International

Chelsea Women international round-up

This week has seen a raft of international matches with European qualifying for the 2023 World Cup final in full action with a record 51 contenders.

The qualifiers will run until next September with teams competing for spots in the finals which will be held in Australia and New Zealand. With plenty of Blues in action, here we give you an update of how they got on…

Thursday

The action kicked off on Thursday with Denmark skipper Pernille Harder representing her nation in the first of the World Cup qualifiers this week. Denmark were on top form, beating Bosnia-Herzegovina 8-0. The seventh goal of the night came from Harder with a right-footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom-left corner.

Next up was Israel versus Germany in Tel Aviv, the first ever encounter for both teams. Germany nearly had an early lead when awarded a penalty however a valiant effort from the Israeli goalkeeper Amit Beilin prevented that. The first and only goal of the match came just five minutes later with Svenja Huth latching onto a long looping pass. Through a joint substitution, Melanie Leupolz came on to represent her home country in the 46th minute. Despite a robust defensive display from the Israeli side, Germany were able to take the win.

Guro Reiten was in the starting line-up for Norway where they faced Poland in their qualifier. With fairly even possession throughout between the two teams, Norway edged Poland with the number of shots taken. However, neither team were able to get the ball across the line and the score remained 0-0. Norway sit second in their group table and next face Belgium on Tuesday.

Last up for the opening night, Sweden face dthe Republic of Ireland in Dublin with captain Magda Eriksson and Jonna Andersson starting for the visitors with Zecira Musovic on the bench. A first-half own goal by Louise Quinn saw the hosts lose 1-0 to Sweden following an unfortunate deflection off the defender’s foot just before half-time. No further goals followed so Sweden were victorious in the first of their group A qualifiers.
 

Friday

Four World Cup qualifiers followed on Friday with Captain Ji So Yun first up for the Blues when South Korea faced team USA in Kansas. USWNT dominated throughout with 18 shots to South Korea’s eight, however a resilient effort from the visiting team enabled them to hold the Americans to a 0-0 draw, ending USA’s 22-match home winning streak although they still remain 61 games unbeaten. The two teams will face each other again on Tuesday.

Sophie Ingle was up next when Wales faced Slovenia in Lendava in their landmark 200th fixture. Slovenia took the lead in the 69th minute but Kayleigh Green was quick to react for Wales, heading in the leveller two minutes later before being sent off after receiving her second yellow card of the evening. It is three wins from three for Wales as they head into the next round of their group I qualifiers.

Next up, Erin Cuthbert started for Scotland against Hungary at the home of Scottish football, Hampden Park. Winger Christy Grimshaw opened scoring just before half time, but Hungary were quick to react to a Scottish passing error and levelled in the second half. Rachel Corsie went on to save the day with a thrilling finish to give the Scots a 2-1 victory, leaving them unbeaten in their group.

Aniek Nouwen started for the Netherlands under the Friday night lights against Cyprus who comfortably won 8-0, getting off the mark within the first three minutes with a simple finish from Vivianne Miedema. By half time, Netherlands were up 3-0 and they did not let up in the second half with four further goals and a little help with a Cyprus own goal, taking them to the top of group C as they prepare to face Belarus next.

Saturday

Saturday morning started with an entertaining friendly between Australia and Brazil with Sam Kerr finally able to head back home at this stage of the Covid pandemic. The trip was a triumphant one, with the Matildas claiming a 3-1 victory at the CommBank Stadium with goals from Claire Polkinghorne, Emily van Egmond and Mary Fowler. Kerr will face Brazil once more next Tuesday in their final friendly of the trip.

Five of our Blues were also representing the Lionesses in the afternoon with England hosting Northern Ireland at Wembley for their World Cup qualifier. Fran Kirby and Millie Bright started with Bethany England, Jess Carter and Niamh Charles on the bench. It took until the second half for the Lionesses to break the visitors down, with Sarina Wiegman making two key substitutes to bring on Beth Mead and Bethany England. Mead delivered with a second-half hat-trick with England tapping in Lauren Hemps’s looping cross in the 72nd minute (pictured top). The win gave the Lionesses another victory, continuing their winning streak in Group D and securing their first ever win at Wembley.

Saturday’s final match of the evening saw Canada take on New Zealand in a friendly, the Canadians' first home match since winning gold at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Jessie Fleming started and opened the scoring with another of her top-notch penalties in the 12th minute. Further goals from Christine Sinclair, Michelle Prince and a double from Adriana Leon sealed the deal and the Canadians kicked off their celebratory tour in style. The second friendly for the two teams will take place on Wednesday.

We’ll be in the week with our second international Blues round-up.
 

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