With just 50 days until the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer, Sarina Wiegman has named her 23-player England squad ahead of the trip to Australia. Bethany England returns to the fold, while six players – Esme Morgan, Niamh Charles, Katie Zelem, Laura Coombs, Lauren James and Katie Robinson – will be part of a major tournament for the first time.
As the final whistle reverberated around the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn, England’s U17s dropped to their knees, their European hopes over for another season. Heartbreak. Despair. Fatigue. All juxtaposed with the sight of the Spanish, dancing in a circle and saluting their fans in jubilation.
But as the hurt fades, there will be a strong sense of pride that remains. It was a semi-final that ended 3-1 but neither the score nor the stats tell the whole story – one where a team, outplayed in the first half, fought back only to be denied by a cruelly deflected goal in the final minutes.
Ahead of the FAWNL Play-Off Final, we sat down with Nottingham Forest manager, Andy Cook, to learn more about this season and his thoughts on the game ahead.
“It’s sort of like a perfect circle,” reflects Watford captain Helen Ward as she prepares to play the final game of an impressive career. “I started at Watford winning trophies as a kid and won a few as a senior player the first time around as well. But to potentially finish it on the biggest high, it’s pretty cool.”
England’s U17s progressed to the semi-finals of the European Championships thanks to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Sweden. In front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Tartu Tamme Staadion, Arsenal’s Michelle Agyemang continued her strong scoring form with a brace. Leicester’s Ava Baker added a third to send Mo Marley’s side through to the knockouts with one game to spare.
“That’s why we’re champions” echoed around Kingsmeadow on the final whistle as Chelsea once again showed their mettle to overcome a potential banana skin on Wednesday night. In a must-win encounter, the Blues came from behind against Liverpool to take all three points. A 2-1 victory in dramatic fashion ensured their title chase remained on track and in their control.
The second international break of the year is here! We have the Finalissima, Asia Olympic Qualifying, U19 Euro 2023 Qualification and a whole host of friendlies to get through over the next week. The Home Nations and Republic of Ireland are all involved across the age groups so there is plenty to keep an eye on in the next 10 days.
Legacy – it is a word that is bandied around a lot in sport. A buzzword, one used with increasing frequency around the hosting of major tournaments. Its definition is sometimes uncertain and how you measure it unclear.
However, with the government’s landmark announcement this morning that every girl in England will be given equal access to football and school sport, that meaning is finally clear. This is really what legacy looks like!
The conclusion of the 12th edition of the Continental Cup promises to be an occasion bigger than ever before. A London derby, an intense rivalry, and a packed out Selhurst Park will see records broken and the season’s first silverware handed out.
Anticipation is high across the Irish Sea ahead of the start of the League of Ireland’s Women’s Premier Division on Saturday. Increased professionalisation, coverage and excitement in the build up to the 2023 World Cup has made this season one not to be missed.