Northern Ireland thrash North Macedonia again in Women’s World Cup qualifiers

Kirsty McGuinness scored a hat-trick and Rachel Furness earned a record.
Northern Ireland thrash North Macedonia again in Women’s World Cup qualifiers

By PA Sport Staff

Kirsty McGuinness hit a hat-trick as Northern Ireland boosted their hopes of qualification for the 2023 Women’s World Cup with a crushing 9-0 win over North Macedonia.

Just four days after thumping their opponents 11-0 in Skopje, Kenny Shiels’ side once again ran riot in another one-sided affair.

Rebecca Holloway and Rachel Furness each claimed braces at Seaview in Belfast, while Simone Magill – who scored four on Thursday – was also on target before Kerry Beattie’s maiden international goal rounded off the scoring.

Kerry Beattie celebrates her first international goal
Kerry Beattie celebrates her first international goal. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Furness’ double moved her on to 38 international goals, two ahead of David Healy as her country’s outright record scorer.

The thumping victory lifts Northern Ireland into the play-off spot in Group D, two points below leaders England, albeit having played a game more.

Third-placed Austria, who also have a game in hand, can regain second spot when they travel to Luxembourg on Tuesday.

The rampant hosts were four goals up at the break after McGuinness scored either side of Holloway’s strike and a landmark finish from Furness.

McGuinness completed her treble just after the hour mark and, with goal difference a possible deciding factor in the race to reach the finals in Australia and New Zealand, Holloway soon added another before Magill made it 7-0 with 16 minutes to play with a fine individual effort.

Liverpool player Furness added an eighth late on, with Beattie claiming a milestone strike in her career in added time.

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