2023 Women’s World Cup qualifiers: Rachel Furness breaks record as NI end 2021 on high

Northern Ireland secure second huge win over North Macedonia

Northern Ireland ended a memorable year on a high with a 9-0 victory over North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying.

Rachel Furness broke David Healy’s record for the most goals for Northern Ireland as Kirsty McGuinness scored a hat-trick in a dominant victory.

Rebecca Holloway scored twice after netting in NI’s record 11-0 win over North Macedonia on Thursday.

Simone Magill and Furness added further goals at a sold-out Seaview before Kerry Beattie completed the rout.

Kenny Shiels’ side move into second position in Group D, three points ahead of Austria who play Luxembourg on Tuesday.

The comfortable win was Northern Ireland’s final game of 2021 before a big year which will see fixtures in April against Austria and England and then Euro 2022 next summer.

Qualification for a first-ever women’s major tournament and their record 11-0 victory over North Macedonia on Thursday means NI have had a memorable year.

They also played at Windsor Park for the first time since its redevelopment, took on England at Wembley in October and sold out their home ground at Seaview against Austria.

Furness breaks record in first half

Record breaker Rachel Furness and hat-trick hero Kirsty McGuinness

The first half belonged to Furness, who, with Northern Ireland already two goals to the good, netted her 37th Northern Ireland goal to surpass Healy as the country’s record goalscorer.

The ball broke to the Liverpool midfielder on the edge of the area and she tucked a left-foot effort into the net and sparked the loudest cheer of the night.

Prior to Furness’ goal, just like in Skopje, Northern Ireland were well on top from the first whistle and Marissa Callaghan and McGuinness had efforts well blocked by the visiting defence.

Magill thought she had made the breakthrough on 10 minutes when she converted Demi Vance’s cross but the flag, somewhat belatedly, went up for offside.

Northern Ireland’s disappointment, however, lasted only seconds as McGuinness raced onto a through ball before arrowing an effort off the post and into the net.

Kirsty McGuinness watches her clip land in the far corner
Kirsty McGuinness watches her chip land in the far corner

Lauren Wade and Callaghan let fly as the hosts went in search of a second, before Furness saw a powerful header cleared off the line and McGuinness saw another effort saved by Magdalena Lekovska.

After netting her maiden international goal on Thursday, Holloway grabbed a spectacular second when her 30-yard strike flew into the top scorner on the half-hour mark despite the best efforts of the visiting goalkeeper.

Furness netted Northern Ireland’s third in her history-making moment before McGuinness made it four when her delightful chip landed into the far corner, and it could have been better if Wade didn’t have another effort ruled out for offside at the end of the half.

McGuinness savours hat-trick

The pressure kept coming after the break and Wade blazed over the top in the first attack of the second half before McGuinness and Magill were inches away from adding more gloss to the scoreline.

Aleksandra Markova had a rare effort for North Macedonia, which landed well wide, before the outstanding Magill headed onto the crossbar from Callaghan’s cutback.

Furness curled over the top as the green shirts piled forward, and the fifth goal came when McGuiness touched home from close range on 62 minutes from Magill’s fourth assist of the game.

A sold-out Seaview enjoyed nine goals in a memorable win
A sold-out Seaview enjoyed nine goals in a memorable win

Holloway slammed home NI’s sixth two minutes later and Magill was inches away from a deserved goal when her low effort flew the wrong side of the post.

Magill eventually made it seven when she skipped into the area and slotted past Lekovska on 74 minutes, and Furness was unlucky not to grab her second of the night when her volley was driven off the line by Ane Boseka, but the relentless midfielder headed home from Wade’s deep cross with five minutes to play.

There was a great moment for Beattie who scored with the last kick of the game from close range, her first international goal, to round out the win and a memorable night in front of a lively and packed Seaview crowd.

Line-ups

Northern Ireland

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Burns
  • 2McKennaSubstituted forAndrewsat 45′minutes
  • 5Nelson
  • 4McFaddenSubstituted forWatlingat 45′minutes
  • 3Vance
  • 14Wade
  • 10Furness
  • 8CallaghanSubstituted forMcDanielat 65′minutes
  • 6HollowaySubstituted forMcGuinnessat 83′minutes
  • 9Magill
  • 11McGuinnessSubstituted forBeattieat 70′minutes

Substitutes

  • 7McCarron
  • 12Flaherty
  • 13Burrows
  • 15Hamilton
  • 16Caldwell
  • 17McLaren
  • 18McDaniel
  • 19McGuinness
  • 20Andrews
  • 21Beattie
  • 22Watling
  • 23Harvey-Clifford

North Macedonia

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lekovska
  • 17Jankovska
  • 4Mileska
  • 23Milchevska
  • 3Boseska
  • 16Petrovska
  • 6ShemsovikjSubstituted forMarkovskaat 45′minutes
  • 7Maksuti
  • 9MustafaSubstituted forGjorgjevskaat 86′minutes
  • 11SaliihiSubstituted forHuseinat 78′minutes
  • 19PetrushevskaSubstituted forVelkovaat 65′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Gjorgjevska
  • 5Kolarovska
  • 8Markovska
  • 10Husein
  • 12Kolevska
  • 13Chubrinovska
  • 14Velkova
  • 15Nedeva
  • 18Joshevska
  • 20Choneva
  • 21Paneska
  • 22Pavlovska

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Northern Ireland Women 9, North Macedonia Women 0.

  2. Second Half ends, Northern Ireland Women 9, North Macedonia Women 0.

  3. Goal! Northern Ireland Women 9, North Macedonia Women 0. Kerry Beattie (Northern Ireland Women) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.

  4. Attempt missed. Simone Magill (Northern Ireland Women) header from very close range is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Rachel Furness with a cross.

  5. Attempt blocked. Lauren Wade (Northern Ireland Women) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Louise McDaniel with a headed pass.

  6. Attempt blocked. Simone Magill (Northern Ireland Women) header from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Demi Vance with a cross.

  7. Lauren Wade (Northern Ireland Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  8. Foul by Teodora Gjorgjevska (North Macedonia Women).

  9. Goal! Northern Ireland Women 8, North Macedonia Women 0. Rachel Furness (Northern Ireland Women) header from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lauren Wade with a cross.

  10. Substitution, North Macedonia Women. Teodora Gjorgjevska replaces Hava Mustafa.

  11. Attempt missed. Simone Magill (Northern Ireland Women) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Kerry Beattie.

  12. Substitution, Northern Ireland Women. Caitlin McGuinness replaces Rebecca Holloway.

  13. Attempt blocked. Rachel Furness (Northern Ireland Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  14. Attempt blocked. Rachel Furness (Northern Ireland Women) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Demi Vance with a cross.

  15. Corner, Northern Ireland Women. Conceded by Sara Husein.

  16. Substitution, North Macedonia Women. Sara Husein replaces Afrodita Saliihi.

  17. Offside, North Macedonia Women. Afrodita Saliihi tries a through ball, but Hava Mustafa is caught offside.

  18. Attempt missed. Ilza Maksuti (North Macedonia Women) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the right. Assisted by Hava Mustafa.

  19. Goal! Northern Ireland Women 7, North Macedonia Women 0. Simone Magill (Northern Ireland Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Demi Vance.

  20. Attempt saved. Kerry Beattie (Northern Ireland Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.

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