England 6-1 Belgium - Arnold Clark Cup match centre
- C. Kelly (12′) (50′)
- L. Williamson (42′) (93′)
- J. Biesmans (78′OG)
- L. Bronze (89′)
- E. Dhont (91′)
- V. Ampoorter (64′)
The Lionesses retained the Arnold Clark Cup title for 2023 after a high-scoring victory in their final game against the Red Flames
England v Belgium
Arnold Clark Cup
7.45pm GMT, Wednesday 22 February 2023
Live on ITV
Ashton Gate, Bristol City FC
What was said
England boss Sarina Wiegman is looking to tick two boxes when her team conclude their Arnold Clark Cup 2023 campaign on Wednesday.
The Lionesses head to Bristol for their final game of this year’s tournament against Belgium, knowing that a win or draw will be enough for them to retain their title.
And Wiegman has promised there’ll be changes to the team which beat Italy previously and Korea Republic in their opening game as she continues to plan for this summer’s World Cup.
"Of course, we want to win the tournament and we also want to manage the load a little bit,” revealed Wiegman ahead of the squad’s trip from St. George’s Park to the south-west.
"This whole tournament is to get ready for 22 July and the World Cup, but of course we want to win every game we play.
"We really don't know the strongest eleven at this moment and we don't need to know it yet, but it shows that our team is really good so it's hard to make decisions.
"I'm happy that the depth in the squad is growing, so what you see now, makes it really hard to make decisions.
"And what you see now is a really big group, and there's more than the 23 who are going to the World Cup that can play at that stage so of course that makes it hard for us to make decisions.”
England last met Belgium on home soil in the build-up to last year’s EURO campaign, when they ran out as convincing winners at Molineux.
And while the Red Flames missed out on qualification for this year’s World Cup, Wiegman knows they’re still capable of causing problems for her team.
"They play a recognisable style of play and are well organised with some very good players,” she revealed.
“They also have some height in their team which they use too.
"We expect that we'll be in possession a lot, but they can challenge us in some moments as well if we give them the opportunity.”
Belgium in profile
Nickname: Belgian Red Flames
Coach: Ives Serneels
Captain: Tessa Wulaert
Opta stats and facts
● England are unbeaten in each of their last eleven meetings with Belgium in all competitions (W8 D3), since a 2-1 away defeat back in May 1980.
● Belgium have never kept a clean sheet against England in their 13 meetings so far, conceding a total of 31 goals in the process (2.4 per game). At the other end, Belgium have failed to score on eight occasions against the Lionesses.
● England have never lost a match against Belgium on home soil, winning four of their five encounters (D1). The Lionesses have kept a clean sheet in four of these five games and shipped just one goal in total.
● Belgium have won each of their last three matches in a row, having won just three of their previous nine in all competitions (D1 L5) – they last won four in a row back in November 2019.
● England are currently unbeaten in 28 matches in all competitions (W24 D4), extending their longest ever unbeaten run. Over this period, they have scored 131 goals while conceding only eight at the other end.
● Last time out versus Italy, Rachel Daly scored twice in a game for England for only the second time in her career and first time since Latvia back in October 2021. Indeed, Daly has scored four goals in her last four appearances for the Lionesses, as many as in her previous 21 combined.
● After failing to score or assist in each of her first five appearances for England, Lauren James has registered a goal involvement in her last two matches, scoring versus Korea Republic and assisting against Italy.
● Tessa Wullaert has scored six goals in her last five games for Belgium in all competitions, as well as providing two assists in this run.
Highlights: England 3-0 Belgium
See the best of the action from England's last game with Belgium in the build up to EURO 2022
Head to head
The Lionesses have met Belgium on 13 previous occasions over the years, with England enjoying nine wins, sharing three draws and with Belgium picking up one victory.
Our first game came back in October 1978, when it ended in a 3-0 win at the Dell, former home of Southampton FC.3
You can see details of our last three games below:-
England 3-0 Belgium, 16 June 2022, Wolverhampton Wanderers
In what was the first of England's summer build-up games to last year's EURO 2022 Finals, Sarina Wiegman's side started out with an impressive win at Molineux. Chloe Kelly's first senior goal was followed by a strike from Rachel Daly before a late own goal from Belgium's Nicky Evrard rounded things off.
Belgium 0-2 England, 20 September 2016, Leuven
The Lionesses secured top spot in their qualifying group for UEFA EURO 2017 with this victory, which came courtesy of second-half goals from Nikita Parris and Karen Carney.
