Eight Blues were in international action tonight. Sophie Ingle played her 100th appearance for Wales; Guro Reiten, Pernille Harder and Melanie Leupolz were all on target and victorious in their European Championship qualifiers.
Ingle won her 100th international cap as she came up against Chelsea team-mates Maren Mjelde, Maria Thorisdottir and Guro Reiten when Wales travelled to Norway for the Group C qualifier. The match finished 1-0 to Norway and although the beginning of the contest was evenly matched, the Norwegians soon cranked up the pressure in Oslo and the deadlock was broken before the 30-minute mark. The opener was scored by our No.11 Reiten who whipped in a delightful ball from the right-hand side of the box which curled into the far top corner.
The Nordics’ advantage looked like it was doubled in the second half by Barcelona’s Caroline Graham-Hanson who rifled in an effort but it was a let-off for Wales, as the goal was disallowed for offside. Wales battled hard, committed bodies forward in the latter stages of the qualifier and caused problems for Norway but they were unable to find an equaliser. The victory for Norway means they are top of Group C with five wins out of five. Wales still have plenty to play for as they look to seal second place and qualify for the 2022 Euros.
Sweden were unable to maintain their winning streak in Group F when they came away with a 1-1 draw versus Iceland. Their goal was scored by Anna Anvegard of FC Rosengard on 33 minutes, but it was cancelled out when Iceland responded after the interval. Chelsea’s captain Magdalena Eriksson – who received the Player of the Match in Sweden’s emphatic 8-0 win over Hungary last week – played the whole match in defence alongside Jonna Andersson who received her 50th international cap tonight.
It was a successful night for Harder and Denmark as they thumped Malta 8-0 and the Chelsea forward was on the scoresheet when she notched the fifth of the night. The Danes are unbeaten in the qualifiers thus far and sit joint top of Group B with Italy on 21 points but have an impressive goal difference of +41.
Leupolz [pictured top] , Ann-Katrin Berger and Germany won 3-0 on Saturday against the previously unbeaten Republic of Ireland and this afternoon they followed that up with another 3-0 win in Montenegro. Leupolz skippered Germany to victory and made it 2-0 on the stroke of half time. They are now top of Group I on 18 points from six games and have already confirmed a top-two finish. Berger remained on the bench for both games.
Fran Kirby, Bethany England, Millie Bright, Carly Telford and Niamh Charles received a call-up to the Lionesses’ training camp at St George’s Park. There were no international fixtures for the England squad, but they did carry out two 11-versus-11 training games behind closed doors. Phil Neville has a 29-player squad at his disposal and split them into two teams for two games that were 35 minutes each half. The first match resulted in a 3-0 victory to the ‘home’ side. Kirby was a part of this XI and received the Player of the Match award after a assisting two of the goals. England, Bright and Charles were on the losing side in this game and Telford remained on the bench.
They took part in the second training match and while the squads remained the same, Telford played the full duration of the game in goal for the ‘home’ team. This contest ended in a 2-1 win to the away side. Manchester City’s Chloe Kelly put the home team ahead with half an hour gone but second-half goals from City’s Esme Morgan and Everton’s Izzy Christiansen sealed the victory.
The Blues’ FA Cup quarter-final match away to Everton is being streamed live on The 5th Stand app.