Women's Senior
Women's Senior

England Women finish World Cup qualifiers with a flourish

Tuesday 04 Sep 2018
Lucy Staniforth (left), Mary Earps and Lauren Bruton pose for a photo after the win in Kazakhstan

England completed their FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign with a comfortable 6-0 win in Kazakhstan.

Beth Mead netted a goal in each half while Rachel Daly, Isobel Christiansen, Lucy Staniforth and Lucy Bronze completed the rout.

The result means Phil Neville’s side, who clinched their place at France 2019 with a 3-0 win over Wales last Friday, finished top of Group 1 with seven wins and a draw from their eight matches.

And here are five talking points from their six-goal salvo in Pavlodar:

Magnificent seven

Neville took the unorthodox step of naming his team a day early, rather than the standard practice of 75 minutes before kick-off, and handed seven players their full debuts.

Kazakhstan 0-6 England
  • 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup
  • Group 1 qualifier
  • Tuesday 4 September
  • in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan
The starting 11 had an average age of just under 24 as Neville kept his promise of giving youth a chance in this final qualifier.

Manchester City midfielder Keira Walsh, 21, captained her country for the first time in what was just her seventh appearance.

And former U20s and Under-23s team-mates Leah Williamson, Gabby George and Hannah Blundell lined up in defence in front of Wolfsburg keeper Mary Earps.

Mead makes her mark

Arsenal striker Mead, prolific at youth team level, was making just her fourth appearance at senior level, her first from the start, and it took her just nine minutes to open her England account when she converted from the penalty spot.

Mead converts her ninth-minute spot-kick

The 23-year-old added her second, and the Lionesses’ fifth, on 82 minutes.

She might have had a hat-trick but hit a second penalty against the post midway through the second half.

Debut delight

George, Staniforth and Lauren Bruton tasted senior international football for the first time and none of them appeared fazed by the occasion.

Everton defender George, who has been involved in a number of senior team squads over the last 12 months, put in an assured display at left-back.

Bruton only met up with the squad at the weekend but it didn’t take her long to get into her stride. The Reading midfielder hit the bar early on before setting up Christiansen and Bronze for their goals in the second half.

Meanwhile, Staniforth, another former youth team star, went one better and nabbed a debut goal on 66 minutes.

Lucy Staniforth (centre) is congratulated after her debut goal against Kazakhstan

59 not out

Victory over Kazakhstan has extended England’s incredible record in World Cup and European Championship qualifying matches.

The Lionesses are now unbeaten in 59 qualifiers, going all the way back to a World Cup play-off defeat by France in 2002, a run that spans six separate campaigns (they did not have to qualify as hosts of Euro 2005).

England have racked up 50 wins and nine draws over the last 16 years.

Tougher tests

After sealing qualification against Wales, England wasted no time in organising their first two World Cup warm-up matches.

They will host the mighty Brazil at Notts County’s Meadow Lane on Saturday 6 October before entertaining an improving Australia side at Fulham’s Craven Cottage on Tuesday 9 October.

'Early bird' tickets for both matches are available until Monday 10 September, priced £7.50 for adults and £1 for concessions. Adult tickets will be £10 thereafter.

Click here to buy Brazil tickets.

Click here to buy Australia tickets.

The World Cup will be held in France from 7 June to 7 July 2019.

The finals draw will take place in Paris on Saturday 8 December.

England (4-3-3): 1 Mary Earps (Wolfsburg); 2 Hannah Blundell (Chelsea), 6 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 5 Abbie McManus (Manchester City), 3 Gabby George (Everton); 10 Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City), 4 Keira Walsh (capt; Manchester City), 8 Isobel Christiansen (Lyon); 7 Lauren Bruton (Reading), 9 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), 11 Beth Mead (Arsenal).

Substitutes: 12 Lucy Bronze (Lyon) for Walsh 62, 13 Carly Telford (Chelsea) for Earps 67, 17 Toni Duggan (Barcelona) for Daly 67.

Substitutes not used: 14 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), 15 Steph Houghton (Manchester City), 16 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 18 Nikita Parris (Manchester City).

Goals: Mead (pen) 9, 82, Daly 35, Christiansen 54, Staniforth 66, Bronze 87

Head coach: Phil Neville

By Glenn Lavery