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Winners & Losers

England's final Women's World Cup qualifying camp winners and losers: Russo and James show the future's bright for the European champions

4:00 AM EDT 9/7/22
Parris Russo James England GFX
Sarina Wiegman's Lionesses concluded their qualifying campaign with wins over Austria and Luxembourg

It was never in doubt, but England have secured their place at the 2023 Women's World Cup, wrapping things up by beating Austria and Luxembourg.

Most impressive of all, the reigning European champions did so with a perfect record - winning all 10 of their games, scoring 80 goals and, remarkably, conceding none.

There were a few different faces in this camp compared to the squad that won the Euros just over a month ago at Wembley.

So who was it a good international break for, and for whom was it not? GOAL breaks down the winners and losers...

  • Alessia Russo England Women 2022

    WINNER: Alessia Russo

    After being one of Sarina Wiegman's 'super subs' during the Euros, Alessia Russo seems to have stepped into the role as the favoured No.9 in this England team following the retirement of Ellen White.

    The Manchester United forward scored four goals in the summer's tournament, among them the back-heeled nutmeg in the semi-final win over Sweden that was voted Goal of the Tournament.

    And after being promoted to the starting line-up this week, she netted against both Austria and Luxembourg, making it 10 strikes in 15 appearances for her country.

    The 23-year-old's days as an impact player from the bench are surely over - and with a World Cup on the horizon too.

  • Alex Morgan USWNT 2022

    LOSER: Other countries

    The Lionesses may not have faced any incredibly tough opponents in this international break, but their performances were still a statement to the rest of the world.

    In White and Jill Scott, Wiegman's team lost two huge characters to retirement post-Euros, two players who have been mainstays of this group for so long. However, with players such as Russo, with the likes of newcomers Lauren James and Ebony Salmon - two young forwards with so much promise - they have lots of talent that can help them continue to progress.

    White and Scott are big players to lose, but England are a good enough team, with a big enough talent pool, to make sure that doesn't hurt them.

    Riding a real wave of confidence as Wiegman continues her unbeaten start to life as Lionesses boss, there is a big test to come in October, in the form of the U.S. women's national team, the world champions. And the European champions are ready for it.

  • Nikita Parris England Women 2022

    WINNER: Nikita Parris

    The past year has been tough for Nikita Parris. The forward returned to England last summer after two trophy-laden campaigns with European champions Lyon. However, her game time at Arsenal was limited and her role at the Euros was that of a bench player.

    However, she has recently completed a move to Manchester United, which feels a better fit and could see her return to her best form, the type that made her the Women's Super League's all-time top goalscorer back in 2018.

    On Saturday, she produced a fantastic finish to make it 2-0 against Austria, following that up with a strike in the game with Luxembourg on Tuesday. It's a double that will send her into the new WSL season with her new club high on confidence.

  • Fran Kirby England Women 2022

    LOSER: Those that missed out

    As well as White and Scott, there were a few more changes to this squad from the one that won the Euros. Goalkeeper Hannah Hampton was missing due to "personal issues which she needs to sort out", while both Fran Kirby and Chloe Kelly were injured.

    In their absence, others shone. Ella Toone took Kirby's place in midfield and was excellent, Ellie Roebuck was the goalkeeper that picked up a cap in the game against Luxembourg, and there was room for both Laurent James and Nikita Parris to show what they could do in attack, too.

    Kirby was part of Wiegman's unchanged XI throughout the Euros and Kelly impressed aplenty, scoring the goal that won the tournament, so one international break is unlikely to see them slip down the pecking order.

    But those who got chances in their places certainly took them and will have given Wiegman something to think about going forward.

  • Lauren James England Women 2022

    WINNER: Lauren James

    For a long time, James has been touted as one of the stars of the future for England. However, a couple of injury-plagued years have set her back and stopped her from gaining the chances with her national team that she might have.

    Fortunately, those struggles appear to be behind her now. The 20-year-old has had a terrific pre-season campaign with Chelsea and got her reward last week when she finally made her senior international debut.

    She appears primed to have a greater role at club level this season, with those previous problems having been managed, and a strong campaign with the reigning champions would put her right in the mix for a place on the plane to the World Cup next summer.

  • Keira Walsh England Women 2022

    LOSER: Manchester City?

    Off the pitch this week, there has been a lot of interest in one England player in particular - Keira Walsh.

    The Manchester City midfielder has been the subject of heavy interest from Barcelona and reports are only growing in confidence when it comes to the chances of her moving to Spain.

    City are already out of the Champions League, losing to Real Madrid in the first qualifying round. To lose Walsh - the heart of their side, a player who showed again this week why she is so highly-rated - would only compound their misery, all with title rivals Arsenal coming to town on Sunday.