Women’s European Qualifiers
With the September 17th-22nd slate of matches for European Championship qualification having concluded, several Toffees earned quality minutes for their respective international teams.
Starting with Denmark (tied with Italy for first place in Group B), who beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 4–0 and Malta 8–0, Rikke Sevecke and Nicoline Sørensen both featured for the Danes. Against Bosnia, Denmark lined up in a 3-4-3, with Sevecke playing as the right-sided defender, while Sørensen lined up on the right wing of the midfield — the two would play identical roles against Malta.
Not only did Sevecke and Sørensen each play every minute of Denmark’s qualifying matches, Sevecke also scored one of the team’s four goals against Bosnia. For Everton, Sevecke has started the two opening fixtures as the left-sided center-back, while Sørensen has started one game and come off the bench in the other, slotting in on the left side of the midfield for the Toffees. Two incredible signings for Willie Kirk’s side this summer, Sevecke and Sørensen displayed their versatility, having played in multiple positions between Denmark and Everton.
Moving a little farther the North, Ingrid Moe Wold continued her dominance at right back with the Norwegian national team. In one match against Wales, a 1–0 win, Wold played the full ninety. Crucial to the defensive integrity of Head Coach Martin Sjögren’s backline, Wold helped stifle a cunning Welsh attack. Thanks in part to Wold, Norway sit atop Group C, taking a maximum of 15 points from five games.
A familiar face for both club and country, Simone Magill (#9) was again prolific in front of net for Northern Ireland. In one match against the Faroe Islands, Northern Ireland sailed to a 6–0 win, keeping European dreams alive — Northern Ireland sit in fourth place in Group C, but are only three points off second place Wales. Playing the full 90, Magill netted twice for her country as she led the striking force over the weekend. Magill scored her first goal of the domestic season against Bristol City in the opener and carried that scoring touch with her to the national team.
The last player to feature in last weekend’s qualifying matches was French international Maéva Clémaron, who was subbed on in the 88’ of France’s 2–0 win against Serbia. France, who sit three points back of Austria with a game in hand in Group G, mostly played younger and more inexperienced players — a tactical decision that limited the minutes of both Clémaron and Striker Valérie Gauvin, the latter of whom did not play in either of France’s contests.
There are no games for 2021 Euro hosts England, but the team still trained together and played two intra-squad matches over the weekend. Both Izzy Christiansen and Sandy MacIver featured for the “away” England side, as Christiansen scored in a 2–1 win over the “home” squad. Both Christiansen and MacIver have seemingly cemented their places in the England makeup moving forward.
Both Finland and Scotland were scheduled to play qualifying matches, but both teams had games postponed. This meant that Tinja Riikka-Korpela missed time with the Fins, while Claire Emslie and Lucy Graham similarly didn’t play for the Scots.
Thank you Kika van Es
It was recently announced that defender Kika van Es, who has been with the club for the past 14 months, would be returning to FC Twente — for whom she played in the 2017-2018 season. The Dutch defender played a total of 10 matches for the Blues across all competitions, as the team finished sixth in the WSL last season. A usual in the Dutch national team setup, van Es is a strong defender, but found it difficult to get on the field since signing for the Toffees. Best of luck to Kika van Es in the next chapter of her career.
This past Wednesday, the FA announced the six groups for the Women’s League Cup, or Continental Cup — a competition consisting of the 23 teams from England’s Super League and Championship League. Everton have been placed in a group with WSL heavyweights Manchester City (whom they play October 7), rising team Manchester United (November 4) and local rivals Liverpool (November 18). Another chance for Kirk’s side to test themselves, the Continental Cup provides an excellent opportunity to earn a bit of silverware this campaign.