England Women will be hoping to secure their spot at the 2023 World Cup when they travel to face Austria Women on Saturday at 4:30pm (UK time).
How to live stream Austria Women v England Women online:
UK: ITV Hub
Where to watch Austria Women v England Women on TV:
- UK: ITV 1
- US: N/A
The Lionesses’ first game since winning Euro 2022, Sarina Wiegman’s side need just a point against Austria to finish top of Group D with one game to spare. England are currently top of the group, five points clear of second-placed Austria, having won all of their eight games so far scoring 68 without conceding. It has also been a year since Wiegman took charge of England, with her current record reading: 20 matches, 18 wins (including extra-time), two draws, 106 goals scored and just five conceded.
Who will replace Ellen White?
With just one year between England’s Euro 2022 win and the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Wiegman doesn’t have too much time to embed new players into her squad, and she may not want to considering what they have achieved. However, there have been two retirements since the Euros final, forcing Wiegman’s hand. Jill Scott was the second to call time on her career but she had more of a cameo role on the pitch for Wiegman, picked more for her experience late in the game as opposed to dominance as a starter.
One day before Scott retired, Ellen White ended her career and in a decision that came as a shock to many and will see Wiegman’s XI change as the former Manchester City woman was England’s first-choice striker. While Beth Mead is the top scorer under Wiegman, White was the focal point of the attack and there are three players looking to take her spot against Austria.
The first, and perhaps the most likely, is Alessia Russo. One of England’s stars at Euro 2022, Russo scored four goals at the tournament despite not starting a single match, often coming off the bench after White had tired the opposition’s defenders. Russo’s tournament will be fondly remembered for that backheel against Sweden, but she also provides a dangerous presence in the air. Six of Russo’s eight goals since making her England debut have been scored with her head, something Man Utd fans will not be surprised by.
Beth England is the most senior of the three strikers but hasn’t really been given much of a chance by Wiegman, playing just 409 minutes in nine appearances. The Chelsea striker, who has scored seven goals for Wiegman, has been an unused substitute seven times including all six matches at Euro 2022 despite averaging 0.80 goals per 90 minutes for Emma Hayes’ Blues in 2021/22.
And finally, Ebony Salmon has earned her second call up under Wiegman having been in the Dutchwoman’s first ever England squad (though she didn’t play in either match). The 21-year-old has been playing her football in America’s NWSL over the past year, first joining Racing Louisville where she scored six goals in 26 league matches. But she has really found form since moving to Houston Dash, scoring eight goals in nine games in the NWSL, fully deserving of her call up.
Can England surpass another Austria test?
As mentioned, England have scored 106 goals in 19 matches under Wiegman and have very rarely struggled in front of goal. The Lionesses have scored at least two goals in 15 of their 19 matches, with Spain the only side to keep a clean sheet in a goalless draw at the Arnold Clark Cup.
But Austria are a team who seem to know how to frustrate England. In two matches against Wiegman’s England, Austria have conceded just two goals, a pair of 1-0 losses first in World Cup qualifying and then in the opening game of Euro 2022.
With Manuela Zinsberger between the sticks and a tough defence that appears to know how to keep Beth Mead and Lauren Hemp quiet, Austria may fancy their chances of at least breaking England’s perfect record in World Cup qualifying.
Women’s World Cup Qualifying recent form:
- Austria Women: WWWLD
- England Women: WWWWW
Scoreline prediction: Austria Women 0-1 England Women
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