Sophie Howard

Big Win For Howard & Scotland In World Cup Qualifying

Sophie Howard helped Scotland defeat Ukraine 4-0 on Friday night to strengthen their chances of FIFA Women's World Cup qualification.

- Sophie Howard featured in Scotland's 4-0 victory over Ukraine on Friday
- They remain second in their FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying group

- Ashleigh Plumptre could be in action for Nigeria in the African Women’s Cup of Nations 
- The Super Falcons begin their defence of the continental title on Monday 4 July 
- Mackenzie Smith has been selected in the England Under-18s squad for two matches

The Foxes defender started and played the full 90 minutes for her national team at Stadion Miejski w Rzeszowie, keeping a clean sheet and picking up three points to remain second in Group B, on 13 points from seven matches. 

Caroline Weir kicked off the scoring after just nine minutes, converting a penalty before Erin Cuthbert extended the advantage seven minutes later. A Martha Thomas double put Scotland four up before the break and that's how it stayed in Poland.

Pedro Martinez Losa’s side are now five points behind leaders Spain and four ahead of third-place Hungary, though both have played a game fewer. It's the Faroe Islands up next on 6 September, Scotland's penultimate fixture in the pool. 

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Sophie Howard
Sophie Howard

The defender congratulates Caroline Weir after her spot-kick put Scotland ahead.

Defender Ashleigh Plumptre joined up with the Nigeria’s Senior Women’s National Team squad in Abuja last week as the Super Falcons began preparations for the 2022 African Women’s Cup of Nations, which kicks off in Morocco across July.

Played between 2-23 July, the competition also serves as a qualification process for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, with the top four teams qualifying for the flagship tournament, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand.

Nigeria are three-time defending champions, having most recently won the competition consecutively in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Drawn in Group C, the holders’ first fixture is against South Africa at Stade Prince Moulay EL Hassan in Rabat on Monday 4 July (9pm kick-off).

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Ashleigh Plumptre
Ashleigh Plumptre

The centre-back is part of a 25-player squad for the tournament in Morocco.

The current African champions will then meet Botswana three days later in another 9pm kick-off at the same venue, before concluding the group stage by playing Burundi in Rabat on Sunday 10 July.

The top two sides in each group will automatically qualify for the quarter-finals, while the two best third-placed teams will also join the last-eight stage.

Plumptre’s Nigeria debut helped earn qualification for the tournament and with a total of four caps to her name, which also included back-to-back fixtures against Canada earlier this year, the centre-back will be hoping to add to her tally of senior international appearances next month.

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Mackenzie Smith
Mackenzie Smith

Smith skippered England’s Under-17s side earlier this year.

Foxes youngster Mackenzie Smith has been called up to the England Under-18s squad for two international friendly fixtures this week.  

The young Lionesses, coached by Emma Coates and Willie Kirk, will face Republic of Ireland Under-18s at Holmes Park in Leicester on Thursday 30 June (3pm kick-off) before taking on Austria Under 18s at St. George’s Park on Sunday 3 July (1pm kick-off).

The 17-year-old midfielder, who captained England’s Under-17s side earlier this year, was previously part of the squad for the UEFA European U17 Championship qualifiers.

All times BST.

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