- England are able to boast a 100 percent record in qualifying following a pair of comfortable victories. Having hit Russia for six in their opening game, the Lionesses carried on their fine form by putting Bosnia & Herzegovina to the sword in a 4-0 thrashing. A Nikita Parris header sandwiched between a brace from captain Steph Houghton set the team on their way, before a well-dispatched penalty from Fran Kirby completed the rout of the eastern Europeans, meaning England now sit second in the group, a point adrift of Wales who have played a game more.
- Kazakhstan have endured a frustrating start to life in Group A. Back-to-back home defeats against Wales and Bosnia & Herzegovina were far from ideal, while a second loss to the Welsh on Friday further deepened the woes of the women from the east. Goalless and pointless, the side currently propping up the group will hope their luck turns against the team ranked third in the world.
A professional display from England may have blown the Bosnians away, but those within the Lionesses camp are aiming to improve their overall performance when Kazakhstan come to visit. Despite netting a total of ten goals in two matches, captain Steph Houghton has demanded even more from the team as they look to demolish their winless opponents: “Against these sorts of teams, they’re not really interested in keeping possession of the ball. They just want to bank up and try and make it difficult for us to score,” she told reporters following Friday night’s game.
“We need to make sure we improve on [Friday night] going into [the] Kazakhstan [game], aiming for more goals and being more clinical as well. It’s important to control what we can control. We need to focus on our performance and make sure we improve every single game.”
The centre-back will hope her words are taken into consideration ahead of Tuesday’s clash, with England no doubt desperate to take control and kill off the game before half-time. Don’t be surprised to see Toni Duggan and Fran Kirby powering forward, while Jodie Taylor will be desperate to add to her impressive haul at the European Championships earlier in the year.
The Lionesses will be without left-back Demi Stokes through injury, but Liverpool’s Alex Greenwood, who played the full 90 minutes against Bosnia, proved she is more than capable of filling the role. However, with the Kazakhstan attack packing less sting than a lifeless bumblebee, the 24-year-old could be in for an easy ride, allowing her to break forward at will.
Kazakhstan may have held things together so far, despite three straight defeats, but a meeting with England could see the floodgates open. The visitors are winless in five, conceding nine goals in the process, a total that could be matched if England find their form. Expect the hosts to secure the victory and rack up a cricket score in the process.
Sports.net’s top tip:
England to win 6-0
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.