Get set for the Battle of Britain as England Lionesses prepare to face Wales Women at St Marys, Southampton.
This is Phil Neville’s first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier as a manager, having already guided England to second in FIFA World Rankings after nearly winning She Believes Cup last month in his debut tournament.
Both teams occupy top spot in Group A but Wales have played a game more so a win here will put England in pole position to qualify for France next summer.
England have been hit by three withdrawals from the squad.
Chelsea’s Mille Bright and Manchester City’s Jill Scott pulled out at start of week with knocks.
Hannah Blundell of Chelsea has become unwell so is replaced by Liverpool’s Alex Greenwood in defence.
Wales have a full strength squad available featuring; Sophie Ingle (captain), Natasha Harding and Jess Fishlock.
- These teams have met just twice before, England winning 6-0 on aggregate across both legs in 2015 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
With this expected to be a sell out and England coming into this off back of going no.2 in FIFA World Rankings, I expect a strong performance here.
Admittedly, they are without the quality of Jill Scott but the return of Jordan Nobbs should provide creativity as long as she starts with Arsenal teammate and England debutant – Beth Mead.
For me, the key is going to be Nobbs and Mead getting forward like they did against Chelsea on Sunday.
If can do that and Mead is at her best, she should get plenty of chances and hopefully put some away.
Add in Nikita Parris’s record of scoring in every qualifier so far this season, there will be only one winner.
Prediction: England Lionesses 3-0 Wales Women
Result: England Lionesses 0-0 Wales Women