White at the double as Lionesses hit North Macedonia for eight | OneFootball

White at the double as Lionesses hit North Macedonia for eight

Logo: Manchester City Official

Manchester City Official

Ellen White claimed a brace of goals as England’s Lionesses began their 2023 World Cup qualifying campaign in emphatic fashion with a dominant 8-0 victory over North Macedonia at Southampton.

The striker was one of five City players selected in head coach Sarina Wiegman’s first starting eleven since she took charge with Alex Greenwood, Demi Stokes, Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp also handed starting berths.

It was all one-way traffic with Beth England also striking twice, Ella Toone and Beth Mead on target too and North Macedonia also conceding two own goals.

"We're delighted to get off the mark in the World Cup qualifiers with eight goals, a clean sheet and loads of different scorers as well. It was Sarina's first game so we're really pleased," White reflected.

"I hope you can see how much I love playing for England. It's a dream for me. I'll take every game as it comes."

In front of a loud and enthusiastic crowd of more than 8,000 at St Mary’s Stadium, the Lionesses – semi-finalists in the 2019 World Cup – were in control from the get-go.

A 12th minute strike from Manchester United’s Toone set the tone for the evening, Toone finishing with aplomb from Leah Williamson’s inviting through ball.

England’s dominance was then further rewarded as we struck twice in three minutes just before the break.

Toone then turned provider on 42 minutes, fighting to keep the ball alive inside the box.

And after a muddle in the Macedonian defence, White demonstrated her predatory instincts, guiding a shot home from close range.

It then became three on the stroke of half-time when Alex Greenwood’s delivery from a short corner was missed by the Macedonian goalkeeper.

That error was compounded by left-back Julija Zivikj who mistimed her clearance and and ended up putting the ball in her own net.

England sought to step up the pressure after the break and White doubled her tally on 66 minutes, coolly converting from the penalty spot for her 41st Lionesses' goal after Williamson had been brought down.

White was then replaced by City colleague Jill Scott and the midfielder almost made an instant impact only to see a superb snapshot cannon back off the crossbar.

England were not to be denied however and they served up another two-goal salvo inside three minutes as North Macedonia’s inexperience told.

First substitute Beth England headed home the fifth goal of the night from Nikita Pariss’s inviting cross before Sara Kolarovska compounded the visitors’ misery with another own goal.

The Lionesses then set the seal on the night with two late additions to the scoresheet.

First, England headed home her second goal before Mead rounded off proceedings with an injury time effort to get Wiegman’s reign off to the perfect start.

Meanwhile, Filippa Angeldal helped Sweden get their Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign off to a wining start as they secured a 1-0 win away to Slovakia.

The City midfielder, who joined Gareth Taylor’s squad earlier this month, played for 89 minutes as Sweden claimed all three points in Bratislava.

Fridolina Rolfo scored the only goal after 10 minutes to give Sweden the perfect start to their Group A campaign.

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