England signed off their World Cup qualifying campaign with another huge victory, beating Luxembourg 10-0 at the Bet365 Stadium in their first home match since winning the Euros.
There was a celebratory atmosphere in Stoke as the recently-retired Jill Scott brought out the Euro 2022 trophy ahead of the game, with Sarina Wiegman also officially receiving her UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year award from Baroness Sue Campbell.
But once the game began, it was all business from England in what was ultimately a routine win. Georgia Stanway opened things up in the 12th minute, converting from the penalty spot, before Alessia Russo (17) added the second with a headed finish.
Stanway (26) added her second soon after as she fired home from a Beth Mead cut-back, as Rachel Daly (38) and Mead herself rounded off the five first-half goals.
It did not get easier for Luxembourg after half-time as second-half substitute Bethany England (48) slotted home less than three minutes after the restart.
Nikita Parris (59) and Ella Toone (73) both added well-deserved goals, with the latter’s also coming from the spot after England were awarded a second penalty of the game.
But the crowd were eager for double figures – and they had to wait until the final minutes for numbers nine and 10. Lauren Hemp (90) scored on the rebound after goalkeeper Lucie Schlime saved Lucy Bronze’s header. England (90+2) then completed her own double with a powerful header on the stroke of full-time.
It sees the Lionesses complete a perfect World Cup qualifying campaign, with 10 wins, 80 goals scores and none conceded. Half of their victories were double figures, including a record-breaking 20-0 win against Latvia in November 2021.
How England cruised to victory again
It took 12 minutes for England to open the scoring at the Bet365 Stadium. Russo was tripped inside the area by Catherine Have, with the referee pointing to the spot. Stanway lined up the spot kick and although goalkeeper Schlime did go the right way, it was not enough to keep the midfielder from scoring her penalty.
- Sarina Wiegman made three changes from the 2-0 victory against Austria on Saturday. Ellie Roebuck replaced Mary Earps in goal, with Millie Bright replaced by Rachel Daly in defence. Lauren Hemp also made way for Nikita Parris going forward.
- Keira Walsh also earned her 50th England camp amid reports Barcelona are interested in signing her before Thursday’s transfer deadline.
It was a case of when, not if, the second goal would come and it arrived six minutes later. Having already missed two chances, Russo finally made the breakthrough after a superb England move. Leah Williamson played an inch-perfect, diagonal cross into the area, which the striker met with her head to power past the goalkeeper.
A few minutes after Alex Greenwood hit the post from a corner, Stanway added her second. Mead cut the ball back from the left wing, having been picked out by a delightful Toone pass. Stanway was waiting to collect with plenty of space before sweeping home.
England ended an impressive first half with two goals in mere seconds of one another. The first was the result of a fine short corner routine, with Greenwood finding Toone. The forward then played a neat one-two with Bronze before lifting a wonderful, long pass to the back post where Daly was waiting to nod home.
The Lionesses almost immediately won possession back after the restart, with Daly finding Mead down the left. The forward then darted through the area, easing past defenders. She then sent her shot on target, with the ball looping off Schlime’s foot on the way through.
The hosts made three substitutions at half-time, with replacement striker England scoring mere minutes after coming on. Toone again set things up, finding Mead on the left. She fired a low cross through the six-yard box with England lurking to poke home from close range.
The closest Luxembourg came to a goal was in the 57th minute, and it was almost a calamitous error from Ellie Roebuck on her first competitive start. Greenwood played the ball back to her, but was too lackadaisical with her attempt to stop it with her foot. It took a minor scramble to stop the ball from rolling over the line.
At the other end, the goals kept flowing and a hard-working Parris was soon on the scoresheet. England and Toone played a neat one-two, with the latter threading the ball through for her new Man Utd team-mate. Parris then showed superb composure to slot home for the Lionesses’ seventh.
In the 73rd minute, England were awarded their second penalty of the evening with Parris tripped over by Julie Marques Abreu. It was another fine spot kick, this time from Toone, as she added a goal to an overall impressive performance.
And in the final two minutes of the game, the Lionesses finally reached the perfect 10. Hemp’s goal initially began with a corner, as Bronze’s header was saved low by Schlime. But Hemp was there to net the rebound over the top of the ducked goalkeeper on the stroke of the 90th minute.
The Bet365 Stadium erupted as England netted the tenth and final goal with the last kick of the game. Another goal scored from a corner, she sent a powerful header into the back of the net to complete her own double for the evening.
Wiegman pleased with World Cup qualification
England manager Sarina Wiegman speaking to ITV:
“The difference between England and Luxembourg is so big that you have to make the game yourself with the tempo.
“But I thought we played well. We had some great goals with some things we want to do as a team like one-touch and cut-backs, some set plays too. It was nice to see and I hope the people enjoyed it, too.
“It is hard in these games to keep the tempo up so towards the end we slowed up but we managed to get the two goals in the 90 and 92nd minute. Overall, over the whole qualification, we’ve done really well.
“Of course, there are areas to improve, but you need the big games. This is a game that you know you are going to win, you always have to work hard, you should never take things for granted.
“In the next camp, we have a very good opponent in the USA so we’ll have to do well in all the areas, in transition, in defence to be successful.”
England: We had to show up after a big summer
England goalscorer Bethany England to ITV:
“We knew after a big summer, we had to show up. We did well against Austria and we just wanted to continue that good form. Being clinical in front of goal was the most important thing and we did that.
“I’m absolutely buzzing. It’s a team sport and I could not be prouder to be part of this team so to be able to get two at the end and make it 10, I’m really happy.
“It was always going to be tough [for the No 9 spot], Ellen White led the line for a number of years tremendously and Alessia Russo, I can’t praise her enough for what she did in the Euros. I’m so proud of her.
“I know it’s tough but we’re here together and we fight for each other while we’re on the pitch.”
Carney: USA match will be barometer for England
Sky Sports’ Karen Carney to ITV:
“After the semi-final in 2019, the US kind of said to our team, ‘we know you’re coming for us.’ Now that England have won the Euros, they’re definitely coming for them.
“This is a big barometer. How close are we? How good are we? European champions up against world champions. It’s a great test for Sarina and the squad.”
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes to ITV:
“What a game [England v USA], first of all.
“It’s the sort of game that would have been a shoo-in for the United States over the years but for them to face England, not just as Europeans champions but playing well and being in season, I think it’ll be a cracker of a game.”
England have two more games in 2022 as they take on the USA in a friendly at Wembley on Friday, October 7, before facing Czech Republic at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday, October 11.