In Focus: Five key talking points from England 3-0 Belgium

Luke Bissett
England captain Leah Williamson applauds the fans after the Lionesses' victory
England captain Leah Williamson applauds the fans after the Lionesses' victory

Chloe Kelly marked her return to England duty with her first international goal as the Lionesses began their Euro 2022 preparations with a 3-0 win over Belgium.

Sarina Wiegman's side will have felt hard done by to go in goalless at the break after missing a number of first-half chances.

But the hosts took the lead in the 62nd minute as Kelly's deflected effort deceived Belgium goalkeeper Nicky Evrard — the perfect return for the Manchester City winger following an ACL injury. 

The Lionesses doubled their advantage moments later when Rachel Daly volleyed into the top corner.

They continued to dominate and netted a third when Leah Williamson's volley rebounded off Evrard to round off a superb performance.

We have picked out five talking points from the clash at Molineux.

Unbeaten run continues

Victory means England remain unbeaten under Wiegman — having won 10 of their 12 games under the former Netherlands coach.

The Lionesses have been in imperious form of late and have already racked up 75 goals under Wiegman.

England also did something the men's side were unable to do this week by finding the net at Molineux.

There is a huge amount of competition in the Lionesses squad and Wiegman utilised that as her three half-time substitutions — Daly, Kelly and Alex Greenwood — changed the game.

England are in imperious form under Sarina Wiegman
England are in imperious form under Sarina Wiegman

Flying full-backs

It was clear from the start that England's full-backs had been asked to make marauding forward runs at every opportunity.

As was indicative of Wiegman's Netherlands side of the past, the Lionesses' central defenders looked to spread the play by making penetrative passes out wide.

That worked to a tee as Wiegman's side found plenty of joy in the wide areas via their high-flying full-back pair — acting as another component of an extremely dangerous attacking unit.

There were warning signs though. Belgium's best opportunity came through a quick counter-attack with the England defence vulnerable due to the advanced position of their full-backs.

It was a comfortable victory for hosts England at Wolves' Molineux
It was a comfortable victory for hosts England at Wolves' Molineux

Midfield maestro

England captain Williamson was superb in the hosts' engine room, acting as the beating heart of Wiegman's outfit.

There have been question marks over whether the Arsenal star is better utilised as a midfielder or a centre-back, her natural position, but Williamson showed exactly what she is capable of in a more advanced role.

The midfielder dictated the game with a fine range of passing and constantly drew the Belgian defence out of position with runs between the lines.

Williamson had a golden opportunity in the first half as she raced in behind the visitors' defence but her lofted effort was cleared off the line.

The skipper made amends with the part she played in the Lionesses' third goal.


England goalkeeper Mary Earps' clean sheet never looked in doubt at Molineux, thanks to another dominant defensive display from Wiegman's team.

The Lionesses have conceded just twice since Wiegman took charge last September and Earps was hardly tested with the visitors having just a solitary effort on target.

England used a high press which afforded Belgium little possession while turnovers inside the Belgian Red Flames' half became a constant theme.

Perfect prep

England were thrashed the last time that they faced the Netherlands
England were thrashed the last time that they faced the Netherlands

European champions the Netherlands are up next for the Lionesses on June 24. 

And Wiegman will approach the contest full of confidence after the impressive win against the Belgians. 

She said: "We dominated the game. We created lots of chances but didn't score in the first half.

"We gave them one chance. We said at half-time we wanted more runs in behind, keep our patience and score some goals.

"It shows how the depth in the team is. We wanted to win but we wanted to try other things.

"They gave us loads of information we can continue working on tomorrow."


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