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.
“It’s been a whirlwind, but it’s been a really positive whirlwind.”
This was how Gemma Grainger described the three weeks since she was revealed as the new Welsh Women’s National Team Manager. It is hardly an understatement as the new coach attempts to hit the ground running, getting used to new surroundings, building relationships with a new set of players and even learning a new national anthem.
It has been a difficult end to the tournament. To be honest, we can’t even really process today’s game as the USA one still feels like a punch in the gut. This sport has an amazing ability to make you both love and hate it at the same time. We guess that is why it’s addictive, riding those extreme waves of emotion.
There is lot of talk about this being the biggest and best World Cup ever and this has been demonstrated not only by the performances on the pitch but also the media coverage and record TV viewing figures. But it’s doing so much more than that and it’s something we have noticed on a personal level.