Following on from the men’s two Semi-Final’s in the last 12 months and their own World Cup and European success the England Women are once again into the last 4. This time it’s a little different, at the start of the completion my minimum expectation was for the Lionesses to reach this stage. That’s how good I think they are, they should not over celebrate and rest on their laurels. They’re ranked 3rd in the World for a reason, the ranking suggests they should be at this stage and anything less would have been disappointing.
This is not putting down there performances, the way they have dispatched Norway and Cameroon both 3-0 in the knockout rounds has been very impressive and comfortable, something we don’t associate with England football teams. Against Norway, Jill Scott & Lucy Bronze both showed their class by both putting in outstanding performances. Scott got her first goal of the tournament in only the second minute of the game, which got England off to the perfect start and set the tone for the remainder of the game. Scott is now England’s (men and women) all-time record World Cup appearance holder overtaking Peter Shilton. Shilton left Scott a message on Twitter to congratulate her which left Jill very emotional. Lucy Bronze showed why Phil Neville rates her as the best player in the world by making several long-bursting runs from her right back position. She provided the assist for Scott’s opener and repeated her feat of scoring a screamer from the edge of area against Norway in a World Cup Quarter Final by firing home to make it 3-0. Ellen White continued her scoring run with the second and go level at the top of the race for the golden boot. This is a great rise for Ellen having played second fiddle to Jodie Taylor, Who won the boot 2 years ago at the Euro’s.
England will play USA in the Semi Final after a closely fought contest against France. The USWNT could punish England if they don’t cut out some sloppiness at the back and poor passes. Steph Houghton in particular has had to put in some fantastic challenges to rescue her side due to errors from others but that’s why she is an outstanding defender and captain.
There are also players which can improve in the Attack, Toni Duggan for example is still suffering from not being fully fit and there is more to come from Fran Kirby. Neither have found the net yet which is quite staggering when you consider how talented they are and how free scoring England have been. If England are to lift the trophy I feel one or both of these two will have a big part to play.
England have options to change the starting line-up and one I would consider is in midfield, Keira Walsh is young and got caught out of position from her defensive midfield role on occasions against Norway and Jade Moore is much more experienced and steady alternative. The left back position is an interesting one for me because I am a massive fan of Alex Greenwood with her attacking delivery however Demi Stokes is stronger defensively and I think Neville will opt for her.
With the recent success of England’s Lionesses in the SheBelieves Cup, the future of Women’s football looks bright. On International Women’s Day (8th March 2019) we reflect on how the game has grown and the future of the game on a global scale.
The women’s game has been kicking around for longer than most know, with the first game being played in 1895 before the commencement of the FA ban; preventing women from playing on any football league grounds in 1921. This didn’t stop the popularity increasing, and before long the Women’s Football Association (WFA) of 1969 was formed with 44 newly organised clubs. The prevalence of the game has only increased, with the recent restructuring of the Women’s Soccer League.
The recent changes saw 11 teams including the likes of Manchester City Women, Chelsea Women and Yeovil Town Ladies FC become professional with clear academy pathways and set contracted hours for all players – something that became compulsory to obtain an FA License. Katie Brazier, head of the FA’s women’s leagues and competitions expressed how the “changes will continue the journey to transform key elements of the women’s game” and will “provide an elite performance environment that will produce more and better players, increase the interest and excitement via a more competitive league and attract a greater number of fans” – a crucial component of professional football needed to elevate the women’s game.
Phil Neville, head coach of the England Women’s Team has recently spoken out following the Lionesses 3-0 success over Japan in the SheBelieves Cup. He believes “the future for English women’s football is absolutely amazing” owing to the emphasis on youth pathways and success at recent competitions (2019 SheBelieves Cup; U20s finishing 3rd in the 2018 World Cup). Alongside the new professionalism in the Women’s leagues, Neville now considers there are “8-10 world-class players in the women’s senior team”. With the upcoming World Cup this summer and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics looming, is there any stopping the Lionesses in their bid to become the best team in the world?
Do you think the Lionesses can win the 2019 Women’s World Cup?
The invitational women’s football tournament starts this Wednesday, and will see the English National team pitted against the world’s best.
Phil Neville’s England side travel to the US this February for the 4th edition of the annual cup. This year’s tournament sees England, United States, Japan and Brazil go head-to-head in a round-robin format where points are awarded for the teams in a group stage.
The tournament is a great chance for fans to see some of the world’s best teams face off before the 2019 World Cup in France this summer. All 4 competitors of the tournament are currently placed in the top 10 FIFA rankings, with the US currently leading affairs as the best ranked team in the world.
England will be hoping to win their first SheBelieves title this February, but will face fierce competition from World Cup winners US as they attempt to win the title for a 3rd time.
Japan and Brazil are competing in the cup for the first time, replacing France and Germany who had competed in all of the previous SheBelieves competitions. Japan enter the tournament with the best run of form, having won their past 5 games, and the Asian side will be a primary point of interest for Phil Neville and co. as England are set to face Japan in group D of the World Cup this summer.
Phil Neville’s first game in charge of the team came in last year’s competition, where he oversaw England’s 4-1 triumph over France. But the Lionesses will want to improve upon last years efforts when they kick off the tournament this Wednesday and bring home a trophy and a confidence boost before the World Cup.
England’s first match takes place tomorrow night in Pennsylvania as they take on newcomers, Brazil. This saturday they take on holders, United States before capping off the competition against Japan on the 5th March.
Can the Lionesses impress in America and win the SheBelieves Cup?