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Player ratings as Lionesses record another emphatic victory

From St Mary’s – England ensured they wrapped up their Euro 2022 group campaign with a flawless record after their 5-0 victory over Northern Ireland at St Mary’s on Friday evening.

The Lionesses head into the group stages having won three, scored 14 and conceded zero as goals from Fran Kirby and Beth Mead, an Alessia Russo brace and a Kelsie Burrows own goal saw them past Kenny Shiels’ side.

Both England’s progression to the quarter-finals as group winners and Northern Ireland’s group stage exit had already been confirmed – but it was the eliminated side who almost took the lead inside the opening minute. Lauren Wade raced clean through down the right flank, and although the angle was against her, she drew a good save from Mary Earps in the England goal.

England appeared to have been given the chance to take the lead when Laura Rafferty was penalised for blocking Georgia Stanway’s volley with her outstretched hand – however, the decision was overturned by VAR due to an England handball in the buildup.

The Lionesses saw a flurry of opportunities go begging before the deadlock was finally broken; Ellen White fired narrowly past the post after being expertly put through by Bronze, the Barcelona right-back then glanced a header narrowly wide and Rebecca Holloway blocked to deny Stanway following a slick England move.

The breakthrough finally came on the 40-minute mark – and in some style. Lauren Hemp’s blocked shot fell to the feet of Kirby on the edge of the box, and the Chelsea forward bent a sumptuous effort into the top corner.

Mead continued to stake her claim for the golden boot by doubling England’s advantage on the stroke of half time, feinting past Rebecca McKenna before dragging a low shot into the bottom corner.

The Arsenal winger turned provider three minutes into the second half, combining nicely with Ella Toone before her inviting delivery was headed home by Russo.

The Manchester United doubled her tally for the evening four minutes later, spinning past the Northern Ireland backline with a sublime piece of skill and finishing emphatically. Russo had been on the pitch a full eight minutes.

Substitute Burrows put into her own net with 14 minutes remaining as she sliced Mead’s cross past Jackie Burns.

England will face either Spain or Denmark in the quarter finals.

Northern Ireland v England: Group A - UEFA Women's EURO 2022

The Northern Ireland starting XI ahead of their final Euro 2022 group fixture / Harriet Lander/GettyImages

GK: Jackie Burns – 5/10 – Made a strong, stretching save to keep out a low Bright drive from range and out quickly to collect a dangerous Kirby through ball before the deadlock was finally broken.

RB: Rebecca McKenna – 5/10 – Dived in to allow Mead to get a shot away for England’s second. Beaten on a couple of occasions by Hemp but put in a gutsy performance against the England winger.

CB: Julie Nelson – 6/10 – Made a big block on the line to deny Mead in the first half. Doubled up on Hemp with McKenna to limit the England winger’s destruction.

CB: Sarah McFadden – 5/10 – Blocked and headed like her life depended on it in the first half, but ultimately worn down by England’s potent forward line.

CB: Demi Vance – 6/10 – Got in the way of anything that came her way in the first half, before moving to left back for the final 25 minutes and was encouraged to maraud forward.

LB: Rebecca Holloway – 5/10 – Heroic defending to block a Stanway effort on the line in the first half. Had a tough time of it up against the dynamic Mead and Bronze – as most left backs will this tournament. Replaced just after the hour.

CM: Laura Rafferty – 5/10 – Produced a big block on the edge of the box to keep out Stanway. Ran her socks off, but unable to have any attacking impact on the game. Replaced after 65 minutes.

CM: Marissa Callaghan – 5/10 – Struggled to deal with the movement and unpredictability of Kirby.

CM: Rachel Furness – 6/10 – The most advanced of Northern Ireland’s midfield three, joined up with Wade and McGuiness to form a front three when in possession. A real aerial threat.

ST: Kirsty McGuinness – 5/10 – Kept quiet by Bronze and Williamson.

ST: Lauren Wade – 6/10 – Almost opened the scoring inside a minute with a bursting run forward, but her effort from a tight angle was well saved. Frequently drifted out to the right and caused a few problems with her pace and energy.

SUB: Kelsie Burrows – 5/10

SUB: Abbie Magee – 5/10

SUB: Nadene Caldwell – 5/10

SUB: Emily Wilson – N/A

SUB: Ashley Hutton – N/A

Beth Mead, Rachel DalyBeth Mead, Rachel Daly

Mead was on the scoresheet again for England / Harriet Lander/GettyImages

GK: Mary Earps – 6/10 – Called into action inside a minute, saving well from Wade. Made a comfortable stop before the half was out but largely untested in the second period.

RB: Lucy Bronze – 8/10 – Slide White in with a perfectly weighted through ball and headed a great opportunity narrowly wide in the first half. Had a lot of joy with her trademark marauds forward.

CB: Millie Bright – 6/10 – Rolling back the months to her Arnold Clark Cup golden boot winning days by almost opening the scoring with a scorching drive from range. Replaced at half time.

CB: Leah Williamson – 6/10 – Brought the ball out comfortably from the back on a number of occasions, hit a couple of wayward passes in the first half. Popped up with a few lowkey headers and interceptions to quell any brewing Northern Ireland attacks.

LB: Rachel Daly – 7/10 – Up and down all evening, overlapped frequently and linked up well with both Hemp and Mead.

CM: Keira Walsh – 8/10 – Can someone please retrieve Keira Walsh’s Euro 2022 passing accuracy statistics, because we cannot recall her giving the ball away this tournament.

CM: Georgia Stanway – 6/10 – Fizzing with energy, timing her arrival into the box to perfection. Unlucky to not get on the score sheet with a couple of blocked efforts. Replaced at half time.

CM: Fran Kirby – 8/10 – Opened the scoring with a fabulous, first time bending effort into the top corner from the edge of the box. Drifted into pockets, tidy in possession, creative and adventurous. A classy performance.

RW: Beth Mead – 9/10 – Continued her fine tournament by netting England’s second, feinting past McKenna and firing past a sea of bodies into the bottom corner. Assisted England’s third and fifth. Smart and creative in possession.

ST: Ellen White – 5/10 – Could have become England’s all-time top scorer had she been on target this evening, but bragged her one sighting of goal narrowly wide, before being replaced at half time.

LW: Lauren Hemp – 6/10 – Had a little bit of joy with a few bursts forward but often found herself doubled up against. Frequently switched flanks with Mead, smart in possession. Replaced on the hour.

SUB: Alex Greenwood – 6/10

SUB: Alessia Russo – 8/10 – Netted twice within eight minutes of entering the fray, planting a header into the corner of the net before producing a sublime piece of skill to spin past the Northern Ireland backline and finish confidently. Should have had a hat-trick but blazed over from six yards out.

SUB: Ella Toone – 7/10 – In the thick of the action for Russo’s first two goals.

SUB: Chloe Kelly – 6/10

SUB: Jess Carter – 6/10


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