Faroe Islands 0-6 Scotland
By: Om Arvind
Scotland completed the international break with a straightforward 6-0 win over the Faroe Islands.
Scotland managed to score early via Nicola Docherty, but had to wait till the end of the half before they could run away with the result.
The Faroe Islands’ box defending was fairly resilient and Scotland were profligate with their box entries within that period.
However, Caroline Weir broke her opponent’s spirit with a fantastic goal in the 40th minute; she danced past her markers inside the edge of the box and curled a low shot into the corner.
Weir quickly got in on the act again, taking down a ball on the left, driving inside, and teeing up Erin Cuthbert for a golazo.
Weir played the full ninety minutes and was typically excellent. Her movement bent and broke the Faroe Island defense numerous times and her ability to receive in tight spaces drew lots of fouls.
Scotland bagged another goal right before half-time through Martha Thomas and, as a result, the second period was processional — Rachel Corsie and Jen Beattie nabbed a few more to make it 6-0 and add some icing to the cake.
France 5-1 Greece
By: Yash Thakur
France secured a 5-1 victory over Greece to maintain their flawless World Cup qualification record.
Corinne Diacre lined up France in a 4-3-3 with Sandie Toletti and Grace Geyoro playing as the free 8’s. The PSG duo of Sandy Baltimore and Kadidiatou Diani formed the wing partnership. Greece, on the other hand, came out with a 3-4-3 formation that transformed into a 5-4-1 against the ball. The idea was to limit damage and look for opportunities on the break and they did have some bright moments throughout the game.
France made their intentions clear within the opening five minutes, as Toletti slipped a line-breaking pass in behind for right back Ève Périsset to latch onto. The wide combinations are a staple of France’s attacking patterns and they were in full display here. Both Toletti and Geyoro had the license to roam in the final third and provide support/depth in those wide combinations. They operated largely from the channel between the CB and FB, offering a vertical option and creating chances.
France scored their first in the 9th minute via a wide combination on the left, with Baltimore combining with Geyoro to set the latter through in the box to finish calmly. The second goal came from a similar sequence of play, where Geyoro managed to find Diani at the far post with a switch after some exchanges on the flank.
Even though it was all one-way traffic, Greece managed to pull one back from their first corner of the game, which came from their first counter of the game. The goal was a result of some poor marking by France at the near post.
In the 37th minute, Lyon’s CB Griedge Mbock suffered a serious injury. She couldn’t continue the game and the players looked distressed. France regrouped and pulled through the match, scoring another two goals before half-time. Melvine Malard notched France’s third of the game off of a rebound off the crossbar.
For the fourth goal, Toletti managed to slip in Diani with an excellent pass from deep. The former was often seen dropping deep to aid build-up and progression with her vertical passing ability.
The second half continued in much of the same vein. In the 59th minute, Toletti intercepted a play and set France on the attack. Geyoro found Baltimore, who sealed the deal by scoring France’s fifth of the night.
The substitutions continued France’s domination, which could only be halted by a rain delay around the 80th minute. From then on, France monopolized possession and territory and saw the game out, but did look vulnerable on the break, especially on their left side.
Toletti played the entire ninety minutes and had a solid performance, picking up one assist. Her dynamic positioning to provide support and positional rotations in wide areas were amazing, and she made some great runs into the box at the far post. Furthermore, she not only acted as a great vertical passing option, but also stopped dangerous breaks. She was on some corner duties as well and, while the majority of her deliveries went short, she was able to put in some good balls. In open play, Toletti circulated possession coolly and showcased her range with switches to the far side.
Spain 5-0 Ukraine
By: Om Arvind
Five Madridistas started in Jorge Vilda’s XI vs. Ukraine: Ivana Andrés, Olga Carmona, Claudia Zornoza, Athenea del Castillo, and Esther González.
The contest was a mismatch and Esther González stole the limelight early on, nabbing a goal and an assist inside 30 minutes.
Her understanding with Jenni Hermoso and Alba Redondo was particularly strong on the night, with Esther playing more like a ‘classic’ striker that threatened off-the-shoulder and ran the channels.
Levante’s Redondo had a good game herself, picking up a brace to make it 3-0 in the 39th minute.
Claudia Zornoza contributed some end-product near the end of the half, playing a gorgeous ball over the top to help Esther get her second goal.
Then, Olga brought herself to the fore in the 66th minute, drawing a foul in the box after an excellent run into the box, which set up Jenni Hermoso for the manita.
Although Athenea wasn’t as impactful as her peers on the scoresheet, she was still as skillful and cheeky as ever.
Three of the five Madridistas that started — Olga, Zornoza, and Athenea — played the entire game, with Ivana being brought off at the break for another Madrid player in Rocío Gálvez, and Esther being subbed for Leila Ouahabi in the 81st minute.