Phil Neville leads England Women to World Cup 2019 with resounding win vs Wales

Phil Neville’s Lionesses booked their place in next summer’s World Cup with a rampant second half performance in Wales.

England needed nearly an hour of the game against Jayne Ludlow’s Welsh side but three goals in 12 minutes saw them secure the win.

Toni Duggan, Jill Scott and Nikita Parris secured the win England needed to avoid the ignominy of missing out on automatic qualification.

England coach Neville was an unused squad member at Wembley the last time a senior England side of either gender failed to reach a major tournament – the infamous defeat against Croatia ahead of Euro 2008, ‘Wally with the Brolly’ night.

Neville’s only defence against the elements was the same waistcoat look which Gareth Southgate made his own in Russia this summer.

For the first 45 minutes it proved to be the only snappy, cohesive outfit on display as in the partisan atmosphere of the sell-out 5,053 crowd, England struggled to find their rhythm against their rivals.

Failure to score against Wales in a goalless draw at St Mary’s in April had made this a must-win game.

Indeed throughout the campaign Wales’ office-worker goalkeeper Laura O’Sullivan still had not conceded a goal, but that appeared to have come to an end in only the sixth minute when Parris turned the ball into her net after Alex Greenwood’s deflected shot hit the crossbar.

Nevertheless, a full six seconds later, after the Manchester City winger ran away thumping her chest, the assistant referee sheepishly flagged for offside. TV replays suggested she should not have bothered.

Instead, it was not until the 57th minute that the Wales goalkeeper was finally beaten, O’Sullivan having no chance when the ball ran loose to Duggan in the area, who steered it in from 12 yards.

Three minutes later, Welsh resolve broken, Jil Scott’s floated header doubled the advantage for the Lionesses then an uncharacteristic error by O’Sullivan enabled Parris to nod in a third.

It now means Wales must now wait for the final round to see if they go into the play-offs as one of the four best runners-up.


WALES (5-4-1): O’Sullivan; Dykes, Ingle, Ladd, Roberts, Harding (Morgan 90); James, Fishlock, Nolan (Hughes 61), Ward (Vincze 72); Green.

ENGLAND (4-2-3-1): Bardsley; Bronze, Houghton, Bright, Greenwood; Scott (Walsh 83), Nobbs; Parris, Kirby (Daly 87), Duggan; Taylor (Christiansen 77). Goals: Duggan 57, Scott 60, Parris 69.

REFEREE: K Kulcsar (Hungary)

Will England Women win next year’s World Cup?


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