England Women in the 2019 World Cup and What it Means for English Football
Mon 01 July 2019
We Make Footballers News
On Friday June 7th, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France began. This is the 8th time this tournament has taken place, once every 4 years since the inaugural tournament in 1991. In 2015, the Lionesses lost to runner ups Japan 2-1 in the semifinals, but won the 3rd place game against Germany, which is their best result in this tournament so far.
Group Stage of the Tournament
England vs Scotland
The Lionesses began their group stage matches on June 9th, with a contest against Scotland.
After VAR review rewarded a handball penalty off of a cross inside the box, England took the lead in the 14th minute after Manchester City’s Nikita Parris confidently fired the ball past the keeper from the spot.
The first half was further dominated by the Lionesses, and ended on a high note after Ellen White of Birmingham City curled a left footed shot into the back of the net in the 40th minute to make it 2-0.
The second half was less dominating, and had moments that were tense for England. After a defensive error, Scotland’s Claire Emslie scored in the 79th minute, but the Lionesses held on to win their opener 2-1 and claim 3 important points.
England vs Argentina
The next matchup for England was June 14th, against Argentina. Parris had another first half penalty, but this time it was saved by the Argentinian keeper Correa. The first half ended nil-nil, and it was not until over an hour of play had gone by that the deadlock was finally broken. Jodie Taylor received a great cross from Beth Mead in the 62nd minute and scored the sole goal of the contest and the winner for the Lionesses, putting them at 6 points and ensuring them a spot in the round of 16.
England vs Japan
On June 19th, the Lionesses played their third and final group stage game, this time facing off against Japan. Ellen White found the back of the net twice, in the 14th minute after getting herself on the end of a superb through pass and chipping the keeper, and again in the 84th minute to put the match away.
England won 2-0. This victory must have felt extra sweet, as Japan narrowly knocked England out in the 2015 semifinals. The Lionesses ended the 2019 World Cup group stage with 9 points and a +4 goal difference at the top of their group.
Final Round of 16
England vs Cameroon
England faced off against Cameroon in the round of 16 on the 23rd of June. The controversy began less than a quarter of an hour into the match, when the Cameroonian keeper was judged to have picked up a back pass from her defender, giving the Lionesses an indirect free kick from the edge of the 6-yard box. Although Cameroon players filled the goal, Steph Houghton was able to find a gap on the bottom right side and put England up 1-0 in the 14th minute.
Four minutes into first half stoppage time, the Lionesses benefited from the use of VAR. Although the flag went up after Ellen White got on the end of a through pass and snuck it by the keeper, VAR awarded the goal despite there being a different offside player who did not affect the play, much to the anguish of the Cameroonian players and fans.
The heartbreak for the side would not end there. Down 2-0 with their backs against the wall, Cameroon launched an attack early in the second half. Ajara Nchout appeared to have brought back hope for Cameroon, but her goal was disallowed after VAR revealed the player who assisted her was offside by just a few inches.
Alex Greenwood ended the game for good in the 58th minute, after scoring a first time attempt off of a corner kick to make the score 3-0 and the lead insurmountable. The Lionesses will face Norway in the Quarterfinals on June 27th.
England vs Norway
Lucy Bronze's brilliant second-half strike capped a fine night that saw the Lionesses reach the last four at there last three major tournaments.
Two slick team moves had given England a deserved 2-0 half-time lead, as Jill Scott and Ellen White found the net from close range either before the interval.
Nikita Parris saw a late penalty, awarded for a foul on England captain Steph Houghton, well saved by Ingrid Hjelmseth.
But that did not dampen England's jubilant mood at full-time, as they celebrated with sheer joy after moving within one win of their first major final.
Thoughts After Five Matches
With five wins in five matches, it is hard to argue that this tournament has been anything but ideal for the Lionesses. Even if you feel that VAR has benefitted them more than some other teams, it is hard to argue they are undeserving of the quarterfinals.
England Women have only allowed one goal in five matches, and have scored 11. They appear to be in top form, and it would not be too surprising if they can go even further than they did in the 2015 World Cup.
Ellen White is vying for golden boot, her 4 goals place her just one back of Alex Morgan and Sam Kerr, and unlike those two, she didn’t score all or nearly all of them in one match.
The English defence, other than a bad mistake against Scotland, has been positive. The team have placed themselves in an excellent position for success.
A new Era for English football
It is clear to just about everyone that English football is back to being a force to be reckoned with, on both the men’s and women’s side.
Last year, the men made their first World Cup semifinal appearance since 1990, a result stemming from significant improvements in our grassroots infrastructure, academy systems and work from the FA,
England Women have continued on where they left off four years ago, improving and improving . The success that is being seen is inspiring to young footballers across England, both girls and boys alike, who train harder than ever, with the knowledge that if they are to make their dreams of playing for their nation a reality, they will be able to compete at the highest level and challenge for the title of world champions.