Plenty has happened with regards to Everton’s WSL team in recent days. Here’s a rundown from the past week!
There was plenty of celebrating for two Evertonians this past week, as strikers Alisha Lehmann (Switzerland) and Simone Magill (Northern Ireland) both qualified for the 2022 European Championship, set to be held in England.
Each team played a two-leg tie to qualify for the tournament’s final phase. Switzerland met the Czech Republic, drawing the first contest — in which Lehmann did not feature — and winning on penalty kicks in the second leg. In the second fixture, Lehmann was a 56th-minute substitute and took the team’s third penalty kick, which she made. Her strike provided Switzerland a much-needed spark, as the team had missed their first two attempts from the spot. This will be Switzerland’s second-ever appearance at the Euros.
ENGLAND 2022, ARE YOU READY FOR US?!— Nati (@nati_sfv_asf) April 13, 2021
Die Schweiz fährt zur EM!
La Suisse se qualifie pour l'EURO !
La Svizzera si qualifica per l'Europeo!#SUICZE #WEURO2022 pic.twitter.com/zFpf7lMfYq
Moving on to the other Blue who had cause for celebration, Magill and Northern Ireland punched a ticket to their first-ever European Championship — they will be the only team in the field making their debut. Northern Ireland had an easier set than Switzerland did, defeating Ukraine 2–1 and 2–0. Magill played every minute of both victories and scored the game-winning goal — in the 57’ — in the opening match. She also assisted on the team’s second goal of the final fixture.
And little Norn Iron showed the world what we can do. Did someone say Euros? pic.twitter.com/WiAh7qle4P— Simone Magill (@SimoneMagill) April 13, 2021
Nine other Toffees were in action during the most recent FIFA window. Norwegian right back Ingrid Moe Wold featured at left back, she is Everton’s starting right back, in a 2–0 win over Belgium — one of the surprise teams during qualification. She did not feature in Norway’s 3–1 defeat to Germany.
The first tandem of teammates at the international level, center-back Rikke Sevecke and winger Nicoline Sørensen, suited up for Denmark. Sevecke played the complete 180 as the right-sided center-back. Sørensen, who also played the entire 180, operated as the team’s right wing back and scored the only goal in a 1–0 win over Ireland and swapped flanks to play on the left in the second match, a 1–1 draw with Wales.
Striker Valérie Gauvin started in France’s 3–1 win against England and was subbed out in the 59’. Against the United States, Gauvin came on at halftime, but her team fell 2–0 to the USA. Goalie Tinja-Riikka Korpela started Finland’s sole match of the window; her side drew 2–2 with Austria. Elise Hughes (Wales), who is on loan at Blackburn Rovers, came on in the 80’ versus Denmark and played at left midfield.
The second pair of Blues on the international stage was midfielder Jill Scott and goalie Sandy MacIver. England suffered two difficult losses, dropping 3–1 to France and 2–0 to Canada. Scott played 73 minutes at central defensive midfield against France and did not feature versus Canada. MacIver, buried on the depth chart, did not play in either contest. The final player to feature was winger Hayley Raso for Australia. The Aussies fell 5–2 to Germany and were outclassed 5–0 against the Netherlands. Raso played 90 minutes at right back in the first match versus Germany and was moved up to right wing in the second game. She logged 62 minutes in that outing.
| “Grace is an enormous talent and has come on leaps and bounds this season. She has got the right character to get to the top and I'm looking forward to working with her moving forward."— Everton Women (@EvertonWomen) April 7, 2021
️ @WillieKirk pic.twitter.com/xCYUkmNiSU
Academy graduate Grace Clinton this past week signed her first professional contract with Everton, agreeing to a two-year deal that runs through June 2023. At 18 years old, Clinton has played sparingly this season in the center of the pitch. Though her minutes have been limited, she made her senior debut with the club in October during a 6–0 thrashing of Aston Villa. She also started in the Continental Cup group stage against Liverpool and helped the Toffees to a 1–0 derby victory.
Having featured at the U17 level for England, Clinton, from Merseyside, is a composed dribbler of the ball, strong in possession and brimming with expansive passing. Clinton joined Everton’s academy at 13 and was thrilled to commit to the Blues. “Everton has always looked after me, and I’ve loved my time here,” she told evertonfc.com. “It’s a great place for a young player. I’m so grateful to be offered this first pro contract, and I am delighted to sign it.” With her dedicated work ethic and a grade-A coaching staff, Clinton has all the tools to be the fulcrum of Everton’s midfield for years to come.