England Lionesses head to Moscow to face Russia as they look to steal back control from Wales Women in Group A of their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
Having taken a draw against Wales before beating Bosnia last time, the Lionesses know that victories in their final three games will see them book their place in France next summer.
The Welsh however are back in action next Wednesday against Russia, so a win for them plus any points here for England would set up a proper Battle of Britain on 31st August.
England will have to make do without captain, Steph Houghton after she withdrew with a knee injury which needs surgery.
Houghton’s fellow Manchester City Women teammate, Izzy Christiansen is also out a thigh injury.
Arsenal Women’s Jordan Nobbs is also absent with a foot issue.
Their withdrawals mean that the uncapped Laura Bruton and Lucy Staniforth have been called up to the squad.
Millie Bright and Jill Scott are back in the squad, having sat out April’s pair of fixtures with injury.
There is no team news on Russia Women available at time of publication.
- England Lionesses demolished Russia 6-0 when they met back in September in what proved to be Mark Sampson’s final match in charge.
- Across last three competitive meetings in a FIFA or UEFA tournament (including qualifying), England are unbeaten with two wins and a draw.
- In Group A, Russia’s Elvira Todua is only player to have scored an own goal.
- Five England players have scored more than one goal compared to Russia’s two.
- Both sides boast Group A joint top scorers in Nadezhda Smirnova and Nikita Parris respectively with four goals each.
Given England’s solid record against Russia, I fancy them to go and grind out a result here.
Missing three key players in Houghton, Christiansen and Nobbs, this won’t be another 6-0 thrashing but they should have enough to grind out a comfortable win no matter what happens.
Prediction: Russia Women 0-2 England Lionesses