·3 September 2022
·3 September 2022
England booked their place at the 2023 World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Austria on Saturday evening.
Playing their first match since being crowned European Champions, goals from Alessia Russo and Nikita Parris either side of half time saw the Lionesses to victory.
Having been given a stern test by a resilient Austria side when the pair met two months earlier in the opening group match of Euro 2022, England took the lead with surprising ease inside seven minutes. Alex Greenwood dug out the cross from the left flank, Lauren Hemp won the header and Russo reacted quickest to volley home.
England were in the ascendancy and it appeared as if they could enjoy a straightforward afternoon of it, Hemp and Georgia Stanway striding forward with purpose on a number of occasions and looking dangerous.
However, Austria grew into the game and the Lionesses occasionally looked slightly precarious playing out from the back as the hosts pressed energetically. Julia Hickelsberger saw Austria's best chance of the first period, firing narrowly over after winning the ball back high up in England's half of the pitch.
The Lionesses were almost punished for their casualness when building from the back early in the second half, as Mary Earps was dispossessed by Hickelsberger in her own box after being slightly undersold a pass by Leah Williamson. The England goalkeeper was fortunate to watch the ball trickle wide of the post.
Stanway saw an effort well saved by the feet of Manuela Zinsberger after being cleverly teed up by Russo, before Earps stretched magnificently to tip over Laura Feiersinger's strike from range.
England doubled their lead with 21 minutes remaining. Stanway split the Austria backline with a fabulous through ball for Parris, and the substitute lashed home emphatically to confirm all three points for the Lionesses and confirm their place at the World Cup.
Puntigam pressures Walsh / Christian Hofer/GettyImages
GK: Manuela Zinsberger - 6/10 - Kept Stanway out well in the second half with a good stop with her feet.RB: Laura Wienroither - 7/10 - Dogged and resilient against both Mead and Hemp, rarely allowing anyone past her.CB: Carina Wenninger - 6/10 - Struggled to deal with the dynamic Russo at times.CB: Marina Georgieva - 6/10 - Lost track of Russo, giving the England forward too much space for England's opening goal.LB: Verena Hanshaw - 4/10 - Lost out in the air to Hemp in the build up to England's opening goal, and lost the run of Parris in the build up to England's second.RM: Julia Hickelsberger - 6/10 - Fired Austria's best opening of the first half narrowly over. Didn't track the run of Greenwood in the buildup to England's opener. Almost equalised after dispossessing Earps in the England box. Replaced just before the 70 minute mark.CM: Sarah Puntigam - 5/10 - Struggled to deal with the energetic Stanway at times, not often able to provide service for Billa.CM: Sarah Zadrazil - 6/10 - Tidy in possession and linked play well, but unable to have any real lasting attacking input on proceedings.CM: Laura Feiersinger - 6/10 - Almost levelled the scores for Austria with a strike from the edge of the box, but saw her effort well saved. Spread play well on a few occasions.LM: Barbara Dunst - 5/10 - Frequently forced back to deal with the marauding Bronze. Switched to the right flank in the second half.ST: Nicole Billa - 5/10 - Left to feed off scraps and largely well marshalled by Bright and Williamson.SUB: Katharina Elisa Naschenweng - 5/10SUB: Katja Wienerroither - 5/10SUB: Marie Höbinger - 5/10SUB: Lisa Kolb - 5/10
England took the lead inside seven minutes against Austria / Christian Hofer/GettyImages
GK: Mary Earps - 6/10 - Frequently under pressure when playing out from the back, but as cool and calm as you like in the first half, before almost conceding when attempting to take the ball round Hickelsberger in her own box. Made a great stop to keep off Feiersinger.RB: Lucy Bronze - 7/10 - Got forward frequently, tidy in possession, rarely tested defensively.CB: Millie Bright - 7/10 - Kept Billa under wraps and very efficient in possession.CB: Leah Williamson - 7/10 - Effectively broke through the Austria press on a number of occasions and brought the ball out from the back confidently. Slightly under hit a pass to Earps in the second half to put the England goalkeeper under pressure, but otherwise hardly put a foot wrong.LB: Alex Greenwood - 7/10 - Dug out the cross from which England opened the scoring. Solid defensively.CM: Keira Walsh - 7/10 - Typically tidy in possession, kept England ticking over and shielded the back four with her reading of the game. CM: Georgia Stanway - 8/10 - Won a number of crunching tackles on the halfway line and drove forward confidently. Saw a strike well saved by Zinsberger in the second half after one of her trademark bursts into the box. Set up Parris for England's second with a superb through ball.CM: Ella Toone - 6/10 - Linked up well with the front three, tidy and energetic.RW: Lauren Hemp - 6/10 - Started on the right from the off. Won the header for England's opener and looked very dangerous in the opening exchanges. Faded slightly as Austria grew into the game in the first half.ST: Alessia Russo - 7/10 - Volleyed home England's opener inside seven minutes with an instinctive, controlled finish. Teed up Stanway with a clever chest layoff in the second half. Made plenty of probing runs and led the line well before being replaced on the hour.LW: Beth Mead - 6/10 - Combined well with Greenwood in the build-up to England's opener. Switched between the right and left flank. Almost set up Russo for a second after waltzing past two defenders with a fabulous piece of skill and delivering from the right. Replaced on the hour.SUB: Nikita Parris - 7/10 - Found the top corner emphatically to double England's lead.SUB: Beth England - 6/10SUB: Rachel Daly - 6/10
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