Advantage England women in World Cup play-off

England have one foot in next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup after beating Switzerland 2-0 in the play-off first leg in Shrewsbury.

Goals from Fara Williams and Kelly Smith handed England’s women a huge advantage heading into Thursday’s second leg clash in Wohlen, and barring a major upset the cushion England now have should be enough to see them through to next season’s World Cup in Germany.

Kelly Smith became England’s all-time leading goalscorer with a goal in first half stoppage-time after Fara Williams had opened the scoring in the 44th minute.

Williams was on hand to turn in a rebound after Smith’s shot was saved by Swiss keeper Mariss Brunner, before Smith achieved her milestone moment, receiving a slide rule pass from Williams to slot home from just inside the area.

England manager Hope Powell was pleased with the result.

"I'm really pleased; two goals [scored] and none conceded," she said.

"[Switzerland] were always going to try and score away from home and credit to them, I thought they did very well. They are a fast progressing team with a lot of ability. We had to work hard to get the result."

Smith’s goal was her 41st in international football, taking her above previous all-time top scorer Karen Walker, and Powell also offered words of praise to England’s new leading goalscorer.

"It's great for her," Powell said of the achievement. "She's got a great scoring record and I'm sure she's very pleased.”

England now travel to Switzerland hoping to protect their two goal lead and secure their place at next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

By Jonathan Fadugba

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