England Women give new boss Sarina Wiegman the perfect start after smashing Macedonia 8-0 in opening World Cup qualifier with Ellen White and Beth England both netting twice
- England Women kicked off World Cup qualifying by beating Macedonia 8-0
- New manager Sarina Wiegman got the perfect start in her first game in charge
- Four different scorers and two own goals helped the Lionesses ease to victory
Sarina Wiegman got a perfect start to life as England manager with one of the most routine performances her squad will ever be afforded.
This felt like Sunday League come the final whistle. The gulf between the sides was immense. England finishing with 45 shots and could argue they should have scored from half of them.
With four wins in their entire history, this was more about damage control for Kiril Izov’s Macedonia side; in the end it was just too big an ask. Their 4-5-1 formation dropped so deep throughout they could have found themselves in among the England band behind the goal.
England’s Lionesses kicked off their World Cup qualifying in style by beating Macedonia 8-0
It was the perfect start for new manager Sarina Wiegman in her first game in charge of England
Star striker Ellen White scored two goals in a one-sided match that England totally dominated
Match facts and player ratings
England (4-3-3): Earps 7; Daly 8 (Charles 81), Bright 6 (Wubben-Moy 63), Greenwood 6, Stokes 6; Stanway 7 (Scott 71), Williamson 8.5, Toone 7; Mead 6, White 8 (England 71), Hemp 6 (Parris 63)
Subs not used: MacIver, Telford, Zelem, Staniforth, Salmon, Carter
Goals: Toone (12), White (42, 67), Zivikj OG (45), Kolarovska OG (79), England (77, 90), Mead (90+1)
Manager: Sarina Wiegman 7
Macedonia (4-5-1): S Dervishi; Polozhani, Kolarovska, Nikolovska, Zivikj; Saliihi (Petrushevska 79), Mustafa (Mileska 86), Andonova, Markovska (R Dervishi 46), Maksuti (Dimoska 90+1); Rochi
Subs not used: Lekovska, Kolevska, Boeseska, Paneska, Chubrinovska, Choneva, Petrovska, Jankovska
Booked: Zivikj, Maksuti
Manager: Kiril Izov
Referee: Martinez Madrona (ESP) 7
While last night marked the start of England’s journey to the 2023 World Cup, and this journey under Wiegman, it was much more about a nine-month fast-track to next summer’s home European Championships.
Wiegman arrives with real pedigree – winner of the 2017 Euros and a World Cup finalist in 2019 with Holland.
That is her challenge now, to take this stagnating Lionesses side and not only breathe new life into it but to make it the best in the business.
It is so tricky to learn too much on a night where talk heading through the turnstiles was of England bettering their record 13-0 win – earned back in 2005 away to Hungary.
In the end they should have done, why they didn’t was down to a staggering number of misses. England finished with 45 shots, in comparison to Macedonia’s five. And so 8-0, a late rally running the score up, as comfortable as it was, should have been even more.
Manchester United’s Ella Toone, just 22, was handed her third cap and it was she who grabbed the first goal of the Wiegman era.
Leah Williamson, captain in place of the injured Steph Houghton, was operating in the equivalent of an NFL quarter-back role at the base of the midfield and she thrived, with her first time through ball setting Toone free, allowing the youngster to make it 1-0.
Williamson had the freedom of the south coast at times and a player of her quality rarely needs a second invitation.
France, who beat England in a friendly back in April, beat this Macedonia side twice in 2020, a 7-0 win and an 11-0 win showed the kind of level Wiegman was facing for her first match in charge. It was akin to Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions taking on San Marino.
Beth England came on in place of White and, not to be outdone, scored two goals of her own
Toone’s strike was supposed to be the start but time and time again chances were astray, posts and the bar rattled. Few lessons were expected but expect some shooting drills between now and Tuesday’s qualifier against Luxembourg.
Yet any nerves of wasteful finishing, for which there was plenty, messing this one up vanished with two goals in three minutes before the break.
Ellen White netted her twelfth goal in 14 games – her 40th for England – from yet more calamitous defending before an own goal from Julija Zivikj made it three before referee Maria Dolores Martinez Madrona gave Macedonia 15 minutes welcome respite.
Manchester United’s Ella Toone, 22, scored the first goal of the Wiegman era on her third cap
The one-way traffic merely changed lanes for the second half and White added her second, and England’s fourth, from the penalty spot just after the hour mark when Williamson was cynically brought down near the byline.
White was withdrawn as Wiegman rang the chances, bigger tests naturally lying in wait, and her replacement Beth England nodded in a fifth from no more than a yard out for her third goal in an England shirt.
England put her head to use a second time for a brace in her cameo, adding to an earlier own goal, before Beth Mead capped off the evening with number eight.