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Republic of Ireland 0-2 England: Lionesses get first win of Euro 2025 qualifying

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Pressure was on England to perform after a lacklustre display at Wembley five days ago and Wiegman did not hold back as she made five changes to the starting XI, including the long-awaited return of Williamson.

Also among them was Chelsea goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, replacing Mary Earps, who last sat out a competitive fixture under Wiegman in September 2022 as England beat Luxembourg 10-0 in World Cup qualifying.

Hampton had relatively little to do until the second half when the Republic of Ireland built pressure and came close through Hayes twice – the centre-back missing a golden chance from a few yards out after her defensive partner Quinn had teed her up, before her header was saved by Hampton at the back post.

The England goalkeeper had a nervy moment late on when her clearance was blocked by Katie McCabe, though she recovered to make the save.

“Hannah [Hampton], as well as Mary [Earps], are two incredibly good goalkeepers. It’s a real luxury position we’re in,” said Wiegman.

“Mary has been really consistent for us. Hannah is also competing and improved a lot. I felt this was a game that gave her the opportunity to play and I had to trust that she could do a good job.

“The performance was good. We know [Hampton] is good with her feet and there were some moments where she could have been better – but it was solid and those saves were important in the second half.”

Those chances for the Republic of Ireland came after England substitute Fran Kirby had been denied by Courtney Brosnan at the other end, the Everton goalkeeper reacting brilliantly to block a volley from close range.

It was by no means a convincing performance from the European champions, who still look far from their best, but they did enough to win and it could be the catalyst they need to build momentum in a tough qualifying group.

Sweden had successfully found a way to keep out Walsh in Friday’s frustrating draw but the Barcelona midfielder was heavily involved in Dublin and that is always a good sign for England.

They face France next in May with Herve Renard’s side maintaining their lead at the top of the table with a 1-0 win over Sweden earlier on Tuesday.

The Republic of Ireland face a challenge to make up ground in the table and they host Sweden, who currently sit third in the group, next in May.

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