England 1-1 Belgium, 8 April 2016, Rotherham United
An equaliser from Jill Scott rescued a point for Mark Sampson's side in this EURO 2017 qualifier at the New York Stadium. Belgium had taken the lead in the first half through Janice Cayman after an uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper Karen Bardsley. But Scott was the hero to prevent defeat when she got on the end of an Alex Scott cross to level things up.
Highlights: England 1-1 Belgium
See the best of the action from 2016 when the nations met in EURO qualifying
England Squad News
Tickets for all of the Arnold Clark Cup 2023 games are on sale now. Members of My England Football also receive priority access for home tickets, but as this competition is organised by a third party, they can only be purchased directly here.
How to watch or stream
This game will be shown live on ITV in the UK.
Kelly and Leah Williamson gave the Lionesses a two-goal lead in the first half with wingers Kelly and Lauren James dominating the attack.
The second half saw Kelly score another close-range goal as she sealed the Golden Boot before an own goal from Julie Biesmans and late goals from Lucy Bronze and Williamson rounded off a fantastic performance for England.
Kelly provided several chances throughout the match, twice dribbling her way into the box and unleashing crosses early on, the second of which was narrowly turned behind.
With 12 minutes gone, James took over the attacking intent, dancing down the right and unleashing a cross that none of the Belgium defence dealt with to leave Kelly the opportunity to stab home in similar fashion to her goal in last summer's European Championship final.
Seconds later, James puts in a vital tackle to snuff out one of very few forays Belgium made into England’s half during the first period.
A golden chance to double England’s lead was headed over by Millie Bright in the 27th minute, but the 2022 Golden Boot winner in this competition couldn't get the right angle on a corner from Alex Greenwood and Belgium survived.
And Bronze showed the defence were just as able to provide assists, as she did well to work the ball to the byline and chip in a perfect cross for Williamson to head home at the far post after 42 minutes.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Kelly involved early again, this time firing in England’s third as she latched onto a spilt ball from Belgian 'keeper Nicky Evrard after a cross from Ella Toone.
The Manchester City star almost had her hat-trick with an hour gone, pinging the corner of the crossbar before Toone rattled the upright minutes later as she shot from the same angle with Evrard getting fingertips to it to tip onto the bar.
Georgia Stanway then caught Kassandra Missipo napping with 20 minutes to go, but her shot took a deflection and Evrard was able to tip behind for a corner.
England’s fourth came courtesy of an own goal from Biesmans who could do nothing but direct a dangerous cross from Stanway into the bottom corner of her own net.
Then Bronze tapped home the Lionesses' fifth of the night in the 89th minute before a stunning late strike from Elena Dhont saw the visitors finally able to enjoy a little cheer of their own.
England had the final say though, as Williamson's precisely-executed shot from outside the box picked out the bottom corner in stoppage time to wrap things up.
The Lionesses proceeded to lift the trophy in front of 26,169 fans as they extended their unbeaten run under Sarina Wiegman through another tournament.
Substitutes: 11 Lauren Hemp for James 46’, 15 Jess Carter for Greenwood 63’, 12 Rachel Daly for Russo 72’, 14 Jess Park for Toone 81’, 22 Lotte Wubben-Moy for Walsh 81’
Substitutes not used: 13 Ellie Roebuck, 21 Sandy Maciver; 17 Ebony Salmon, 18 Katie Zelem, 19 Niamh Charles, 20 Katie Robinson, 23 Maya Le Tissier, 24 Jordan Nobbs, 25 Laura Coombs
Goals: Kelly 12’ 50’, Williamson 42’ 90+2, Biesmans OG 78’, Bronze 89’
Coach: Sarina Wiegman
Belgium (4-4-2): 1 Nicky Evrard; 5 Sarah Wijnants, 6 Tine De Caigny, 9 Tessa Wullaert, 10 Justine Vanhaevermaet, 11 Janice Cayman, 15 Jody Vangheluwe, 16 Marie Detruyer, 17 Jill Janssens, 20 Julie Biesmans, 23 Kassandra Missipo
Substitutes: 13 Elena Dhont for Detruyer 62’, 26 Valesca Ampoorter for Janssens 62’, 22 Laura Deloose fpr Vangheluwe 62’, 24 Fran Meersman for Biesmans 85’ 7 Hannah Eurlings for Missipo 85’, 25 Welma Fon for Wullaert 89’
Substitutes not used: 12 Diede Lemey, 21 Femke Bastiaen; 2 Davina Philtjens, 3 Ella Van Kerkhoven, 4 Michelle Colson
Goals: Dhont 90+1’
Coach: Ives Serneels