It’s been a long three weeks since Liverpool Ladies were last in action, the Reds beat Reading Women on September 1st courtesy of super sub Katie Zelem’s superb 85th minute winning goal.
A number of Reds have been away on international duty during the break between FA Women’s Super League games; Zelem selected for England u20s duty and heading to Los Angeles, Mandy van den Berg and Shanice van de Sanden also crossed the Atlantic for the Netherlands friendly with the United States in Alanta.
Whilst a quartet of Brits have been competing in the final round of Euro 2016 qualifiers – Tash Harding and Sophie Ingle with Wales, Caroline Weir making history with Scotland and Siobhan Chamberlain keeping a familiar clean sheet with England.
Mandy van den Berg led a talented Netherlands side out in Atlanta for the Euro 2017 hosts friendly with the United States.
There were several familiar faces amongst the starting line up with the Arsenal trio of Sari van Veenendaal, Dominque Janssen and Danielle van de Donk and of course Shanice van de Sanden.
It would be van de Sanden that opened the scoring in what was an excellent first half of football – van den Berg’s clearance at the edge of the 18-yard box nodded on into the path of the speedy winger. van de Sanden added Meghan Klingenberg to her list of left backs she’s beaten this year to charge forward and smash the ball past Alyssa Naeher to put the Netherlands ahead.
The US had an equaliser before half time when Liverpool supporter Carli Lloyd found the back of the net and took the lead shortly into the second half in a controversial manner, van den Berg looked to have been fouled by Tobin Heath as she converted Christen Press’ cross past her own goalkeeper but the referee appeared not to have seen this and let the goal stand.
Allie Long rounded off the scoring on the night, making the score 3-1 USA in front of over 15,000 supporters.
Katie Zelem was selected by Mo Marley to represent England after an impressive season so far with Liverpool, the young midfielder has scored 4 goals so far in 2016 in a red shirt – the latest a wonderful left footed hit against Reading.
England u20s played Brazil, USA and South Korea in the NTC Invitational Tournament, emerging as overall winners with 2 wins and 1 draw.
Zelem started and played the full 90 minutes in each of the wins over Brazil and USA, Aston Villa’s Sarah Mayling struck an 89th minute winner against the Brazilians and England also beat USA by the same scoreline.
Coral Haines of Birmingham netted the winner against the Americans, with Zelem involved in the build up:
England had already wrapped the tournament up before the final game against South Korea, Zelem coming off the bench in the 62nd minute but the young Lionesses were held to a goalless draw.
Siobhan Chamberlain donned the England no.1 shirt for the final home Euro 2017 qualifier at Notts County’s Meadow Lane Stadium against Estonia, although the Reds stopper had little to do over the course of the 90 minutes.
Arsenal’s Danielle Carter marked her second cap with a second hat trick while Jill Scott and Karen Carney also found the back of the net as England cruised to a 5-0 win.
For the following game Chamberlain was amongst the substitutes as England finished their qualifying campaign with a 2-0 victory in Belgium, Nikita Parris and Carney with the goals.
Caroline Weir and Scotland made history during the international break by qualifying for their first major tournament.
Portugal – a side containing former Red and double title winning midfielder Amanda Da Costa – beat Finland on Friday meaning that the Fins could not finish higher than Scotland and confirming their place at next summer’s Euros in the Netherlands.
This meant that Scotland travelled to Iceland for their final qualifier having already qualified.
Three years earlier Weir had made her international debut in Iceland and in the build up to the game a good article went up on the Scottish FA’s website that is well worth a read here: Weir set to return to where it all started.
Here’s what Weir had to say on her time at Liverpool so far:
“Liverpool is a huge club and I’m delighted to be playing there at the moment,” she said.
“It’s a good set-up and we’re seen as equal to the men so we get to do some stuff with the first team too.
“Liverpool itself is quite a small place so you learn pretty quickly what the club means to the city.
“At the moment we’re sitting fourth in the league with three games to go.
“Our manager brought in some new players so we’ve built over the course of the season. It’ll be interesting to see where we end up.”
Scotland went on to finish their qualifying campaign on a high as Jane Ross struck twice to secure a 2-1 win.
Wales fell short of qualifying for Euro 2017 despite a strong finish to their campaign, a 3-0 over Israel with goal from Helen Ward (2) and Charlie Estcourt on Thursday preceded a good performance against Austria in a 0-0 draw this evening.
Sophie Ingle captained the Welsh side in both games while Tash Harding also started both games alongside her Liverpool team mate.
The two were singled out for praise by commentators during the draw and you can read highlights from the Reds duos performances below:
Full report: Strong performance from Wales as Austria qualify
“There was a moment of controversy on 13 minutes when Austrian goalkeeper Zinsberger handled the ball outside the area when under pressure from Natasha Harding, and Greek referee Eleni Lampadariou punished the offence with a yellow card.
Zinsbereger was tested from the resulting free-kick by Jess Fishlock, but with Wales visibly lifted, it was Harding that came close to opening the scoring after 28 minutes but she failed to find the target from a ball fired across the area with one of the best of the few first-half chances.”
“Despite the lack of goals, there was no shortage of entertainment as both sides went in search of the advantage late in the game, but Wales survived a late scare with captain Sophie Ingle again displaying all her defensive qualities to deny the visitors from leaving with maximum points.”
Full report: Wales dominate their way to victory over Israel
“On 33 minutes the lead was doubled when Helen Ward scored her second of the game after latching onto a ball from Rachel Rowe. Wales continued to dominate, and Nadia Lawrence headed over from a Natasha Harding cross as the opening half came to a close, but it remained 2-0 as Wales took a comfortable advantage into the break.”
“It would prove to be another dominant half from Wales, and on 59 minutes Estcourt extended their lead after some excellent work from Natasha Harding in the Israeli area with a fine finish.
Wales were good value for their lead and should have increased their advantage on 85 minutes when Harding was fouled in the area by Michal Ravitz.
Despite being booked previously, Ravitz escaped further punishment, but Jess Fishlock was denied by Shamir as the goalkeeper guessed the right way to deny Wales a fourth goal.”
Liverpool Ladies return to FAWSL action this Sunday away at Birmingham City in a 2pm kick off at Solihull Moors FC.