Euro 2017 qualifying: England thrash Estonia 8-0

By Jo CurrieBBC Sport in Tallinn
Estonia 0-8 England: Danielle Carter stars on Lionesses debut

Debutant Danielle Carter scored a hat-trick as England began their bid to qualify for Euro 2017 with a resounding 8-0 victory against Estonia in Tallinn.

In their first game since coming third at the World Cup, the Lionesses picked up where they left off in Canada, thrashing the Group Seven outsiders.

Arsenal forward Carter opened the scoring in the second minute, with Jo Potter doubling the lead minutes later following good work from Jess Clarke.

Fran Kirby netted twice, either side of Jill Scott's side-footed effort and Isobel Christiansen's impressive strike from 25 yards out.

Carter then added another two goals late on to wrap up an impressive win for England.

How have England changed since the World Cup?

With a number of players rested and others, such as Lucy Bronze and Toni Duggan, injured, this was a relatively new-look England squad, with only 11 members of the World Cup party making the trip to Estonia.

Captain Steph Houghton and Potter were the only players who started in the bronze-medal match against Germany to make the starting XI, but the new and recalled players did not disappoint.

Debuts for Carter and Christiansen paid off, with the pair scoring four goals between them against an Estonia side ranked 77th in the world - the lowest of the five teams in Group Seven.

Clarke also produced a fine display of forward play, switching between the flanks with ease and creating several goals in the process.

England finished the World Cup full of confidence and they brought plenty of that belief in to this game, which bodes well for the rest of the qualifying campaign.

England celebrate after full-time
Manager Mark Sampson took the chance to experiment against Estonia

Will qualifying be straightforward?

Judging by this performance, making the 2017 tournament in the Netherlands should be routine for England.

With Estonia ranked 72 places below them in the Fifa rankings, it was always unlikely that England would struggle against the Baltic country but their display of power and attacking threat showed why they are strong favourites to top a group which also features Serbia, Belgium and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

For manager Mark Sampson, the nature of his side's dominance provides plenty of positive selection dilemmas, with so many other proven players who did not feature in Estonia available to him.

Their next qualifier is against 71st-ranked Bosnia-Herzegovina on 29 November, so England - the third-highest ranked European team in the world behind Germany and France - will expect to have a maximum six points from their two matches heading into a six-month break between competitive fixtures.

Player of the match - Danielle Carter

Danielle Carter scores
Danielle Carter, 22, was called up by England in 2013 but had to wait two years for her debut. It was worth the wait, though, as she scored a hat-trick on her first appearance

What they said

England manager Mark Sampson: "We produced a good performance, we were balanced and controlled and we scored some good goals.

"It's always hard after a tournament to move away from those hangovers and we brought in some new faces to bring in some enthusiasm.

"You have to focus on the short term and getting three points, which we did, but we want to make sure that come June 2017 we're still going to be competitive."

Danielle Carter, scorer of a debut hat-trick: "I couldn't have dreamt of a better ending to that game on my first cap.

"It's just unbelievable - I can't put into words what it felt like.

"I'm definitely going home with the match ball. I'm going to get it signed and framed."

Pundit analysis

Former Leeds forward Lucy Ward: "This is an evolving team and new players have been introduced. That team selection has been justified. People shouldn't be guaranteed a place in the England team and that is the case now. Estonia are 20 years behind where England are. They had structure but they just didn't have the quality England had."

What's next?

England have a chance to repeat the most impressive result in their history - the extra-time win over Germany in the third-place play-off at the World Cup - when they travel to Duisburg for a friendly on 26 November. That match comes three days before that next Euro qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina at Ashton Gate.


Estonia: Laar, Raadik, Paulus, Loo, Palmaru, Aarna, Bannikova (Toom 75), Zlidnis, Vals, Ounpuu (C), Lepik.

Substitutes not used: Hoop, Pello, Himanen, Lambin, Kallas, Rosen.

England: (3-4-1-2): Telford, Turner, Houghton (C), Stokes, Davison (White 78), J. Scott (Aluko 68), Potter, Kirby, Christiansen, Carter, Clarke (Stoney 90+2).

Substitutes not used: Bassett, Bardsley, Flaherty, Greenwood.

Attendance: 1,342