England completed an impressive group stage at Euro 2022 when they easily defeated Northern Ireland after already qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The Lionesses, who lead Group A, will progress to the last eight without conceding a goal and with three wins from three games.
The tournament’s top scorer, Beth Mead, extended her tally to five goals, while substitute Alessia Russo scored twice within five minutes of the break.
Northern Ireland, competing in a major women’s tournament for the first time, finished bottom of the group without a win.
It wasn’t a home derby with much at stake but England were the big favorites and in Southampton they should show why.
With manager Sarina Wiegman absent after positive test for Covid On Friday, England were frustrated in the early stages at St Mary’s Stadium but soon followed through.
Chelsea’s Fran Kirby magically unleashed the deadlock when she expertly curled the ball into the top corner before Mead’s precision low shot made it 2-0 before half-time.
Russo came off the bench to score in the second game in a row, nodding in Mead’s chopped cross before turning away and scoring a second goal in five minutes.
An own goal from Northern Ireland’s Kelsie Burrows, who flicked Mead’s cross over goalkeeper Jackie Burns, completed the defeat.
Northern Ireland struggled to keep up after the break but had shown signs of threat in the first half – Lauren Wade tested goalkeeper Mary Earps from close range while Rebecca Holloway played some teasing balls.
Kenny Shiels’ side leave the tournament with many lessons to learn, but their fans were in celebration as they sang, banged drums and stood for almost the entire final game at Euro 2022.
England face a quarter-final against Spain or Denmark next Wednesday and cemented their status as a team few hope to face en route to the final.
England in perfect form for quarterfinals
Wiegman said beforehand she doesn’t expect any changes as she wants England to continue their “rhythm” and build momentum for Wednesday’s quarter-finals.
It was the same starting XI that ruthlessly hammered in eight goals against Norway on Monday and although they took time to adjust, they became more familiar as the game progressed.
Those links grew stronger every month under Wiegman and with England extending their unbeaten run to 16 games and conceding just three goals in 11 months, they couldn’t be in better shape for the knockout rounds.
Mead and Russo could have scored hat-tricks, while Lauren Hemp had arguably her best performance at Euro 2022.
The introduction of the substitutes didn’t spoil England’s intensity either, adding threats elsewhere and emphasizing the depth of quality at Wiegman’s disposal.
England were favorites for first place in Group A, easily enough.
Rate players up to 10 points during or after the game. The guesser closes 30 minutes after the final whistle.
depreciation area key = Give it up = Pure perfection
- 5NelsonReplaced byHuttonat 87′protocol
- fifteenHollowayReplaced bymagicianat 66′protocol
- 17RaffertyReplaced bycavesat 66′protocol
- 8thCallaghanReplaced byWilsonat 87′protocol
- 10furnessReplaced byCaldwellat 80′protocol
- 2bronzeReplaced bycarterat 74′protocol
- 6BrightReplaced bygreen woodat 45′protocol
- 10StanwayReplaced byvolumeat 45′protocol
- 11hempReplaced byKellyat 60′protocol
- 9WhiteReplaced byRussoat 45′protocol
- 5green wood
- 22Wübben Moy
Game ends, Northern Ireland Women 0, England 5.
End of the second half, Northern Ireland Women 0, England 5.
attempt failed. Alessia Russo (England) right footed shot from the center of the box is too high. Assisted by Beth Mead.
attempt failed. Alessia Russo (England) header from the center of the box is too high. Assisted by Jessica Carter with a cross.
Substitution, Northern Ireland, women. Ashley Hutton replaces Julie Nelson.
Substitution, Northern Ireland, women. Emily Wilson replaces Marissa Callaghan.
attempt failed. Beth Mead (England) right footed shot from the center of the box is a bit high.
Beth Mead (England) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Rebecca McKenna (Northern Ireland Women).
Foul by Chloe Kelly (England).
Nadene Caldwell (Northern Ireland Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Northern Ireland, women. Nadene Caldwell replaces Rachel Furness.
Foul by Jessica Carter (England).
Kirsty McGuinness (Northern Ireland Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Own goal by Kelsie Burrows, Women of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Women 0, England 5.
Offside, England. Fran Kirby tries a through ball, but Alessia Russo is caught offside.
Substitution England. Jessica Carter replaces Lucy Bronze.
attempt failed. Keira Walsh (England) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Fran Kirby.
Substitution, Northern Ireland, women. Abbie Magee replaces Rebecca Holloway.
Substitution, Northern Ireland, women. Kelsie Burrows replaces Laura Rafferty.