Mead hits four and White reaches 50 in England’s 10-0 rout of North Macedonia | Women’s World Cup 2023


Beth Mead scored four, bagging her third hat-trick of England’s World Cup qualifying campaign, and Ellen White became the second player to reach 50 goals for England as the Lionesses beat North Macedonia 10-0 in Skopje.

Manchester United forward Ella Toone also scored three and Georgia Stanway struck either side of the break as England ran riot against the team they beat 8-0 in the reverse fixture.

“I’m impressed with how we scored the goals, it doesn’t matter who scores them,” said manager Sarina Wiegman. “This is what we wanted, we wanted to create a lot of chances and score a lot of goals and concede none. So that’s what we did. We found each other better and better in the pockets and behind the defence and hopefully we can do that also against opponents from a higher level.”

Although the scoreline was favourable, the Lionesses weren’t quite as clinical as they perhaps should have been against a team positioned 124 places below them in the Fifa world rankings, the team’s 10 goals coming from 39 shots to North Macedonia’s one and 82% of the possession. “We always hope that [the ratio is a little better],” said Wiegman. “We’re always working to make it better next time.”

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Roundup: Wales narrowly beaten by France

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Wales suffered a 2-1 defeat in Women’s World Cup qualifying Group I as France maintained their 100% record at Llanelli. Wendie Renard’s header from a corner and Marie-Antoinette Katoto’s close-range finish put France 2-0 ahead, but the hosts produced a late rally.

Sophie Ingle’s deflected strike gave Wales hope with 19 minutes to go and Gemma Evans thought she had equalised, but her header was ruled out for offside. Helen Ward [pictured, centre] was sent on in stoppage time to win her 100th cap for her country as the visitors held on.

Slovenia‘s 2-0 win over Kazakhstan moves them one point above Wales in the race for second place and a playoff spot – but Gemma Grainger’s side have a game in hand and will expect to earn maximum points in Kazakhstan on Tuesday.

In Group D, Northern Ireland‘s playoff hopes suffered a blow as they lost 3-1 to Austria in Vienna. After a goalless first half, Austria captain Carina Wenninger broke the deadlock from a corner and the hosts added two more goals in quick succession.

Nicole Billa punished a defensive error and Barbara Dunst finished from Laura Feiersinger’s pass to complete a 10-minute flurry, with Joely Andrews’ first international goal only a late consolation. The win puts Austria three points ahead in second place with three games to play.

Photograph: Chris Fairweather/Rex Features

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Nevertheless, with the glow of Skopje’s 66m high Millennium Cross on top of the Vodno mountain hovering above the swooping roof of the Tose Proeski Arena that mirrored its curve, England were five goals ahead at the close of the first half. And they had done so without a host of key players, with captain Leah Williamson out following concussion protocol and defenders Alex Greenwood and Lotte Wubben-Moy left behind with knee and thigh injuries respectively.

It took just five minutes for England to take the lead, but they could have been ahead already, with White whipping a header from a Lauren Hemp cross wide in the second minute. Hemp was the provider for the opener, delivering a similar ball from the left which was missed by White before being powered in at the far post by Mead.

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Mead would score England’s second, latching on to a neat pass from Stanway before dinking a cross-shot over goalkeeper Viktorija Panchurova and into the side netting from a tight angle. Midway through the half Toone added another, embarking on a driving run before lashing beyond Panchurova from the edge of the box.

Having missed a host of chances, including clipping a header off the top of the bar, White finally grabbed her 50th England goal, taking her clear of Bobby Charlton and Harry Kane’s tallies and to within three of Wayne Rooney’s record. Shortly after, Hemp cut back to Stanway in the middle and the Manchester City midfielder hammered home.

Ellen White scores her 50th England goal, to put the visitors 4-0 ahead.
Ellen White scores her 50th England goal, to put the visitors 4-0 ahead. Photograph: Georgi Licovski/EPA

“I’ll always throw it back to the team,” said White. “I’m delighted to reach that milestone. But, for me, it’s all about winning and the team winning. I know that my job is to score goals, but ultimately, I want the team to win and I want the three points for us to qualify for the World Cup, so that’s the main priority really.” Wiegman added: “Yes it’s 50, but 49 was already a great score and she already has the record.”

There was a small but vocal crowd boosted by contrasting clusters of Macedonian children and small groups of British Nato forces among the families and friends of players. While the latter group roared on the unfamiliar players in white with gusto, there were also unfortunately some unsavoury words directed towards the pitch.

Shortly after the break, Mead grabbed her hat-trick, sending the ball into the corner from eight yards out then, added her fourth six minutes later, pouncing on the rebound after Panchurova did well to push away Hemp’s strike. Two minutes later, Stanway added the eighth, collecting Hemp’s pass with her back to goal before swivelling and drilling low into the net.

Toone scored her second in the 73rd minute from close range, before securing her second senior hat-trick to take England into double figures four minutes later – her first coming in England’s recent 10-0 defeat of Latvia in Riga.

England now head to Belfast, where they will face a sterner test in this summer’s Euros Group A opponents Northern Ireland. Ranked 46th in the world, they have sold out Windsor Park for the visit of the Lionesses. Should Wiegman’s team win, and Austria fail to earn maximum points during this international window, then England will qualify for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with two games still to play.



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