Ellen White closes on England scoring record with double in Luxembourg rout

Ellen White scored twice as England Women enjoyed a 10-0 World Cup qualifying win against Luxembourg, taking her international tally to 43, three goals short of Kelly Smith’s all‑time England goalscoring record.

White, who has now made 97 appearances for England, was joined on the scoresheet by her Manchester City teammate Alex Greenwood – making her 50th appearance for her country – and the centre-back Millie Bright who both scored two. The Arsenal forward Nikita Parris added another and Rachel Daly scored her first goal following the death of her father, while an own goal completed the rout.

Wiegman had tasked her team with being more clinical than they were against North Macedonia last Friday. Despite that 8-0 score against the team ranked 131 in the world, the Lionesses had created 46 chances and enjoyed 81% of possession.

In the Stade de Luxembourg, the new national stadium that was opened on 1 September with a match between the Luxembourg men’s team and Azerbaijan, England were a more ruthless beast.

Wiegman made two changes to the team that turned over North Macedonia at St Mary’s with Chelsea’s Fran Kirby starting in place of Manchester City’s Georgia Stanway and Arsenal’s Parris favoured on the right in place of her clubmate Beth Mead.

It took just 12 minutes for England to break through the Luxembourg lines, opponents that have one won just twice since their creation in 2006. White met Lauren Hemp’s cross at the near post and steered it beyond the 18-year-old goalkeeper Lucie Schlimé. Five minutes later White doubled the lead when she collected the ball from an incisive Kirby pass and coolly slotted in.

Kirby was not involved on Friday with Wiegman citing the need to manage her workload. Restored to the starting team, the PFA player of the year pulled the strings alongside the captain, Leah Williamson, and Manchester United’s Ella Toone.

Kirby assisted the next two goals but from a less familiar position, by taking corners: the first flicked on at the near post by a defender was pounced on by Parris who headed down and in; the second similarly dealt with at the near post but falling sweetly on to the left foot of Greenwood who volleyed home.

Greenwood struck again minutes into the second half, with her 25-yard effort taking a deflection to wrongfoot the keeper on the way in.

With Arsenal up next on Sunday evening and perhaps one eye on Manchester City’s lengthy injury list, Wiegman withdrew White, Hemp and Greenwood (who had taken a knock) before the hour in favour of Mead, the Chelsea forward Beth England and Arsenal’s Lotte Wubben-Moy.

Mead and England quickly combined to force the sixth, with Mead sending a cross towards England that was turned in by the defender Jessica Berscheid and a dinked ball from Mead was later headed powerfully home by the centre-back Millie Bright.

Three quick goals in four minutes of added time completed the rout, with Bright getting her second, Daly knocking in from six yards and England heading in from a Parris cross.

“For obvious reasons it’s been a very, very tough week for Rach,” Bright said. “We have to stand tall and be strong for her.

“Let her have those moments when she breaks down. The one thing she wanted was to make her dad proud and she definitely did that.”

England now have two wins from two games in their 2023 World Cup qualifying campaign – the finals will be in Australia and New Zealand – and there can be few complaints over the start of Wiegman’s tenure.

However, it will take time before we have a complete picture of the new manager’s impact. These games, against far inferior opposition, could actually exacerbate the existing defensive problems that were a feature of the former manager Phil Neville’s time in charge.

There is a risk that England’s back line gets a little too used to playing high and without pressure. Time will tell whether Wiegman is capable of fixing the defence as effectively as she seems to be unshackling the attack.

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