Lionesses ease past Ireland

Republic of Ireland Women v England – Women’s Euro 2025 Qualifier – Aviva Stadium, Dublin – Report

Republic of Ireland Women 0-2 England 

The Lionesses cruised to the first win of their Women’s Euro 2025 qualifying campaign with Lauren James and Alex Greenwood, the latter from the penalty spot, both scoring in the 2-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

Sarina Wiegman made five changes to her starting line-up following the 1-1 draw against Sweden at Wembley Stadium on Friday with Hannah Hampton, Leah Williamson – returning after very nearly a year out with an ACL injury, Jess Park, Ella Toone and Jess Carter all coming into the side.

England took the lead in the twelfth minute when Lucy Bronze’s knockdown from Keira Walsh’s cross rebounded back off defender Anna Patten for Chelsea’s James to tap home.

Just six minutes later, Park’s shot struck Ruesha Littlejohn’s arm and with Finnish referee Lina Lehtovaara pointing directly to the spot, in the absence of regular penalty taker Georgia Stanway who had been named amongst the substitutes, it was Manchester City defender Greenwood who stepped forward to send Courtney Brosnan went the wrong way to put England two up.

Just before the half-hour mark, Lehtovaara awarded England a second penalty when somewhat controversially, Louise Quinn was adjudged to have handled Lauren Hemp’s cross. Greenwood stepped up to the mark once more only for this time, her kick to strike the inside of the right post.

Following the resumption, England substitute Fran Kirby was thwarted by a majestic save by Brosnan before Hampton – given a rare start in place of Mary Earps – parried Caitlin Hayes’ header before then accidentally kicking the ball against Katie McCabe, who brought another save out of the Chelsea keeper as the Republic pushed forward to apply late pressure on the Lionesses goal.

The Lionesses sit second in Group A3 behind leaders France, who have six points after beating Sweden 1-0, whilst Ireland having lost 1-0 to the French in their first game last Friday remains pointless. The eventual group winners together with the runners-up will automatically qualify for next summer’s tournament in Switzerland, with the other two nations dropping into the play-offs.

Coach Wiegman spoke to www.telegraph.co.uk following the game: 

“Sometimes we were a little bit sloppy. I did think we played well.

“In the second half, at moments, we did good, but they got momentum and we were struggling a little bit and they made it a real fight. We had to really fight in one-v-ones. What we did show as a team was, we really wanted to keep the clean sheet and were able to fight also. That’s what we will take into our next games so I’m really happy with the win.”

On her decision to start Hannah Hampton instead of Mary Earps, Wiegman said: “We have in Hannah as well as Mary two incredibly good goalkeepers so that’s a real luxury position we’re in.

“Mary has been really consistent with us, again on Friday she was really good and important for the team, [but] Hannah is also competing and really improved a lot. I felt this was a game to give her an opportunity to play – I have to trust she can do a good job. And we also know if something happens with Mary, we have two goalkeepers and then a third [Khiara Keating] in the squad.”

England are next in action with two matches against France on Friday, May 31 at St. James Park, Newcastle (8pm) and Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne (8pm) on Tuesday, June 4.

Republic of Ireland: Brosnan, Mannion, Hayes, Louise Quinn, Patten, McCabe; Payne (Kiernan 61’) O’Sullivan, Littlejohn (Connolly 45’) Lucy Quinn (Campbell 61’) Carusa (Murphy 67’) Subs not used: Stapleton, Caldwell, Barrett, Moloney, Agg, Toland, Murphy, Atkinson, Whitehouse

England: Hampton, Bronze, Williamson, Greenwood, Carter, Park 6 (Kirby 56’) Walsh, Toone (Stanway 75’) James (Kelly 86’) Russo, (Daly 86’) Hemp (Mead 56’) Subs not used: Charles, Earps, Wubben-Moy, Clinton, Rendell, Morgan, Turner

Referee: Lina Lehtovaara 

Attendance: 32,742

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