Austria 0 England 2: Russo and Parris on target as Lionesses claim World Cup spot after heroic Euros triumph

    ALESSIA RUSSO got the ball rolling as England beat stubborn Austria 2-0 to seal their place in next year’s World Cup.

    The striker’s opener and a Nikita Parris thumper saw the Lionesses’ red-hot run continue with the team now 21 games unbeaten under Sarina Wiegman.  

    Alessia Russo scored her ninth goal for the Lionesses who needed a draw to qualify for next year's World Cup

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    Alessia Russo scored her ninth goal for the Lionesses who needed a draw to qualify for next year’s World CupCredit: Getty
    England aim to seal ten wins in ten World Cup qualifiers when they play Luxembourg

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    England aim to seal ten wins in ten World Cup qualifiers when they play LuxembourgCredit: PA

    The result saw the Euros winners bag a ninth victory out of nine World Cup qualifying games notching a whopping 70 goals in the process.

    The match also saw Lauren James make her senior England debut with the Chelsea forward entering the fray late on.

    And Wiegman acknowledged Austria provided her stars with a stern test following their Euros triumph.

    The England head coach said: “I think it was a hard game coming out of the Euros without having much rest, with some players having been in the Champions League.

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    “After all that I’m very proud of the team that we came out of this and won the game. It looked so easy, but I think it was very hard.”

    The duel saw super sub Parris smash the ball home late on.

    On Parris’ efforts, Wiegman added: “We wanted more depth and that’s one of the strengths of her game.

    “She had the runs behind and that’s what she did really well.

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    “Her finish was great. That was very successful, so we celebrated that together.”

    The Lionesses – playing for their first game since their European Championship triumph – got off to a flyer in the seventh minute at Wiener Neustadt Stadium.

    The team were also in action for the first time since the retirement of their all-time record scorer Ellen White.

    But Russo showed the future looks bright for England in attack bagging her ninth senior international goal.

    Though off balance in the box, the striker fired Wiegman’s aces ahead after getting a boot on the end of a headed ball from Lauren Hemp.

    And England almost doubled their lead moments after their seventh-minute opener with Hemp outpacing Verena Hanshaw to tee up Russo.

    But Austria, who succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against their visitors during the Women’s Euros, showed precisely why they proved tough opponents during the tournament.

    They grew into the game and blazed the ball over the bar around the 12th minute with Julie Hickelsberger firing after the hosts won possession.

    Nikita Parris doubled England's lead to secure a win against Austria

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    Nikita Parris doubled England’s lead to secure a win against AustriaCredit: Getty

    And the Austrian midfielder looked to cause problems shortly before half time with her cross forcing a solid block from Alex Greenwood.

    The second spell saw Irene Fuhrmann’s Austria side attempt to up the ante.

    Hickelsberger came close to levelling after pinching the ball off keeper Mary Earps.

    And the England number one made a top-drawer save in the 60th minute parrying Laura Feiersinger’s shot away from goal.

    Wiegman rang the changes with Parris and Beth England coming on for Beth Mead and Russo moments later.

    And Parris blasted England two-nil ahead in the 70th minute before coming close to netting a second shortly after.

    The visitors wrapped up the win to cap off one of the most successful summers in the Lionesses’ history.

    They will take on Luxembourg in their final World Cup qualifier before the start of the new WSL season.

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