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England Women v Republic of Ireland – Preview



England Women v Republic of Ireland – Preview

England Women will be looking to take a step closer to qualifying for UEFA Women’s Euro 2025 when they face Republic of Ireland at Norwich City’s Carrow Road on Friday night in their penultimate qualifier.

Speaking to the media ahead of the game, manager Sarina Weigman said she had no injury concerns over goalkeeper Mary Earps and defender Niamh Charles, although Charles was unlikely to play in both games this week.

Earps, who completed a move to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month, went off injured in the home defeat to France with a hip injury, which forced her to miss the reverse game four days later.

How does the group stand?

England go into the game in third place in Group A3 with seven points. They are only behind Sweden on goal difference, with France top of the group on nine points. Republic of Ireland are bottom of the group without a point.

The top two in the group will qualify for the finals in Switzerland next summer, with the third and fourth placed sides entering the play-offs as seeded teams. The play-offs take place in October and November.

What happened in the reverse game?

The two sides previously faced each other in Dublin in April. On that occasion, England secured a 2-0 win, with Lauren James and Alex Greenwood getting the goals in the first half. James’ got the opener after 12 minutes.

Greenwood doubled the lead from a penalty six minutes later. She had a second spot kick on the half hour mark, but that was saved by Grace Moloney. It was England’s fifth win in as many meetings between the sides.

How could England Women line up?

Each of England’s games so far in qualifying have seen them line up in a 4-3-3 formation. With Earps now recovered from injury, she is likely to start in goal in place of Hannah Hampton, who deputised for Earps last month.

The back four is likely to comprise captain Leah Williamson and Millie Bright at centre back, with Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood at full-back. When either Williamson or Bright has been injured, Greenwood has moved into the centre, with Jess Carter slotting in at left back.

Both France games saw a midfield of Georgia Stanway, Ella Toone and Kiera Walsh. This is likely to be Weigman’s first choice line-up in the middle, although Jess Park and Grace Clinton have also started during this qualifying campaign.

Since Ellen White’s retirement following the last Euros in 2022, Alessia Russo has established herself as first choice in the centre of the attack. Lauren Hemp has started all four qualifiers so far, with Beth Mead playing both France games after returning from injury. Lauren James featured in the previous games against Republic of Ireland and Sweden.

Elsewhere on Friday

Also in Group A3 on Friday, the top two go head-to-head as France take on Sweden in Dijon. Victory for France would see them secure qualification for the finals. Whatever happens in the other game, a win for England would leave qualification in their hands going into Tuesday’s final round of games.

Scotland and Wales are already assured of play-off places from League B. Both of them have their final away games of qualifying, with Scotland facing Slovakia and Wales taking on Croatia. Northern Ireland are looking to secure their own play-off spot as they face Malta.

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