Lionesses beat Austria 2-0 to qualify for World Cup
A clean run through the World Cup Qualifying games sees the Lionesses straight through to next years tournament
England reached the 2023 World Cup finals with a 2-0 win over Austria. In their first match since becoming European champions, England scored a goal in each half with Alessia Russo and Nikita Parris getting on the scoresheet.
Austria named the same starting line-up that lost to Germany in the Euro’s quarter-finals. Sarina Wiegman made three changes from the starting eleven that won the Euro’s final with Alex Greenwood, Ella Toone and Russo coming in for Rachel Daly, Fran Kirby (injured) and Ellen White (retired).
England took the lead in the 7th minute when Greenwood’s cross was headed back by Lauren Hemp, and via a slight deflection off Toone, it found Russo who finished with a low effort into the corner of the net.
Russo had a chance to make it 2-0 two minutes later but sent her header straight into Manuela Zinsberger’s hands.
A couple of minutes later, England almost got themselves into some trouble when trying to play out from the back and gave the ball away but Julia Hickelsberger-Fuller shot over.
In the 17th minute, Georgia Stanway shot well over from about 25 yards out.
Austria came back into it as the first half went on but didn’t really threaten Mary Earps. England were causing some of their own problems again when trying to play the ball out with Austria pressing them.
Just before half time, a low dangerous cross from Lucy Bronze was cleared by the Austria defence before Russo could get to the ball.
Austria had the first chance of the second half when Hickelsberger-Fuller again pressed Earps whilst England were trying to play out and saw the ball go just wide of the post.
England then created chances of their own with Lucy Bronze seeing her shot saved in the 49th minute, and Toone sent her shot just wide from the edge of the area a minute later. The Lionesses continued to have opportunities with Stanway seeing her shot saved by Zinsberger’s foot, and then she shot wide from 20 yards out in the 55th minute as England went looking for a second.
In the 59th minute, Beth Mead flicked the ball past an Austrian defender then sent a cross in that Russo met with her head but the ball finished up in the goalkeepers hands.
Austria forced Earps to make a good save in the 60th minute when Laura Feiersinger sent a shot towards goal from about 20 yards that the England keeper pushed over.
England did make it 2-0 in the 69th minute when Stanway’s lovely through ball found Parris in the area and she finished into the top corner.
Austria had a chance to get back into the game almost straight away when Feiersinger’s cross went right across the goal but no one could get a touch on it.
Another nice through ball in the 77th minute, this time from Keira Walsh, found Parris and after a good first touch she shot wide, maybe with the help of a deflection but a goal kick was given.
Lauren James came on to make her senior England debut in the 79th minute.
Austria had a few attacks in the final 10 minutes but England defended these well. There was a chance for England in the 90th minute but Parris was just unable to get onto James’ pass. The final effort of the match went to Austria but the shot was caught by Earps.
England now have a record of 9 out 9 wins, 70 goals scored and none conceded. The Lionesses finish their qualifying campaign on Tuesday at home to Luxembourg whilst Austria, who will be in the play-offs, face North Macedonia.
Austria: Zinsberger, Wienroither, Wenninger (c), Georgieva, Hanshaw, Puntigam, Hickelsberger-Fuller (Naschenweng 69’), Zadrazil, Feiersinger (Hobinger 88’), Dunst (Kolb 88’), Billa (Wienerroither 79’)
Unused Substitutes: Kresche, El Sherif, Klein, Degen, Schasching, Schiechtl, Kirchberger, Eder,
England: Earps, Bronze (Daly 84’), Bright, Williamson (c) (Carter 79’), Greenwood, Walsh, Stanway, Toone (James 79’), Mead (Parris 62’), Hemp, Russo (England 62’)
Unused Substitutes : Roebuck, MacIver, Zelem, Wubben-Moy, Nobbs, Stokes, Salmon
Goals: Russo 7’, Parris 69’
Referee – Iuliana Demetrescu (Romania)