The Lionesses have pulled off another World Cup qualifying rout, putting on a ruthless performance to beat North Macedonia 10-0 in Skopje.
Four came from both Beth Mead, who scored her third hat-trick of the World Cup qualifiers, with Ella Toone also netting three. Ellen White edged closer to becoming England’s all-time top-scorer after scoring her 50th goal. She now sits just three goals behind Wayne Rooney.
Despite missing some of the side’s important players through Covid and injury, Wiegman’s side put on a strong performance. Aston Villa keeper Hannah Hampton was given her second start after impressing at the Arnold Clark Cup, although she didn’t have much work to do at this meeting.
England didn’t hesitate to put the pressure on early doors, with attempts from Manchester City forwards Georgia Stanway and White in the opening few moments of the game, but it was Mead who was to put the Lionesses in front by tapping in a cross from Hemp at the far post.
A second goal from the Arsenal forward came within the first 12 minutes, scoring from a seemingly impossible angle in her signature ‘crot’ style.
The next was to come from Ella Toone before the 25-minute mark, driving forward to take a shot outside the box which whipped past Panchurova in goal.
By this point White had made plenty of attempts at goal, but she was finally able to head one home to secure her half-century of England goals, taking her beyond Harry Kane and Bobby Charlton in the record books.
The final goal of the half came from Stanway who fired one past the keeper to make the score 5-0 to England.
Although the English side emerged far more dominant in the first 45, there were plenty of missed opportunities and it was clear that to if they were to add to their success, they would need to be more clinical. Eight shots of 22 were on target in the first half.
In the second half, England didn’t take the heat off the home side. After the restart Mead bagged her hat-trick, netting 2 within the first 10 minutes thanks to Hemp who was a consistent provider throughout the match.
Stanway added an eighth goal shortly afterwards, equalising the scoreline of the reverse fixture at St Mary’s Stadium last year.
A flurry of England subs including Parris for Hemp and Russo for White made way for Toone to impress, securing her own hattrick with two goals in quick succession.
At the last minute it was looking as if substitute Nikita Parris had added another, but the goal was ruled offside.
At full-time the English side had 39 attempts at goal, with 17 on target. Whilst the comfortable scoreline improved on their previous meeting, it could have been more against a side ranked 124 places below England in Fifa world rankings.
Post-match Sarina Wiegman revealed she had good news about Chelsea’s Bethany England and Niamh Charles who missed the game after testing positive with Covid, saying they had now both tested negative and were “on their way here”. Newly appointed England captain Leah Williamson is also back in training after concussion protocols stopped her taking part.
The Lionesses stay top of Group D, with their next meeting against Northern Ireland at the sold-out Windsor Park. With 3 matches remaining, as long as they extend their unbeaten run against Northern Ireland and Austria, they will secure their place in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.
England (4-3-3): Hampton, Bronze (Daly 71), Bright, Carter, Stokes, Stanway (Scott 61), Walsh (Zelem 71), Toone, Mead, White (Russo 71), Hemp (Parris 60).
Substitutes not used: Earps, Roebuck, George, Nobbs.
North Macedonia (5-4-1): Panchurova, Boseska, Petrovska (Stojkovska 55), Nikolovska (Petrushevska 80), Joshevska, Velkova, Jakovska, Mustafa (Shemsovikj 45), Andonova (Markovska 75), Maksuti, Rochi (Saliihi 54).
Substitutes not used: Veleska, Gjorgjevska, Samardzievska, Nikolova, Choneva, Pavlovska
Bookings: Rochi 43’, Saliihi 74’, Maksuti 79’, Velkova 84’, Markovska 90’
Referee: Vivian Peeters