Young Lionesses Seal World Cup Spot

The all-British play-off for a place at next year’s FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup in France saw England defeat Scotland 2-0 in Lurgan.

England, who like Scotland earned a play-off slot after finishing third in their group at the U-19 Euros, ran out comfortable 2-0 winners, reports irishfa.com

Mo Marley’s side were on the front foot from the start at Mourneview Park. Winger Niamh Charles had the ball in the net after three minutes but her effort was ruled out due to an infringement.

In the 9th minute Scotland’s Amy Gallacher had to clear an Anna Patten header off the line before a great delivery from Patten was headed narrowly wide by England winger Alessia Russo and a minute later Scotland keeper Rebecca Flaherty produced a good stop from a Rinsola Babajide shot.

On 24 minutes Scotland produced their first meaningful effort when striker Kirsty Hanson hit the woodwork with a well-struck drive.

England took the lead in the 28th minute when midfielder Zoe Cross slammed the ball into the net from close range after an England corner caused confusion in the Scottish defence.

Within a minute Flaherty produced another fine save from a Patten strike and then Charles flashed a header just wide.

Scotland had another decent effort in the 38th minute when Gallacher found Shannon McGregor out wide and she produced an excellent shot which England keeper Sandy MacIver had to push round the post.

Four minutes into the second half England went two up. Mollie Rouse squeezed the loose ball into the net after Flaherty had initially made a good stop from a Megan Finnigan strike.

A great long range piledriver from Mayum Pacheco was superbly saved by Flaherty minutes later.

On 66 minutes Scotland defender Courtney Whyte had a strong header saved by MacIver and that was Scotland’s best chance of the half, although Hanson did come close with a curler on 78 minutes and McGregor tested MacIver with a well-struck shot.

In the 84th minute the lively Russo played in Cross but she shot straight at the keeper when well placed, however by that stage England had secured the win.

The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will take place from 7–26 August 2018 in the Brittany region of France.