Lionesses v North Macedonia: Match Preview

The Lionesses head into their world cup qualifiers under new management.

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Thursday, 16 September 2021

Having only won two out of their last six matches, the Lionesses will be looking to start afresh under the leadership of former Netherlands head coach Sarina Wiegman.

Speaking to the media ahead of their first fixture of this new term against North Macedonia, both Wiegman and England captain Steph Houghton, note the mutual enthusiasm rippling through the squad.

“I’m very excited to be working with the team, but they work so hard sometimes we have to tell them to slow down a little bit,” says Wiegman, “there’s a lot of quality and they are going for it and wanting to do really well.”

Houghton adds, “we’re really excited and really impressed with how the group’s gelled together, not just the players but staff as well and I think everybody can feel that we can potentially go on and do something special.”

Careful not to get ahead of herself however, Houghton establishes that attention, for now, is firmly placed on the two imminent fixtures. "Obviously the focus is the game tomorrow, to start off well and to start off with two wins.”

Facing lesser ranked opponents in their next two matches, Wiegman is keen to create a stress-free environment for her players and to bring back viewing pleasure to England fans.

“There’s not pressure, we just really want to do very well, we want to have a good game show the fans in the stadium and watching TV how good we are hopefully that brings a lot of goals. So everyone has a nice evening, that’s what we want”

Discussing any possible absentees, Wiegman confirmed that Chelsea’s Fran Kirby is a doubt for tonight’s match after taking on only light training duties this week. All other players are fit and match ready.

The Lionesses will take on North Macedonia at St. Mary’s Stadium tonight (Friday 17th September) at 7pm (BST). Coverage will begin on ITV4 from 6:45pm.