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Beth Mead scored four goals, netting her third hat-trick of England’s World Cup qualifying campaign, and Ellen White became the second player to reach 50 goals for England as the Lionesses beat Macedonia. North 10-0 in Skopje.

Manchester United striker Ella Toone also scored three goals and Georgia Stanway struck either side of the break as England went wild against the side they beat 8-0 in the reverse game.

Sarina Wiegman had said she wanted to ‘create lots of chances, be very sure of the ball, score lots of goals – and concede none’ and although the scoreline was favourable, the Lionesses weren’t as clinical as they were. maybe they should have. was against a team positioned 124 places below them in the Fifa World Rankings – all 10 of the team’s goals came from 35 shots against North Macedonia and 81% from possession.

Nonetheless, with the glow of Skopje’s 66m-high Millennium Cross atop Vodno Mountain hovering over the sloping roof of the Toše Proeski Arena reflecting its curve, England had five goals to advance at the end of the first half.

And they had done so without a host of key players, with captain Leah Williamson out on concussion protocol and defenders Alex Greenwood and Lotte Wubben-Moy left behind with knee and thigh injuries respectively, resulting in the late inclusion of Everton centre-back Gabby. George.

Bright’s partner in the center of defense was Chelsea team-mate Jess Carter, but there was little to worry about as the pair had very little to do.

It took just five minutes for England to take the lead but they could have already been ahead, with White whipping a header from a Lauren Hemp cross in the second minute. Hemp was the provider in the opener, delivering a similar ball from the left which was missed by White before being powered to the far post by Mead. Mead scored England’s second goal, latching on to a neat pass from Stanway before firing a cross shot past keeper Viktorija Panchurova and into the side netting from a tight angle.

Midway through the half, Toone added another, launching into a driving run before striking past Panchurova from the edge of the box.

After missing a host of chances, including chopping a header off the top of the bar, White finally grabbed his 50th England goal, clearing it away from Bobby Charlton and Harry Kane’s tallies and within three of Wayne’s record Rooney. Shortly after, Hemp brought Stanway back into midfield and the Manchester City midfielder hammered home.

There was a small but boisterous crowd, boosted by contrasting groups of Macedonian children and small groups of British NATO forces among the players’ families and friends. While the latter group roared enthusiastically at the unknown players in white, there were also sadly some unsavory words directed at the pitch.

Shortly after the break, Mead grabbed her hat-trick, sending the ball into the corner from eight yards out and then added her fourth six minutes later, bouncing on the rebound after Panchurova had a good drive away. Hemp.

Two minutes later, Stanway added the eighth, collecting Hemp’s pass with his back to goal before pivoting and drilling low into the net.

Toone scored his second goal in the 73rd minute from close range, before securing his second senior hat-trick to take England to double figures four minutes later – his first coming in England’s recent 10-0 defeat against Latvia in Riga.

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England now head to Belfast, where they will face a tougher test this summer against Northern Ireland in Euro Group A. Ranked 46th in the world, they sold out Windsor Park for the visit of the Lionesses. If Wiegman’s side win and Austria fail to score maximum points during this international window, England will qualify for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with two games left. to play.

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