John Griffith’s squad got the perfect start with a 2-0 win over Poland in their Elite Round opening game played at AFC Telford.

  • Arsenal’s Jess N’Gunga starred on the wing
  • England goals came from Hemp, and Ravenscroft
  • England face Germany on Monday

ArsenaL Ladies Jess N’Gunga started the game while Shannon Cooke was an unused substitute. Hopefully she will get a start on Monday against Germany.

The manager selected the following 11 in a 4-3-3 system:

Hannah Hampton; Meg Boydell, Olivia Smith, Esme Beth Morgan, Poppy Pattinson; Emily Syme, Amy Rodgers, Ella Rutherford ( Bethany May O’Donnell 61); Jess N’Gunga, Gabriella Lucie Ravenscroft, Lauren Hemp (c)

Subs: Aimee Palmer, Shannon Cooke, Nicole Douglas, Miriael Taylor, Grace Neville, Emily Ramsey

The goals were scored by Lauren Hemp (33), who picked up the ball on the right side of the pitch on the half-way line and proceeded to beat four or five Polish defenders before finishing with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area.

There was an air of Maradona genius in that goal.

The second goal was scored by Gabriella Lucie Ravenscroft (68), Lauren Hemp the creator this time, beating the Polish left-back Stasiak and running to the byline before cutting the ball back to be headed home from close range by Ravenscroft.

Jess N'Gunga Jess N'Gunga
Jess N’Gunga Jess N’Gunga

It has to be said that Lauren Hemp put in a superb performance. Jess N’Gunga on the other wing was also excellent, beating her full-back on regular basis and hitting the crossbar. Hannah Hampton was strong in goal and her kicking was precise and long.

The back four were solid and kept the Polish at bay for most of the game without too many problems. The midfielders worked hard to defend and also offered attacking options for the forwards.

Overall, it was a good performance watched by an attendance of 139 with about 30 Polish supporters.

Next up for England on Monday are the mighty Germans who beat Italy 3-1 and had a 21-7 goalscoring record in their last four friendlies against France and England. They indeed beat England back in January in Salou, Spain by 7-2.

Hopefully England will be able to resist that striking force and get a draw or even a win, that would leave them in a very good position to qualify for the finals to be played in May in Czech Republic.