 7-0 thrashing of the same opposition. Jule Brand (2), Sara Däbritz, Laura Freigang, Lina Magull, Tabea Waßmuth and Felicitas Rauch scored.
Portugal are second, two points behind after recording double success over the period. First, they saw off Serbia 2-1 at home with goals from Ana Borges and Dolores Silva. Nina Matejić hit the Serbs’ effort. They followed this up with a 5-0 success in Bulgaria. Diana Silva (2), Diana Gomes, Carole Costa (pen), and an own goal from Yanitsa Ivanova was the difference.
In the other games in the group, Turkey had mixed fortunes. They saw off Bulgaria 1-0 on 21st October with Yağmur Uraz on target. Five days later they succumbed to a 2-0 loss in Serbia. Dejana Stefanović and Nevena Damjanović were the scorers.
Finally to Group I where Impetus’ Jean-Pierre Thiesset reports on France’s two games over the period. The first saw them host Estonia in Créteil, near Paris, on October 22, in front of 4,378 spectators. For this game against a very weak team (105th in FIFA ranking), Corinne Diacre, France head coach, left out several of the first-choice players like Amandine Henry and Eugénie Le Sommer. Furthermore, Wendie Renard, Amel Majri, Griedge MBock, and Kheira Hamraoui were also missing due to injury. With half of the main players missing, France dominated largely Estonia and scored 11 goals, and earned a clean sheet.
The game statistics show the huge difference between the two teams: For France, 88% of possession, 720 passes (89% successful), 40 shots (16 on target), 14 corners; For Estonia, 12% of possession, 112 passes (42% successful), one shot (none on target), no corner.
The first and only shot of Estonia was at the 71st minute.
A few highlights from this game:
- A great game from Delphine Cascarino, who played 62 minutes (one goal at the 29th minute, one decisive pass to Geyoro at the fifth minute) and was named player of the match.
- Eve Perisset played 90 minutes, made a decisive pass with a cross at ground level to Katoto at the 15th minute and scored once at the 26th minute.
- Kenza Dali, who entered at half time, produced a great second half. She scored one goal at the 90th minute, made two decisive passes to Tounkara (65th and 72nd minutes), and forced an Over Goal from Heleri Saar with a great corner kick.
Goals for France from Grace Geyoro (5′), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (15′), Eve Périsset (26′ on penalty), Delphine Cascarino (29′), Sandy Toletti (45′), Maria Orav (52′ Own Goal), Kadidiatou Diani (53′), Aissatou Tounkara (65′, 72′), Heleri Saar (79′ Own Goal), and Kenza Dali (90′).
France: Peyraud-Magnin, Perisset – Tounkara – De Almeida – Karchaoui (Morroni 46′) – Geyoro – Bilbaut – Toletti (Dali 46′) – Diani (Asseyi 62′) – Cascarino (Malard 62′) – Katoto (Feller 77′).
Estonia: Kork – Merisalu (Kriisa 88′), H. Saar, Zlidnis, Liir, Orav (M. Saar 73′) – Bannikova, Mengel (Niit 63′), Daut, Kubassova – Treiberg (Aarna 46′ then Israel 88′).
Referee: Abigail Marriott (England)
The second game was away to Kazakhstan at the Astana Arena in front of around 300 spectators. For this game against a side ranked 82nd in the FIFA list, Corinne Diacre, France squad coach, had the same squad as against Estonia but with one more player out, Grace Geyoro. France dominated Kazakhstan, made another clean sheet, but scored only five goals lacking efficiency in front of the goal; Part of this is probably due to the synthetic field on which the players had a lack of stability but also to the great performance of Kazakhstan goalkeeper in the second half. France had more than 30 crosses during this game: seven from Kenza Dali, seven from Eve Périsset, five from Delphine Cascarino, four from Perle Morroni.
The game statistics show France domination: For France, 79% of possession, 681 passes (87% successful), 36 shots (15 on target), 18 corners; For Kazakhstan, 21% of possession, 201 passes (51% successful), one shot (none on target), no corner.
A few highlights from this game:
- Kenza Dali, who played 68 minutes, made a great game with one goal (17′) and two decisive passes (9′, 23′).
- Marie-Antoinette Katoto scored two goals (9′, 23′) playing only the first half.
- Melvine Malard scored her two first goals for France squad (38′, 54′), both on a header. She had a few other opportunities.
Goals for France from Marie-Antoinette Katoto (9′, 23′), Kenza Dali (17′), Melvine Malard (38′, 54′).
France: Peyraud-Magnin, Perisset – Tounkara (Cissoko 46′) – De Almeida – Morroni, Toletti – Bilbaut – Dali (Asseyi 68′), Malard – Katoto (Baltimore 46′) – Cascarino (Bussy 68′).
Kazakhstan: Saratovtseva, Kozhakhmet – Nurusheva – Burova, Sadykova – Turlybekova – Zhanatayeva – Vlasova, Zhumabaikyzy, Bortnikova – Kubessova (Khairulina 28′ then Satygaliyeva 90+2).
Referee: M. Kulbakov (Belarus)
Elsewhere in the group, Wales cemented second spot with four points over the period. First, a 1-1 draw in Slovenia came when Kayleigh Green equalized Manja Rogan’s strike. They followed this point with a 4-0 win over Estonia in front of a record crowd to watch a Welsh women’s international match of 5,455 at the Cardiff City Stadium. Angharad James, Helen Ward, Tash Harding, and Sophie Ingle were on target.
Greece won 1-0 in Kazakhstan with a goal from Grigoria Pouliou five minutes from time. They went down 4-1 at home to Slovenia four days later. Two goals apiece from Mateja Zver and Lara Prašnikar was the difference. Despoina Chatzinikolaou converted an early penalty for the Greeks.
