World Cup qualifiers: Northern Ireland hit Luxembourg for four

Lauren Wade celebrates scoring Northern Ireland's fourth goal. vs Luxembourg | Copyright: Brian Lawless

Northern Ireland began their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 4-0 win over Luxembourg on Friday night in front of 1,500 fans at Inver Park in Larne. 

Kenny Shiels’ side started with a real spring in their step as Emily Wilson got on the end of a Kirsty McGuinness cross, but flicked her header just wide of the target.

It took 17 minutes for Luxembourg goalkeeper Lucie Schlimé to be called into action. A Chloe McCarron free-kick put the shot-stopper to work as her effort was kept out.

Northern Ireland eventually took the lead through Marissa Callaghan, who lifted a clever Rachel Furness pass over the onrushing Schlimé.

The hosts doubled their lead 25 minutes in through initial provider Furness. The Liverpool star got on the end of a McGuinness corner before thumping it into the back of the net. Her header marked her 32nd international goal.

Rachel Furness celebrates scoring Northern Ireland’s second goal vs Luxembourg | Copyright: Brian Lawless

Northern Ireland had a massive opportunity to make it 3-0 after a goal-mouth scramble. The chaos in the box ended with a save from Schlimé but the Green and White Army eventually found their third.

Wilson netted her first goal for her country as Furness saw her free-kick crash off the post and fall for the striker.

Second half

Northern Ireland began the second half just as they finished the first. They started on the front foot by winning a penalty in the 51st minute. However, Furness’ effort failed to hit the target and she squandered the chance of bagging her second goal.

Shiels made a double change through Kerry Beattie and Demi Vance, with the latter making her long-awaited return from an ACL injury.

The two subs were instantly involved as Beattie rolled her effort just wide of the target following a Vance pass.

Northern Ireland managed to net their fourth with 20 minutes left to play. It was Lauren Wade who found the back of the net after Beattie saw her shot deflected into the path of the 27-year-old.

Northern Ireland would see their first World Cup qualifier out in a professional manner, with eyes on Latvia at Windsor Park on Tuesday.

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