Several Everton Women players represented their respective national teams this past week as European Championship qualification is heating up. Here’s a rundown of how the Toffees performed in the European Qualifiers.
Starting in group B, Denmark are group winners, thus earning automaniac qualification to the 2022 tournament — the Danes will look to rebound from a disappointing finals loss to Netherlands in 2017. Denmark played two matches last week, 4–0 and 3–1 victories over Israel and Italy, respectively. Rikke Sevecke did not feature against Israel — in an attempt to rest her for the clash against Italy — but played the full 90 as the right-sided defender in a back three as the team overcame a spirited Italian side.
Nicoline Sørensen, meanwhile, started both matches as the team’s right midfielder. She did not score against Israel and was subbed off in the 57th minute. In a must-win game against Italy, Sørensen scored inside the opening ten minutes to give Denmark a lead they would not surrender. She would later be subbed off in the 90th minute.
From Sørensen on one wing to her opposite in Claire Emslie, Scotland took on Albania and Finland in Group E. Emslie played all 90 minutes on the left wing against Albania, a 3–0 win, and operated in the same position during a crushing 1–0 loss to Finland. Lucy Graham, on the other hand, played as a defensive midfielder — her position for the Toffees — in the Albania win, getting subbed off in the 60th. She did not feature against Finland — a circumstance of Scotland’s deep array of talent in the midfield.
Despair for Scotland was happiness for Finland, as Tinja-Riikka Korpela started against the Scots. Korpela, who now has been capped 91 times for her country, faced four shots en route to a clean sheet and was a large reason why Finland now sit top of the group with 13 points. Finland are three points clear of Portugal and four points clear of Scotland, although each of the challengers have played one less game (four to five).
The other nation to qualify for the 2022 competition is Norway, a team that features Everton right back Ingrid Moe Wold. After defeating Wales in a tight 1–0 contest in Group C, Norway sit seven points clear and cannot be caught for first place. Wold, unsurprisingly, played all 90 minutes at right back during the win against Wales.
Moving down the table in Group C are Northern Ireland. In the lone game of the week, Simone Magill played 90 minutes against Belarus — a 1–0 win. Northern Ireland cannot win the group or qualify for final tournament as one of best runners-up but can qualify for play-offs. They are in third place, three points back of Wales with a game in hand (six to seven).
Capping off the Toffees who were named to their respective national teams are Valérie Gauvin and Maéva Clemaron. Gauvin played against North Macedonia as France’s number nine, scoring one goal and was subbed off in the 80th minute. Again leading Les Bleus’ attack, Gauvin did not score in a 0–0 draw with Poland and left the field as a substitute in the 86th minute. Clemaron, meanwhile, was an unused substitute in both fixtures. France are now tied for first in the group with Poland, as both teams have 16 points and are 5–0–1; the team’s play each other on November 27, a game that is certain to decide the winner of the group.
Turning to the tournament’s hosts in England, who earn automatically qualification, goalkeeper Sandy MacIver and midfielder Izzy Christiansen were both called up for a friendly against Germany scheduled to be played on October 27. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, however, this match was postponed.
The recent international matches come as welcome preparation for the FA Cup Final against Manchester City this Sunday at 9:30 am EST/ 2:30 BST.