Published 17 September 2021 4 min read
England hit eight to herald new era
- E. Toone (12′)
- E. White (42′) (67′PEN)
- J. Zivikj (45′OG)
- B. England (77′) (90′)
- S. Kolarovska (79′OG)
- B. Mead (91′)
FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifying
Friday 17 September, 07:00 PM St. Mary's Stadium
HT: 3 - 0
- J. Zivikj (66′)
- U. Maksuti (68′)
Sarina Wiegman's first game with the Lionesses saw an emphatic win to kick-off new World Cup qualifying campaign
Two goals apiece from Beth England and Ellen White lifted England to a dominant 8-0 victory over North Macedonia to start the Lionesses’ World Cup qualifying campaign.
The match, the first for Sarina Wiegman in the manager’s chair, also saw scores from Ella Toone and Beth Mead as the Lionesses found their touch in Southampton.
England created plenty of opportunities to test Suarta Dervishi throughout the first half but really opened the floodgates after the restart.
And two own goals from the visitors added to their woes, as the Lionesses cruised to a comfortable win.
Eighth-ranked England were defeated in back-to-back friendlies against Canada and France in April, but entered this match against 131st-ranked North Macedonia having not lost a EURO or World Cup qualifier in nearly two decades.
Arsenal’s Leah Williamson was handed her first captain’s armband in place of Steph Houghton, a late scratch from the squad after sustaining an ankle injury in the Lionesses’ final training session. Wiegman also elected to rest Chelsea striker Fran Kirby, who had taken part in only reduced training sessions in camp.
And England had their first chance within a minute of kick-off, with Rachel Daly quickly powering down the right and finding Lauren Hemp, who nodded high.
Mary Earps got her hands on the ball within ten minutes, easily gathering a half-chance from North Macedonia.
The Lionesses created plenty of chances in but couldn’t finish, with Hemp seeing another attempt stopped by Dervishi before firing across the net moments later.
White soon connected with a Mead pass the corner of the box but flicked just over the net, with an unmarked Toone then missing an attempt.
Williamson finally found Toone in perfect position in front of goal, with the Manchester United forward slotting home to put her side ahead in the 12th minute.
North Macedonia’s only real opportunity before the break came midway through the half, with Ulza Maksuti accepting a long pass before firing the ball over the England net.
A different kind of scare for England came on the 30-minute mark as Toone collided with a North Macedonian defender and hobbled off assisted by Lionesses trainers, before garnering a rousing cheer from the boisterous home crowd when she returned five minutes later.
It proved critical soon after, with Toone working the ball to White whose clinical left-footed finish into the bottom left corner doubled the score on 42 minutes.
Two minutes later Alex Greenwood whipped a cross in the path of White, but the damage was ultimately done by Julija Zivikj, whose failed clearance rebounded for an own goal.
England, who dominated with 90 per cent possession, settled in after the restart, frequently testing Dervishi who made a few solid stops to prevent more early damage.
But the Lionesses soon opened the floodgates, with Williamson drawing a penalty and White converting past a diving Dervishi into the bottom right corner for England’s fourth on 70 minutes.
Substitute Jill Scott nearly added to the tally on her 152nd appearance within a minute of entering the match, but it was England who added another for the Lionesses, with Dervishi only able to swipe away a Nikita Parris cross and England heading home the rebound.
Another own goal from North Macedonia, this time a volley from Sara Kolarovska, cost her side another for the Lionesses’ sixth on 79 minutes.
And with the crowd already singing Sweet Caroline, two goals in two minutes from two Beths—England then Mead—sealed the dominant victory.
18 Sep 2021 6:13
Highlights: England 8-0 North Macedonia
See all the goals as the Lionesses find their scoring touch in Southampton
England: (4-3-3): 1 Mary Earps (Manchester United), 2 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City), 4 Leah Williamson (Arsenal) (c), 5 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 6 Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), 7 Beth Mead (Arsenal), 8 Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), 9 Ellen White (Manchester City), 10 Ella Toone (Manchester United), 11 Lauren Hemp (Manchester City)
Substitutes: 16 Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal) for Bright 63’, 17 Nikita Parris (Arsenal) for Hemp 63’, 19 Bethany England (Chelsea) for Stanway 71’, 20 Jill Scott (Manchester City) for White 72’, 12 Niamh Charles (Chelsea) for Daly 82’
Substitutes not used: 13 Sandy MacIver (Everton), 21 Carly Telford (Chelsea), 14 Katie Zelem (Manchester United), 18 Lucy Staniforth (Manchester United), 22 Ebony Salmon (Racing Louisville), 23 Jess Carter (Chelsea)
Coach: Sarina Wiegman
Goals: Toone 12’, White 42’, 67’ (pen), England 77’, 90’, Mead 90+1
North Macedonia (4-5-1): 1 Suarta Dervishi, 2 Sindis Polozhani, 5 Pavlina Nikolovska, 6 Sara Kolarovska, 7 Gentjana Rochi, 8 Aleksandra Markovska, 9 Ulza Maksuti, 10 Natasa Andonova, 11 Afrodita Salihi, 13 Julija Zivikj, 16 Hava Mustafa
Substitutes: 14 Rabija Dervishi for Markovska 45’, 19 Kristina Petrushevska for Salhili 79’, 4 Katerina Mileska for Mustafa 86’, 17 Teodora Dimoska for Maksuti 90+1’
Substitutes not used: 12 Magdalena Lekovska, 22 Verica Kolevska, 3 Ane Bošeska, 15 Elena Paneska, , 18 Jana Chubrinovska, 20 Radica Choneva, 21 Elena Petrovska, 23 Teodora Jankovska
Coach: Kiril Izov
Goals: Julija Zivikj (OG) 45’, Sara Kolarovska 79’ (OG)
Bookings: Zivikj, Maksuti
Referee: Maria Dolores Martinez Madrona