Mead, Russo braces help England put 7 past Austria in friendly


Wiegman: Really nice to have Williamson back for England

Sarina Wiegman speaks about Leah Williamson's return to the England squad after her ACL injury.

Doubles from Alessia Russo and Beth Mead and a debut goal from 20-year-old Grace Clinton helped England thrash Austria 7-2 in a women's international friendly in Algeciras, Spain, on Friday.

Midfielder Clinton, who has impressed on loan at Tottenham from Manchester United, grabbed England's second goal in the 19th minute with a header from a Lauren Hemp cross.

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England had got off to fast start against their 17th-ranked opponents, with Russo putting them in front in just the third minute. Austria briefly threatened to make a genuine contest out of the match when Virginia Kirchberger pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark.

But Mead restored England's two-goal cushion prior to half-time before England ran away with it in the second half.

Russo struck a second and Jess Carter added a fifth shortly after coming on as a substitute. Mead then sealed her brace late on and substitute Rachel Daly found the net in stoppage time to complete a dominant display for the Lionesses, despite another consolation effort from Kirchberger.

Beth Mead and Rachel Daly celebrate during England's big win over Austria.
Fran Santiago - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

The match was the first of two friendlies England will play during their warm-weather training camp in Marbella, with Sarina Wiegman's side also facing Italy on Tuesday.

As well as a debut for Clinton, there was just a third appearance for Chelsea goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, who took the place of regular No. 1 Mary Earps.

England were without defender Leah Williamson despite her having being named in an international squad for the first time in 10 months following her recovery from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. However, the Arsenal player was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury and replaced by Manchester United's Millie Turner.

The Lionesses were playing their first game since a 6-0 win over Scotland in December. Despite the resounding win, the result was not enough to take England through to the UEFA Nations League semifinals, meaning an end to Great Britain's hopes of taking part in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The draw for Euro 2025 qualifying will take place on March 5, with the first matches taking place in April.