Maya Le Tissier, Katie Robinson and Jess Park make senior debuts for the Lionesses in November friendlies
The Lionesses remain unbeaten in their last matches of the year
The Lionesses headed down to Spain to play their final two games of 2022. They were to take on Japan and Norway in friendlies as well as have a training camp in Murcia. There were a few changes from the original squad announced with Fran Kirby, Jordan Nobbs and Lauren Hemp dropping out and Jess Park and Gabby George coming into replace them.
Also missing from the Japan game were Lucy Bronze who had had Covid but also a minor injury, and Alex Greenwood who had a small knock that kept her out of this match. Beth Mead was picked in the starting line-up and won her 50th cap for England.
Ella Toone had an early shot saved as the Lionesses started well. Alessia Russo came close to opening the scoring in the 26th minute when her header from a Chloe Kelly cross hit the outside of the post. Mead was denied by a good save five minutes later.
England did take the lead in the 38th minute when Rachel Daly got forward from right back to score with a nice low finish after Japan had been unable to clear.
The Lionesses made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute when a Mead ball across goal reached Kelly who smashed the ball into the net after coming in from the left side.
Toone scored England’s third goal in the 77th minute with a shot that went in off the post after a nice assist from second half substitute Ebony Salmon.
Jess Park came off the bench to make her senior debut late in the game. Within seconds she scored the fourth goal of the evening for the Lionesses to wrap up another impressive win.
Between the two matches, Beth Mead (personal reasons), Lucy Bronze and Lotte Wubben-Moy (both injuries) all dropped out of squad. No one was called up to replace them.
It was only four months since England beat Norway 8-0 in the Euros but both sides made a few changes from that match for this friendly. In fact, for the Lionesses, only three of the starters in that match started in this one. Maya Le Tissier was picked in the starting line-up to make her senior debut, whilst Rachel Daly also started up front, like she does at club level.
Photo: Girls on the Ball
It was Daly who gave England the lead when she headed in Kelly’s cross in the 33rd minute.
Norway were reduced to ten players in the 72nd minute when Anj Sonstevold was sent off after receiving two yellow cards for fouls on Nikita Parris in quick succession.
Ellie Roebuck rushed out of goal but missed the ball which allowed Arsenal’s Frida Maanum to put the ball into the empty net and equalise for Norway in the 80th minute.
Brighton’s Katie Robinson came on to make her debut late in the game but there were no more goals as it finished 1-1.
The draw meant England had gone through the whole of 2022 undefeated, winning 16 times and drawing the other four. They scored 72 goals and conceded just seven. They won the Arnold Clark Cup in February, then the Euros on home soil in July. A pretty successful year! With another Arnold Clark Cup competition, the Finalissima and World Cup, there is plenty to look forward to in 2023 for the Lionesses!