More Goals Needed As England's Lionesses Face Minnows Luxembourg

An 8-0 win last week wasn't enough for the new manager...
08:10, 21 Sep 2021

Sarina Wiegman’s spell in charge of England got off to an excellent start against North Macedonia as the Lionesses struck eight past the 131rd highest ranked side in the world, but sharper finishing will be the aim as they take on Luxembourg on Tuesday night. 

This will be another procession for an England side that, barring a disaster, will almost certainly be at the World Cup in two years' time. Although the lack of competitiveness is also seen at times during the men’s game, there simply isn’t enough depth in quality at international level in the women’s game for these sorts of matches to be competitive.

Tonight’s opponents Luxembourg are ranked nine places higher than North Macedonia but still sit behind the likes of Palestine, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. But although the result is already a given, the manner in which they take those chances will be under the microscope. 

In the 8-0 win on Friday, England had a whopping 48 shots on goal, with 18 of those on target. They dominated every aspect of the game but should have scored way more than they did. Wiegman, who has been the latest high-profile name to speak out against a biennial World Cup in the build-up to this one, even chuckled when she was told the exact number of shots her side wasted. 

"Was it that many? You managed to count more than us. We got about 20 100% chances. We created lots of chances on Friday and that's what we want to do [against Luxembourg] too," said Wiegman.

"Of course we want to score more and get that percentage higher. [In training] we have focused on switching play more, stretching them and the timing of crosses and runs - to stay calm, stay composed, in the final touch or final pass.

"When you're connected, composed and calm, the chances will be higher."

After an 8-0 qualifying win it would have been easier for Wiegman to let things slide given her side had secured all three points and kept a clean sheet, but perhaps her drive to fulfil their potential will see England reach heights that they couldn’t under Phil Neville. The Dutchwoman is a natural winner and knows that, up against top sides, England will have to be clinical. 

Leah Williamson may not be expected to get on the scoresheet but she will lead the team out as England captain, having done so for the first time against North Macedonia in the absence of Steph Houghton. It’ll be another proud moment for the 24-year-old Arsenal defender, but all eyes will be on the forwards to see just how many goals they can score.

Returning Chelsea striker Fran Kirby should provide another top quality option for England, but Wiegman will have a close eye on the finishing of every single player who gets a chance against Luxembourg. Too many wasted chances could have her blood boiling.

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