Austria Women v England Women 0-2: Alessia Russo and Nikita Parris give Lionesses victory as World Cup qualification secured

England's Nikita Parris (centre) celebrates with teammates Ella Toone and Georgia Stanway

Alessia Russo’s opener and a powerful finish from Nikita Parris were enough to earn England a 2-0 win over Austria in Vienna and secure a place at next summer’s Women’s World Cup, which which prompted a “proud and happy” response from coach Sarina Wiegman.

Returning to action just over a month after their momentous Euro triumph, the Lionesses needed just one point to seal top spot in Group D and a place at the 2023 event, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand.

They finished with three after a seventh-minute finish from Russo – replacing retired scorer Ellen White – and a timely strike from Parris to wrap things up in the 70th minute.

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England’s Nikita Parris (centre) celebrates with teammates Ella Toone and Georgia Stanway

Russo, who won his first start after a starring role at Euro 2022, got the ball rolling when he instinctively connected with Alex Greenwood’s deep cross, over the head of Lauren Hemp, to fire in the Lionesses with a deserved advantage: their ninth goal in 14 national team matches. .

Austria, England’s closest rivals in automatic qualification, proved difficult to break down after that and were denied an equalizer when Mary Earps saved Laura Feiersinger’s strike on the stroke of goal .

England team news

The starting line-up, unchanged from the Euros, saw three changes: Russo replaced White, Ella Toone replaced the injured Fran Kirby and Rachel Daly dropped to the bench for Alex Greenwood.

Victory was assured when Parris, coming off the bench, latched on to an incisive pass from Georgia Stanway before emphatically slotting the ball into the far corner, well beyond the reach of Manuela Zinsberger.

Nine wins – and an equivalent number of clean sheets – in as many group stage matches means only Luxembourg can interrupt Wiegman’s side’s perfect qualifying campaign. That tie takes place at Stoke on Tuesday evening.

Austria, ranked second by Irene Fuhrmann, will be part of the World Cup play-offs in October.

It has now also been confirmed that England will play a friendly against world champions USA at Wembley on October 7 in a return to the scene of July’s Euro glory when they claimed their first important trophy after the victory over Germany.

Wiegman: Proud and happy

England manager Sarina Wiegman:

“I’m very happy that we qualified. I think again it was a tough game, but coming out of the Euros and not having that much rest. I’m very proud of the team. It looked so easy but it was quite tough.”

The Dutchwoman also paid tribute to departing duo White and Jill Scott, who announced their retirement last week: “We miss them on and off the pitch! Shame I only got to work with them for a year, but I understand their decisions.

“We’d love to have them still with our group, but it’s an opportunity for other players to step up and be leaders.”


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