HomeFootball NewsPreviewing The Lionesses’ World Cup 2023 campaign

Previewing The Lionesses’ World Cup 2023 campaign

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In the summer of 2022 the England Women’s team were embarking on a European Championship campaign on home turf. By the end of July, captain Leah Williamson was lifting the Euros trophy at Wembley in front of an 87,192 crowd.

Now in 2023, the squad travels Down Under to Australia and New Zealand to attempt to win England Women’s first-ever World Cup.

In recent World Cups, the Lionesses have suffered nothing but heartbreak. In the Canada 2015 World Cup, England made it all the way to the semi-final to take on Japan. But an unfortunate own goal by Laura Bassett in the 92nd minute of the game saw Japan win 2-1.

The same devastation was experienced again in the 2019 World Cup in France, in another semi-final defeat, but this time to the USA. It was a 2-1 loss yet again but in the 67th minute England had a goal disallowed by VAR for offside, and a penalty was missed by Steph Haughton in the 84th minute, meaning it was no final for England again.

However England come into this World Cup off the back of winning their first international tournament. Confidence will still be sky-high, even if some key players are out through injury.

Arsenal and England skipper Williamson ruptured her ACL in April which took her World Cup dream away. Another Arsenal star Beth Mead will also be missing the World Cup, again due to an ACL injury picked up last November.

Chelsea attacker Fran Kirby – who won the League and FA Cup double last season – is also out injured with a knee problem. These are three key injuries given what a key role that trio of players had in the Euro-winning side last year.

Nonetheless, even with these injury blows, there are players in the England squad who will feel capable of maintaining the high standards that have been set by their compatriots.

Manchester United’s Ella Toone and Arsenal’s Alessia Russo are an attacking pair who may well start for England in the World Cup.

Toone, from attacking midfield, contributed three goals and eight assists in the Women’s Super League last season. Russo, meanwhile, bagged 10 goals in 20 WSL appearances. Even though the injuries are not helpful, England have the depth in their squad to cover them with quality.

A crucial character in England’s recent success, with the Euros win and the Women’s Finalissima victory against Brazil, is Dutch-born manager Sarina Wiegman. After previously leading the Dutch Women’s side to Euros victory in 2017 – and to become World Cup runners-up in 2019 – Wiegman took charge of England in August 2020.

Since then she has managed 32 games, winning 25 of them, and only suffering one loss, against Australia in a friendly in April this year.

After taking England to Euros glory last year, her record suggests she has the team playing to a level where they can seriously compete for the World Cup in 2023. It is certainly a great test of Wiegman’s managerial skills and it will be intriguing to see how her team perform on the biggest stage.

 

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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