Insightful News


We are an addiction for those who love reading.


Insightful News

England’s Euros adventure can deliver glory abroad and lasting impact at home | Football


The 2015 Women’s World Cup felt like a turning point. Women’s football was suddenly in the spotlight. As England battled back from defeat by France in their first group game to reach the semi-finals, the country rallied behind them. Millions tuned in to watch.

Not saddled with the weight of expectation, Mark Sampson’s side beat the hosts, Canada, and European champions, Germany, on their way to a historic third-place finish. Only an agonising Laura Bassett own-goal in the second minute of extra-time against Japan ended the Lionesses’ chance of a place in the final. But they had exceeded all expectations, challenged perceptions and changed attitudes.

The wheels were already in motion in this respect. Team GB women’s team at the London 2012 Olympics feasted on a wave of support galvanised by the positivity surrounding the whole event. After the team had topped their group without conceding, 28,828 fans travelled to the City of Coventry stadium to watch a 2-0 quarter-final defeat by Canada.

And yet in between the big summer tournaments, while progress has undoubtedly been made domestically, support has crept up at a steady but slow pace. The recently retired Arsenal and England striker Kelly Smith, whom many would describe as the best player England have produced, has said awareness of the domestic leagues is so low she would get asked why she plays only one game a year, the flagship FA Cup final – which is the one women’s game to get top TV billing annually and this year drew a record crowd of more than 35,000 to Wembley.

As Women’s Sport Week unfolds, the 2017 Women’s European Championship is just under four weeks away. For the first time in a very long time, for the men’s or women’s team, England head into a major tournament as one of the favourites. Many of the players, and Sampson, have put the togetherness of the team, built through a collective appreciation of what it has taken for each individual to ‘make it’ in the game, at the core of their success.

Maintaining that harmony is one reason why the manager was keen to pick his squad early, despite missing the chance to cast his eyes over players in the Spring Series – a one-off mini-league created to bridge the gap between the summer season and new winter season format being adopted by the Women’s Super League. As a result the top English WSL 2016 goalscorers, Chelsea’s Eniola Aluko and Arsenal’s Danielle Carter, miss out on the tournament in the Netherlands, a bold but potentially risky decision.

England should find a group in which they are top seeds straightforward but longstanding national rivalries could well have a say in the outcome. The opening games of Group D pair the Lionesses with Scotland and Spain with bottom-ranked Portugal – who are making their Euro finals debut. In international tournaments England seem to grow and thrive as they progress.

It is not just England’s chances that make this tournament exciting. The competitiveness of women’s international football is growing year on year. Euro 2017 is no different. France, ranked third in the world, have not lost this year and beat USA, Germany and England to the She Believes Cup in March. Players from the Champions League finalists Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain dominate their team, and the country will host the 2019 World Cup.

Germany, who have dominated the women’s Euros since its inception, celebrate after winning the 2013 final in Sweden.



Germany, who have dominated the women’s Euros since its inception, celebrate after winning the 2013 final in Sweden. Photograph: John Berry/Getty Images

Germany have dominated the competition since its inception and have lifted the European Championship trophy on the previous six occasions. An improving Sweden were thwarted by them at the World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Norway, spearheaded by BBC’s player of the year and Champions League winner Ada Hegerberg, finished runners-up to Germany at Euro 2013. It is very much all to play for.

England are riding high after the men’s Under-20s won the World Cup. The Women’s Under-23s also beat Sweden, Norway and the US to the Nordic Cup. If the senior side have a strong tournament it would cap off a fine summer for English football.

More than that, it would surely increase the participation and support for women’s football as previous tournaments have – except that this time there is more of a structure in place to aid growth. Providing consistent coverage will complement that work and offer greater access to the sport.

The Football Association, after imposing a ban on women’s football in 1921 that lasted 50 years and overseeing decades of underfunding, has been attempting to atone for the wrongs it inflicted. In 2016 it drafted in the assistance of the personable and committed former UK Sport chairman, Baroness Sue Campbell, as head of women’s football to oversee a review. This year it announced it is aiming to double participation and support by 2020. Things are moving fast. Despite the seriousness there are many barriers to this ambitious task and how it will be achieved is not completely clear.

The sports journalist Roger Domeneghetti’s brilliant book From the Back Page to the Front Room charts the history of football and its relationship with the media. It shows a mutually beneficial relationship. Where coverage grows, so does football; where the sport grows, so does readership.

The hope is that this new weekly column, which will cover key events in the sport both domestically and internationally, will build on the relationship between the media and women’s football in Britain and provide a national platform for the many voices within women’s football.

Talking points

Juventus, the men’s Champions League runners-up, took to Twitter to announce they are the latest European powerhouse to launch a senior women’s team, set to compete in the Women’s Serie A as of next season. The champions, Fiorentina, have been the only club to have both men’s and women’s teams competing in Serie A after taking over Florence’s best unaffiliated women’s team, ACF Firenze, in 2015.

France has revealed the names of the nine cities that will host games at the 2019 World Cup: Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Paris, Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes.

The FA has announced that the new WSL season will kick off on Saturday 23 September. Everton will replace Notts County in WSL 1 after County were disbanded days before the Spring Series opener. The women’s FA Cup final will be held on 5 May 2018.

After a week off for international friendlies the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) got back under way in the US. Marta, the five-times world Player of the Year, bagged a brace and two assists as Orlando Pride beat Houston Dash 4-2 in the standout game of the weekend. The dominant forward set up her fellow Brazilian Camila for a stunning 40-yard strike and provided the assist for Alanna Kennedy to score her first Pride goal. Dash had lost their previous five games but welcomed back Carli Lloyd for her first start following her loan spell at Manchester City.

Barcelona put league disappointment to one side as they beat the La Liga Iberdrola champions, Atlético Madrid, 4-1 to lift the Copa de la Reina. The league’s top scorer Jenni Hermoso, who finished the season with 35 goals for Barça, scored twice before Sonia Bermúdez (32 league goals) pulled one back for the holders. Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmatí both scored later in the second half to put the game out of reach and give the Catalans their fifth Copa de la Reina.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *