Report: North Macedonia 0-10 England
- G. Rochi (44′)
- A. Salihi (75′)
- U. Maksuti (79′)
- S. Velkova (84′)
- A. Markovska (90′)
- B. Mead (5′) (12′) (47′) (53′)
- E. Toone (24′) (74′) (78′)
- E. White (41′)
- G. Stanway (45′) (56′)
Returning to action after winning the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup earlier this year, England raced into an early lead in Skopje after Mead struck twice inside the opening 12 minutes.
Mead added a fourth moments later and Stanway netted her second before Toone scored twice more to secure a hat-trick of her own as the Group D leaders hit double digits once again.
Sarina Wiegman’s side have now scored 10 or more goals in four of their seven matches in this qualifying campaign, putting them in touching distance of securing their qualification.
North Macedonia had also been the opponents for Wiegman’s first game in charge back in September, when England romped to an 8-0 success at St Mary’s Stadium.
And it was not long before the visitors signalled their intent in the reverse fixture, with Stanway testing North Macedonia goalkeeper Viktorija Panchurova within two minutes.
The breakthrough followed soon after as the Lionesses’ early pressure paid off, with Lauren Hemp firing a superb pass across the face of goal for Mead to convert from close range.
England continued to look threatening every time they went forward and Hemp caused problems again on 10 minutes, with her cross almost spilled by Panchurova into her own net.
Just a couple of minutes later, the Lionesses doubled their lead as Mead struck again for her 10th goal of England’s 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Arsenal forward skipped down the flank before floating a cross into the box that looped over the helpless North Macedonian keeper and nestled into the net.
White almost made it three on 16 minutes but her header from Demi Stokes’ cross slammed against the post, while Hemp drilled a low attempt just wide moments later.
England did not have to wait long for a third goal, however, with Toone increasing the visitors’ lead on 24 minutes with a crisply struck effort from 20 yards that left Panchurova no chance.
Jess Carter and Hemp both had chances to make it four before the half-hour mark, while Mead was denied a first-half hat-trick by the North Macedonia shot-stopper on 33 minutes.
But the Lionesses showed no signed of easing up before the break and White bagged her 50th England goal on 41 minutes, leaping highest to meet Toone’s cross and head home.
That goal moved White ahead of Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Kane in the list of England’s all-time top scorers and there was still time for one more for the Lionesses before half-time.
Stanway completed the first-half scoring for the visitors in the final minute, turning in Hemp’s cut-back to finish off a brilliant team move and put England 5-0 up at the interval.
England picked up where they left off after the restart as Mead completed her hat-trick of hat-tricks in this qualifying campaign, controlling the ball before slotting it past the keeper.
Mead then scored her fourth and England’s seventh of the game on 53 minutes, pouncing on Hemp’s blocked attempt to ruthlessly fire the ball past Panchurova once again.
The Lionesses equalled the scoreline of the reverse fixture two minutes later, with Stanway turning her marker in the box before drilling the ball hard and low into the net.
While the result had long been beyond doubt, England refused to take their foot off the gas and Toone netted her second from eight yards out after good work from sub Alessia Russo.
And Toone was on target again just moments later, completing her second hat-trick of the qualifying campaign with a clever finish as the away side brought up double digits.
England thought they had an 11th goal on 84 minutes, only for Nikita Parris to see her header ruled out for offside, but it mattered not on a comfortable evening for Wiegman’s side.
England (4-3-3): 13 Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa); 2 Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), 6 Millie Bright (C) (Chelsea), 5 Jess Carter (Chelsea), 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City); 8 Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), 4 Keira Walsh (Manchester City), 10 Ella Toone (Manchester United); 7 Beth Mead (Arsenal), 9 Ellen White (Manchester City), 11 Lauren Hemp (Manchester City)
Substitutes: 17 Nikita Parris (Arsenal) for Hemp 60’, 20 Jill Scott (Aston Villa, on loan from Manchester City) for Stanway 61’, 14 Katie Zelem (Manchester United) for Walsh 71’, 12 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash) for Bronze 71’, 19 Alessia Russo (Manchester United) for White 71’
Substitutes not used: 1 Mary Earps (Manchester United), 21 Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), 15 Gabby George (Everton), 18 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal)
Goals: Mead 5’, 12’, 47’, 53’, Toone 24’, 74’, 78’, White 41’, Stanway 45’, 56’
North Macedonia (5-4-1): 1 Viktorija Panchurova, 4 Ane Boseska, 18 Elena Petrovska, 5 Pavlina Nikolovska, 14 Hristina Joshevska, 15 Sara Velkova, 21 Eli Jakovska, 16 Hava Mustafa, 10 Natasa Andonova, 9 Ulza Maksuti, 7 Gentjana Rochi
Substitutes: 6 Elma Shemsovikj for Mustafa 45’, 11 Afrodita Saliihi for Rochi 54’, 17 Angela Stojkovska for Petrovska 55’, 8 Aleksandra Markovska for Andonova, 19 Kristina Petrushevska for Nikolovska 80’
Substitutes not used: 2 Daniela Veleska, 3 Teodora Gjorgjevska, 12 Lina Samardzievska, 13 Ivana Nikolova, 20 Choneva, 23 Kristina Pavlovska
Bookings: Rochi 43’, Saliihi 74’, Maksuti 79’, Velkova 84’, Markovska 90’
Referee: Vivian Peeters
What Was Said
“We have to make the game, we have to speed up the game and that’s what we tried to do in the first and second half.
“We scored 10 goals which is nice. We also created a lot of chances and had some good preparation for Tuesday.
“It’s hard as we created lots of chances and sometimes we should have been a little more patient with the timing of the runs in front of the goal, that could have been a little better. But still if you score 10 goals, that’s a good result.”
When asked about the progress England have made since her first game in charge against North Macedonia last September, she replied: “I think a lot. The way we want to play really comes across.
“We have been talking about that a lot with the team and the team believes in that too. I think the connection today, you could see compared to the first game in September.
“That’s a big difference and that’s really nice to see.”
“The result is really pleasing and again to score that amount of goals. I think the overall performance, our standards are remaining really high and we wanted the three points.
“I think the overall performance was really pleasing and obviously scoring 10 goals as well.”
On surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Kane in the list of England's all-time leading scorers, she added: “Obviously it’s a massive privilege. It's a dream for me to play for England.
“For me it’s about any way that I can contribute to the team so obviously I'm delighted to get on the scoresheet but for me it's all about the team, winning and getting to the World Cup.
“But it’s an incredible feeling to be amongst those amazing players.”