Riko Ueki

Six Hammers go unbeaten in international action

West Ham United women’s team were represented by no fewer than six players in senior international action on Friday and Saturday.

There was action in Europe and Asia for the half-dozen Hammers, none of whom finished on the losing side for their respective countries.

Amber Tysiak and Belgium look all but certain to retain their place in UEFA Nations League A after scoring a 5-1 first-leg win in Hungary in their promotion/relegation play-off.

The West Ham defender started and played the full 90 minutes as the Red Flames recovered from the shock of conceding a goal within seven minutes to secure a convincing victory at the Pancho Arena in Felcsút.

Sari Kees and Tessa Wullaert both scored a goal in each half, while Justine Vanhaevermaet also found the net as Belgium, who finished third in League A Group 1 behind the Netherlands and England to drop into the play-off.

The second leg will be played at the Den Dreef Stadion in Leuven on Tuesday 27 February.

Elsewhere, Jessie Stapleton and Jess Ziu both played for 69 minutes as Republic of Ireland earned a creditable 0-0 draw with Italy in a friendly played in Florence.

Stapleton made her first senior start and was outstanding in midfield, while Ziu was returning to international duty for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury in late 2022.

There was a big West Ham feel about the game, as former Hammers Izzy Atkinson and Ruesha Littlejohn – now with Crystal Palace and London City Lionesses respectively – started and was replaced by another ex-Hammer Leanne Kiernan, who saw a late goal ruled out for offside.

Ireland will play again on Tuesday evening, when Wales are the visitors to Tallaght Stadium in Dublin for a friendly.

Katrina Gorry

Mackenzie Arnold and Katrina Gorry (pictured) were both starters for Australia as the Matildas produced a thoroughly dominant display to defeat Uzbekistan 3-0 in an Asian Olympic Qualifying Play-Off first leg played at the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent.

Goalkeeper Arnold had precious little to do as Australia conceded just one goal attempt to their hosts, while creating 27 of their own.

After 72 minutes of frustration, three of those 27 chances were converted in the space of 14 minutes by Michelle Heyman, Mary Fowler and Caitlin Foord.

The second leg, which should be a formality and complete Australia’s qualification for this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, will take place at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on Wednesday 28 February.

Japan will hope to join them in France, but face a much more difficult task after drawing their first leg 0-0 with North Korea.

Risa Shimizu and Riko Ueki started for Japan at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but they were unable to inspire their team to victory. Fellow Hammer Honoka Hayashi was an unused substitute.

Instead, North Korea edged the first leg, having nine goal attempts to Japan’s four, but neither side was able to find a goal.

Nadeshiko will hope for better when they host the second leg at the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo on Wednesday.


Manchester United