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England 5-1 Italy: Hemp's brace helps Lionesses to another thumping win
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Lauren Hemp scored twice for England
Lauren Hemp scored twice for England

Lauren Hemp scored a first-half brace as England beat Italy 5-1 in the second of their double-header of friendlies in southern Spain.

Four days on from defeating Austria 7-2 at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras, the Lionesses started the ball rolling for another thumping win with Lotte Wubben-Moy heading home her first international goal in the opening few seconds.

Hemp then added two efforts, the second an excellent header, to put England three goals up just past the half-hour mark.

Michela Cambiaghi pulled a goal back for the visitors in first-half stoppage time before substitutes Ella Toone and Rachel Daly completed the rout after the break.

After this positive start to the calendar year, next up for England are the opening Euro 2025 qualifiers in April as Sarina Wiegman’s side begin the journey of defending the title they won on home soil in 2022.

Having made five changes to her starting line-up from the Austria game, Wiegman saw England begin in similar fashion, again taking the lead in the opening moments.

This time it came even quicker than Alessia Russo’s third-minute finish against the Austrians, with Wubben-Moy heading in from Alex Greenwood’s corner in the first minute to break her England scoring duck.

Wubben-Moy saw a further header turned around a post by Laura Giuliani soon after before the Lionesses’ lead was extended in somewhat fortuitous circumstances following another Greenwood corner.

The Manchester City defender’s 21st-minute delivery was met by a Giuliani punch and Aurora Galli attempted to clear the ball, only to see it hit Hemp and go in.

After Grace Clinton’s strike was caught by Giuliani and Niamh Charles breathed a sigh of relief when her attempted pass to Mary Earps was intercepted by Cambiaghi but the ball was run out of play, Hemp made it 3-0 in the 34th minute with a fine header as she connected with Georgia Stanway’s cross.

Wiegman’s side pushed for more with Greenwood curling a free-kick wide and Giuliani denying Chloe Kelly and Russo before first-half stoppage time saw Earps called into action to block a Sofia Cantore shot, and then beaten as England lost possession near their own box and Cambiaghi slotted in.

Lauren James was one of two players brought on at the interval and her curling effort from just outside the box was well saved by Giuliani in the 64th minute.

Five minutes later James latched on to a long ball forward from Greenwood, produced a cross from the left to Toone – just off the bench herself – and the Manchester United player finished with a rising side-footed effort.

There was a let-off for Earps when her kick went straight to Cantore and she passed to Cambiaghi, who could only shoot wide from a good position.

England then punished an Italian error in the 79th minute as the recently-introduced Daly pounced on an underhit backpass, took the ball past Giuliani and stroked it in for 5-1.

James almost added a sixth goal in the closing stages, with Giuliani doing well to save her shot.

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