- A Women's International
- Monday 10 April 2017
- Stadium MK, MK Dons FC
England Women put in a dominant display to defeat Austria 3-0 in their final home match before Euro 2017.
Ellen White headed Mark Sampson’s side ahead early on, Lucy Bronze doubled the advantage midway through the second half and Isobel Christiansen got a touch on a Steph Houghton header to seal a deserved win in Milton Keynes.
The result, and performance, will provide the Lionesses with a timely boost, coming just three days after the frustrating 1-1 draw with Italy at Port Vale.
England were in command from the first whistle to the last against an improving Austria side who only lost once on their way to qualifying for the Euros themselves.
There were three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Italy, with Laura Bassett, White and Christiansen replacing Jill Scott, Jodie Taylor and Karen Carney.
Bassett partnered captain Steph Houghton in the centre of defence with Millie Bright pushed into midfield.
Sampson and vice-captain Jordan Nobbs had bemoaned England’s profligacy on Friday night, but they made amends after just five minutes at Stadium MK as White glanced home Christiansen’s left-sided in-swinger to break the deadlock.
The goal allowed England to settle and they went on to enjoy more of the ball, just as they did against Italy, although they were unable to create as many opportunities as they did at Port Vale.
That said, Toni Duggan did come agonisingly close to making it two when she nodded Nobbs’s 31st-minute cross goalwards. The Manchester City striker raised her arm, ready to celebrate, but Austria goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger did well to get down to her left and claw the ball to safety.
Austria’s only real chance of note fell to Sarah Zadrazil but she hooked a low shot off target.
Perhaps England were biding their time as a flurry of chances arrived early in the second half.
Duggan was slipped through by Jade Moore but her 10-yard shot was parried away for a corner before Christiansen was denied by an excellent double save by Zinsberger. Nobbs then fired just wide of the angle as Sampson’s side cranked up the pressure – and it soon told.
Bronze once again showed why she is so highly regarded in world football, putting in another fine display from right-back, and she notched a goal her performance merited.
With England pressing the Austria backline, the 25-year-old found herself on the edge of the visitors’ box. She beat Puntigam to a loose clearance and the ball fell to Christiansen who swivelled and shot from 12 yards out.
The ball bounced back off the bar and Vauxhall player of the match Bronze was there to tap home the rebound from close range for her fifth international goal.
There was almost a quick-fire third but Zinsberger was once again in the way, this time palming away White’s angled drive.
But the third goal did arrive with just four minutes left. Nobbs swung in a corner, Houghton headed towards goal and Christiansen got the final touch from just a matter of yards to help it over the line.
It wrapped up a thoroughly deserved victory for England as they signed off their final pre-Euros home match in style.
Next up on the road to the Netherlands is a match against Switzerland in Biel on Saturday 10 June.
England open their Euro 2017 campaign against Scotland in Utrecht on 19 July, before facing Spain in Breda on 23 July and Portugal in Tilburg on 27 July.
England (4-4-2): 1 Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool); 2 Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), 5 Steph Houghton (capt; Manchester City), 6 Laura Bassett (Notts County), 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City); 7 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), 4 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 8 Jade Moore (Notts County), 11 Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City); 9 Ellen White (Birmingham City), 10 Toni Duggan (Manchester City).
Substitutes: 19 Karen Carney (Chelsea) for Duggan 61, 22 Jodie Taylor (Arsenal) for White 74, 18 Jill Scott (Manchester City) for Christiansen 87.
Substitutes not used: 12 Casey Stoney (Liverpool), 13 Carly Telford (Notts County), 14 Alex Greenwood (Liverpool), 15 Hannah Blundell (Chelsea), 16 Jessica Carter (Birmingham City), 17 Fara Williams (Arsenal), 20 Melissa Lawley (Manchester City), 21 Sophie Baggaley (Birmingham City), 23 Nikita Parris (Manchester City).
Goals: White 5, Bronze 67, Christiansen 86.
Head coach: Mark Sampson
photos Janos Schmidt