Sarina Wiegman admitted she did not think England’s World Cup qualifying campaign “could be much better” after they completed a clean sweep of wins in Group D with a 10-0 thrashing of Luxembourg in Stoke.
The Lionesses’ near-total dominance of the ball brought five goals in each half at the bet365 Stadium, including a brace before the break for Georgia Stanway, one of which was a penalty to open the scoring, and another for substitute Beth England in the second half.
Alessia Russo, Rachel Daly, Beth Mead, Nikita Parris, Ella Toone, also with a spot-kick, and substitute Lauren Hemp were the other scorers in what was a first home match since winning the Euros for England, who had already sealed a place at next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand via a 2-0 away win over Austria three days earlier.
They finish Group D with their 10 wins from as many games having yielded a total of 80 goals scored, with none conceded.
Boss Wiegman, whose side had also beaten world 117-ranked Luxembourg 10-0 away and hit double figures five times overall in their group games, including a 20-0 win over Latvia, said of the campaign: “I don’t think it could be much better than this, so really happy.
“And I think this camp after the Euros always seems to be a hard one, but I think the team has done a tremendous job coming out of the summer.
“Everyone came in very differently, then you play two games like this, and we knew of course tonight we were so much better than Luxembourg but still, we had to make the tempo of the game, keep the energy in the game.
Despite World Cup qualification having already been secured, Wiegman opted to make only three changes to her starting line-up as as a crowd of 24,174 turned out for the European champions’ return to home action.
Asked about that decision, she said: “You’re thinking about performing, about how the players come in, you also think about what’s next.
“And people come to the stadium also to see the England team they have seen a lot. So we’re balancing with all these things, and then we came out with this starting line-up, and we made early subs so lots of players got the opportunity to play.”
Keira Walsh was among the starters, winning her 50th cap, as the Manchester City midfielder continued to be linked with Barcelona.
Asked how difficult it is for a player with such speculation around them building up to a match, Wiegman said: “I think you should ask her.
“We’ve had the focus on the England team and I think you could see that on the pitch too, because she was fully concentrated and played two very good games. I think she showed she’s here, all focused on England, and doing a good job.”
England have the very different assignment of a friendly against world champions the United States at Wembley next up on October 7, and it was announced at half-time that they will then face the Czech Republic at Brighton’s Amex Stadium – the setting for the 8-0 rout of Norway and the quarter-final win over Spain during the Euros – four days later.