England return home this week just over a month after the highs and lows of the World Cup. Such is the nature of football that no sooner have you completed one tournament then new challenges await. This time, it’s in the form of the Nations League with a derby against Scotland on Friday providing ample opportunity to brush away the cobwebs and the pain of that Final in Sydney.
A busy international period awaits for the Home Nations and Republic of Ireland. The senior teams all get their Nations League campaigns underway. Meanwhile, there are a series of friendlies taking place across the youth levels.
The new international season is underway. This September break sees the inaugural Nations League, CONCACAF Olympic Qualification and qualifying for WAFCON + the CONCACAF W Gold Cup plus the Asian Games amongst others. There are also a series of friendlies across the age levels.
The start of the 2023/24 Barclays Championship is upon us! With plenty of change happening over the summer, it promises to be a league that is more dramatic and unpredictable than ever, which perhaps makes these potential predictions somewhat questionable.
The stakes have never been higher. 12 clubs will be vying for the title and coveted promotion spot while, for the first time, the bottom two will be relegated. Will Birmingham build on their narrow miss last season? What will London City look like this campaign? How will a reinvigorated Sheffield United do? Will Watford be able to adjust and stay up?
Brisbane was the stage for an edgy night as England narrowly avoided elimination against Nigeria. It took a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out for the Lionesses, reduced to ten after Lauren James saw red, to eventually see off a spirited Nigeria and reach the World Cup quarter-finals.
Expect the unpredictable seems to be the new mantra for Sarina Wiegman’s side. After a vivacious performance in front of a partisan Adelaide crowd, the Lionesses progressed to the Round of 16 in style with a 6-1 victory over China. A brace from Lauren James and goals from Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly completed the rout. The Chinese pulled a goal back through a controversially awarded penalty that Wang Shuang duly converted.
A 52nd minute penalty was enough to see Australia edge past the Republic of Ireland in a competitive World Cup opener. Steph Catley converted to the delight of the 75,000 watching fans as the Matildas achieved a valuable opening day win.
With just over 24 hours to go before the start of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the feeling emanating from both the Australia and the Republic of Ireland camps was excitement.
“I just really want to win. We want to be the best; I want to be the best. That is what motivates me,” England manager Sarina Wiegman says as she sits down to chat to the traveling media on the Sunshine Coast. “What gives me energy is working with a team. We have so many talented players and my job is to get clarity on how we play together… And then it’s to get players connected, because that’s why team sports are so nice. If you get connected, you understand each other really well… that gives me energy.”