UEFA Euro 2017 Qualifier - England - Serbia Preview: Can the Lionesses make home advantage count?

Will England look the pressure on Belgium? Or will the visitors dampen their qualification hopes?

UEFA Euro 2017 Qualifier - England - Serbia Preview: Can the Lionesses make home advantage count?
Jill Scott celebrates after scoring a late equaliser against Belgium. Credit : mcfc.co.uk

England come into this match with three wins and a draw in their four games so far. They began their UEFA Women's Euro 2017 qualifying journey with two wins against lowly Estonia. The Lionesses' last two performances haven't been up to scratch, with the hosts managing a draw against Belgium. The last game against Bosnia & Herzegovina looked to be heading to a bore draw, but Chelsea's Karen Carney had other ideas; scoring four minutes from time to give England a crucial win.

Serbia also began in similar fashion, brushing aside Estonia before a heartbreaking late loss to Bosnia at home looked to have put a dent in their qualifying aspirations. They however bounced back in impressive fashion with a draw away to Belgium.

Ins and outs

England boss Mark Sampson has made five changes to the squad that faced, Belgium and Bosnia in their previous Euro qualifiers. Arsenal's Jodie Taylor, Birmingham midfielder Jade Moore and recently-named PFA Women's Player of The Year Isobel Christiansen all returned after injury.

Uncapped forward duo Nikita Parris and Rachel Daly have also been called up. Parris has been a mainstay on the right wing for Manchester City, and her form this season has been outstanding, while Daly, an NWSL College Draft sixth pick for Houston Dash, became the first Englishwoman ever to be selected from the USA college system.

Will Parris and Carney feature in the same team tonight? | Image credit: Alex Broadway - The FA
Will Parris and Carney feature in the same team tonight? | Image credit: Alex Broadway - The FA

This means there is no place for Toni Duggan and Chelsea trio Eniola Aluko, Katie Chapman and Claire Rafferty. Gilly Flaherty and Fran Kirby have withdrawn themselves due to leg injuries, while Sampson has decided not to replace them.

Serbia, who played all four previous qualifiers in 2015, will be without the injured but influential Jovana Damnjanović, who has scored and assisted once in her four games; the goal being in a surprising draw against table toppers Belgium last November. They are ranked 41 places below England in the 45th place, but the hosts know Serbia have enough quality in their side to punish them.

This game takes place at Adam's Park in Wycombe and is the first of a Euro 2017 qualifying double header against Serbia, with the reverse fixture taking place on Tuesday 7th June in Stara Pazova.

England's players to watch

Jill Scott - The tough-tackling midfielder, who is the heart of the Manchester City team, has started every game for her club in the current FAWSL season and has played a huge part in their current table topping form. The 29 year old has been top scorer in the Lionesses' qualifying campaign, managing three goals, including a late equaliser against Belgium in the last match. Her other goals came in 1-0 and 8-0 wins, against Bosnia & Herzegovina and Estonia respectively,

Gemma Davision - The lightening quick winger can be a valuable asset to any team, with her pace and trickery on the wings enough to trouble the best of fullbacks. She will be gunning for an opportunity to exploit the flanks and stretch the Serbian defence. The ex-Arsenal winger has notched up two assists for her country so far in the tournament.