524 days is how long England U19s coach, Lydia Bedford, has calculated since her group of young footballers had an international fixture. It is a large amount of time by any stretch, but particularly so in the cycle of youth football that prepares the next generation for their senior careers.
Quarter-final qualification for Team GB was already confirmed but as they took to the field in Kashima, Hege Riise’s side were looking to keep up momentum as they signed off from the group stages. Team GB have been quietly going about their business in Japan, two wins from two and yet to concede a goal. But their opponents on the day, Canada, have proved somewhat of a nemesis of late for England, with both after top spot in Group E.
Into the unknown we went – a delayed Olympics during a pandemic; an empty Sapporo Dome; a Team GB team the world had yet to see play. The build-up has been a long one. Decisions have been analysed to death and media days have been plenty but now was the time for the talking to stop and the action to start; for Team GB to set out their stall and try and put some of the less positive whispers to bed.
We are less than 24 hours away from the start of the Olympics. After what has seemed like the longest build up in the world (in fact, it has literally been the longest), Team GB and Chile will take to the field at the Sapporo Dome to officially kick off Tokyo 2020.
“I’m really excited. I grew up watching the Olympics; I still watch the Olympics…all the different sports are going on and it’s just such an exciting time. It’s exciting to be a part of this Team GB history and it’s one that I’m really, really proud of and one that I know comes with a lot of responsibility.”
Many an athlete will tell you that the Olympics is the ultimate competition to be involved in. To be an Olympian carries the hopes of your nation. It is an opportunity for stars from a variety of different sports to shine on a global stage, enjoy the limelight and represent their country.
The magic of the FA Cup returned for Leicester City as they capped off their superb season with a stunning comeback against Manchester United to progress to the quarterfinals of the competition.
At 8pm tonight, Chelsea will step out at the Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg on the brink of something very special. Barcelona are their opponents in a Champions League final like no other to end the most unique of seasons.
It’s a job done and another real credit to the whole squad for getting another win for us.
Emma Hayes, Chelsea
Chelsea moved a step closer to sealing back-to-back Barclays FAWSL titles with a solid, if unremarkable, 2-0 victory over a resilient Tottenham.
A lot has been written about Emma Hayes and her Chelsea team over the last 48 hours. And yet, at the same time, it doesn’t feel like enough.