by Johnathan Stack at the Bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent (7/9/22)
Above: There was plenty for the Lionesses to celebrate last night. Photo: Lionesses.
It was not cold, wet, or windy, but England were on fire and certainly did the job on a Tuesday night in Stoke-on-Trent beating Luxembourg 10-0 to round off their FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers in dominating fashion.
Goals from Alessia Russo, Rachel Daly, Beth Mead, Nikita Parris, Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp, and braces from Georgia Stanway and Bethany England saw England finish with a perfect 100% record in qualifying.
England were in control of the match from the start and were as ruthless as they have been throughout these qualifiers as they looked to finish Group D flawlessly. They created chance after chance.
It was a great display all around as England goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck did not touch the ball once with her hands as Luxembourg failed to register a shot on goal with the Lionesses finishing with 81% possession to boot.
Ten wins from ten for the European champions in the qualifying campaign meant it was a night to remember as England took to the field for the first time on home soil since the historic triumph over Germany at the end of July.
Before the match, recently retired Lioness legend Jill Scott brought the UEFA Euro trophy onto the pitch, and England head coach Sarina Wiegman was presented with her UEFA Women’s coach of the year award in from of a home crowd of just over 24,000.
It was a great performance yet again from the Lionesses who picked up their third 10-0 win of the qualifying campaign, finishing with a goal difference of +80 with no goals conceded throughout the entirety of the campaign – extremely impressive stats that should not go unnoticed.
So, with the World Cup qualifiers, over focus and attention will now be on the new WSL season that starts this weekend, but it won’t be too long before the Lionesses return to St George’s Park for another international period as next month, they take on world champions the USA at a sold-out Wembley Stadium together with a friendly against the Czech Republic at Brighton’s Amex Stadium four days later.
After the game, England head coach Sarina Wiegman expressed her delight with how the qualification campaign went saying: “I don’t think it could be much better than this so I’m really happy. The team has done a tremendous job coming out of the summer, everyone came in very differently, but then you play two games like this and we knew, of course, tonight we were so much better than Luxembourg but we still had to had to make the tempo of the game and keep the energy in the game that’s what we really wanted to do and I think that’s what we did for the most part of the game and 10-0 is really nice to go home with too.”
England captain Leah Williamson who provided a glorious assist for Alessia Russo for England’s second goal spoke about ending the qualifiers on a high: “It was a great campaign from us, and we always want to be better, we will look at those areas but in terms results on the pitch you couldn’t have asked for much more.” Williamson also spoke about carrying on the legacy that is being created post-Euro’s “We have set a tone and hopefully, across the WSL it will continue but every time we play an England game, we want people to come and have that experience.”
It has been a very successful summer for England who will have one eye on preparations for next summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, but will have the other eye on the upcoming task ahead as they prepare for a World Champions vs European Champions showdown.
Teams: ENGLAND (4-3-3): Roebuck, Bronze, Daly, Walsh, Williamson, Greenwood, Parris, Stanway, Russo, Toone, Mead. Substitutes: Earps (GK), MacIver (GK), Bright, Zelem, Wubben-Moy, Carter, Hemp, Nobbs, England, Stokes, James, Salmon.
Scorers: Stanway (pen) 12′, 26′. Russo 18′, Daly 38′, Mead 40′, England 48′, 90+2′. Parris 59′ Toone (pen) 73′, Hemp 90′.
LUXEMBOURG (4-4-1-1): Schlime, Becker, Kremer, Lourenco, Dos Santos, Schmit, Soares Marques, Jorge, Have, Lourenco. Substitutes: Goetz, Weyer, Ludwig, Delgado, Mendes, Schon, Tiberi, Marques Abreu, Kocan, Albert.
Referee: Simona Ghisletta (SUI).