Preview: England vs Latvia29 Nov, 2021
Qualification for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand continues on Tuesday evening as England play host to minnows Latvia at Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium.
The Lionesses approach this fixture in red hot form and will be looking to maintain their 100% record in qualification so far, with five wins out of five. For Sarkanbaltsarkanie (Red-white-red) however, it is a completely different story, having lost every game whilst also boasting a goal difference of -24 with 26 goals being conceded, meaning their dreams of qualification are pretty much already at an end.
Available information only shows one previous meeting between the sides, a resounding 0-10 victory for the Lionesses in Riga on October 26 this year, with forward Ella Toone scoring a hat-trick, including two goals in four minutes. The Lionesses enjoyed 58 shots in this game, as well as 78% possession, so a victory is surely a formality for them in the return fixture.
The focus of many will be on Lionesses defender Millie Bright (28), who is captaining the team for the first time in this latest set of qualifiers. The Chelsea defender has been vocal about her emotions heading into these games, telling The Guardian that she is “a little bit stunned” to be given such an important role. Despite her position, Bright also has an eye for goal, having been on the scoresheet during the previous meeting with Tuesday’s opponents. Bright captained the side against Austria on Saturday, so that game should have helped her ease into the role, ready for Tuesday.
Latvia are a side with no household names, but if they had to have a key player, it would be midfielder Viktorija Zaičikova. Zaičikova (21) is a regular in the Latvian team and is one of their most recent goal scorers, scoring in the side’s 1-8 defeat to Austria earlier on in qualification. She is also a proven goalscorer for her club side ÍBV, having scored a hat-trick in their league fixture against Fylkir in September.
After the weather caused havoc for fans travelling to the Lionesses game in Sunderland on Saturday they will be hoping for a smoother journey to Doncaster to cheer on their team in what promises to be a great game under the lights.
The game kicks off at 7 pm and will be shown live on ITV.