The remaining qualifying matches for the 2022 Asian Cup took place over the past week or so with Groups A and D completed.
In Group A, Chinese Taipei went through as qualifiers. They began their campaign with a 4-0 wins over Laos with two goals from Lai Li-chin plus further strikes from Chen Yen-ping and Su Yu-hsuan in Bahrain. They completed their campaign by defeating Bahrain 2-0 thanks to Lai Li-chin. The other game in the group ended in a 0-0 draw between Laos and Bahrain.
Groups B and C were completed in September. Click here for details.
Group D saw six games and goals galore over a seven-day period in Bishkek. Ultimately it was the opening game between Myanmar and Lebanon that decided the outcome. Myanmar comfortably overcame the Lebanese 4-0 with goals from Win Theingi Tun (penalty), Myat Noe Khin, San Thaw Thaw and July Kyaw. United Arab Emirates saw off Guam 2-1 in the first round of games due to a Nouf Al-Adwan penalty with nine minutes to go. April Talledo had put Guam ahead before Naeema Ibrahim levelled.
The second matchday saw Myanmar get their second win in emphatic style as Guam were swept aside 8-0. Two goals from both Win Theingi Tun and San Thaw Thaw, plus further strikes from Myat Noe Khin, Khin Mo Mo Tun, Pont Pont Pyae Maung and July Khaw sealed the success. Lebanon saw off the United Arab Emirates 1-0 thanks to Syntia Salha’s goal.
The final set of games saw Myanmar complete their perfect record with a 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates with Khin Mo Mo Tun and Chit Chit on target. Lebanon concluded with a 2-0 success against Guam. Hanin Tamim grabbed two goals and Layla Iskander scored.
The past week has seen 22 two-legged matches in the first qualifying round for the first-ever African Women’s Cup of Nations. Uganda overcame Ethiopia on penalties after the matches ended 2-2 on aggregate. Kenya overcame South Sudan 15-1 on aggregate with Burundi 6-0 winners over Eritrea over the two games. Djibouti gained a walkover against Rwanda with Zambia, stars of the Olympics in the summer edging past Malawi 4-3. Namibia overcame Tanzania 5-3, Zimbabwe saw off Eswatini 6-1 with Botswana 7-1 winners against Angola. Algeria won their first leg against Sudan 14-0 but, as yet, the second match has not been played due to security concerns after a coup in Sudan. Equatorial Guinea progressed after DC Congo did not compete. Togo progressed after Sao Tome and Principe withdrew after the first match which ended 5-0 to Togo. South Africa saw off Mozambique 13-0, Tunisia beat Egypt 7-2 and Gabon beat Congo on away goals after the aggregate score finished 2-2. Cameroon overcame the Central African Republic 3-0, Gambia saw off Sierra Leone 3-1 and Senegal dismissed Liberia 8-1. In the last batch of games, Mali beat Guinea 4-1, Guinea-Bissau saw off Mauritania 2-0, Burkina Faso won 5-2 over Benin, Nigeria edged Ghana 2-1 and Ivory Coast dismissed Niger 20-0.
Jamaica, fielding Manchester City’s Khadija Shaw and Chelsea’s Drew Spence, drew 0-0 with Costa Rica.
Spain overcame Morocco 3-0 on 21st October thanks to two goals from Athena del Castillo and one from Amaiur Sarriegi.
USA were held 0-0 by South Korea on 21st October in front of 18,467 fans in Kansas City. The World Champions mustered 68% of possession and had eight shots on target to Korea’s one, but frustratingly couldn’t breakthrough.
The following day saw Australia defeat Brazil 3-1 in Parramatta thanks to goals from Clare Polkinghorne, Mary Fowler and Emily van Egmond. Adriana scored for Brazil in front of 15,270 fans. For our coverage of the game, click here
Canada played their first game at home since taking the Gold Medal at the Olympics and earned a 5-1 win over New Zealand in the process. Two goals from Adriana Leon, plus strikes from Jessie Fleming, Christine Sinclair and Nichelle Prince were the difference. Ria Percival scored for the Football Ferns from the penalty spot in a game played at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa.
Colombia defeated Olympic qualifiers Chile 2-0 thanks to goals from Linda Alegria and Manuela Vanegas.
Despite having more possession and better passing accuracy, Argentina crashed to a 6-1 loss to Mexico. Florencia Bonsegundo put Argentina ahead after 11 minutes, but a staggering spell of four Mexican goals in the five minutes either side of halftime turned the game on its head. Stephany Mayor hit two in sixty seconds (one penalty), Alison Gonzalez and Maria Sanchez all scored in this period. Another Gonzalez strike and a goal five minutes from time from Joseline Montoya completed an incredible result.
We have news from four further friendlies played on 26th October. First, Australia played a dramatic 2-2 draw with Brazil in Parramatta in front of 12,087 in Parramatta. Clare Polkinghorne and Sam Kerr put the Matildas 2-0 ahead before Erika and Debinha hit back for Brazil. For our coverage of the game click here
Sweden won 2-0 in Scotland. The match was played in very wet and windy conditions in Paisley. The Scots put up a good fight, but Sweden extended their unbeaten record in matches played over 90 minutes to 22 thanks to second-half goals from Fridolina Rolfo and a Sophie Howard own goal.
Canada won their second clash with New Zealand 1-0 courtesy of Adriana Leon’s strike.
USA marked Carli Lloyd’s final international appearance with a 6-0 win over South Korea in front of 18,115 in St. Paul. Lindsey Horan put the USWNT ahead with nine minutes on the clock. An own goal from Cho So-hyun made it 2-0 at the break. Alex Morgan made it three before a further three goals in the last five minutes from Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle and Lynn Williams completed a fitting send-off for a legend of the women’s game.