Photo: Twitter / @karenjcarney
Dare to dream: 9 Reasons why England can win the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015
I think I have done really well to stay quiet and calm but I am so proud of the England Lionesses for all they have achieved so far, I think it is time to share why I think they are going to be the World Cup winners!
As always with myself and football, it is difficult to separate heart from head and leading into this tournament, watching all the competing teams participate in preparations I was feeling confident about England’s chances although their name was never really mentioned as a possible contender. This in itself is an advantage, it is better to be underestimated as you can catch your opponents off guard.
After following the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015, my confidence is growing and I really am daring to dream… Here are my 9 reasons why England can be World Cup winners and why I think they are the best of the final four (USA, Germany, Japan, England).
1. Mark Sampson
Mark Sampson is a technical genius! Strong statement, I know… But when media were negative towards England’s opening match against France, I was impressed. I could completely see what Mark was trying to achieve and I think he came really close to succeeding… France are extremely talented and they are very well known for the number of chances they create, Mark Sampson’s tactics completely neutralised this, and it was only a long-range strike from Le Sommer that was able to make a breakthrough. Actually, in terms of route to the final, it did England a favour not winning the group.
Sampson generally knows his opponents, yet he keeps England unknown. Normally, in these tournaments during interviews, you hear a lot of clichés, not with Mark, he clearly has full knowledge on his opponents, this is not only impressive because he reads them so well, it shows huge dedication and hard work. On the flip side, no one can predict England’s starting line-up ahead of each match as he has built a squad that has given him so many options and before the game has even begun, he has already gained an advantage.
Mark has built a TEAM, a team that has fantastic morale, great technical ability and a passion to win.
2. The players
Quite an obvious reason but one that had previously held England back over the years. Finally, talented players that were unfairly ignored have been given a chance to shine! And shine is exactly what they are doing! Sampson has brought with him a strong squad, there is no weak link in the team and they all have a role to play. I can’t even list individual players as the team as a whole has been so strong.
As well as the introduction of new talent, the more established members of the England WNT are playing at an even higher standard, they are playing with creativity and freedom and the mixture of players truly compliment each other.
This, in my opinion, is so important. You could have a squad of talented players, but if they can not play as a team, you have nothing. Players that are all as dedicated as each other, all have the same desire and all will not stop fighting are crucial for a World Cup winning side.
3. They have already made history
England have already achieved so much at this tournament having won their first World Cup knockout game in the last 16, when they beat Norway and now following last night’s result, this is the first time since 1990 a a senior England side, men’s or women’s, has made it to a World Cup semi-final. England are clearly buzzing, and what shines is how much they are enjoying their experience. They do not seem under pressure and they play like they have nothing to lose… Reminds me of Japan in 2011 and we all know the outcome for Nadeshiko in that tournament!
4. Support from home
It’s a shame how hard women’s footballers have to work in order to get noticed, however, when they do perform well the support and coverage is outstanding! This includes messages from high profile footballers, media representatives, actors and actresses and more! This can only encourage the Lionesses even more as the further they progress the more benefits they will reap.
5. They are the best of the Last 4
Ok, so I know this will be argued, but I did warn you that my heart can rule my head so hear me out as to why I think England are the better team compared to USA, Germany and Japan.
England’s overall performance at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is more effective and consistent. No matter what the starting line-up, you can clearly see they are following Mark Sampson’s tactics and when things do not look like they are going their way, they quickly react, adapt and they never give up. They are the more convincing team that is left in the competition.
In comparison, and with no disrespect – as a follower of the global women’s football scene I have huge admiration for all those involved and I recognise the differences with development, etc this is just my opinion based on what I have seen recently.
The USWNT are missing something, which I can not quite put my finger on. Granted they are getting results, which is all you really need, but they are not convincing at all and whereas previously I would feel completely threatened with the thought of facing them, given the passed months, they now seem beatable and their performances (excluding a few individuals) are less convincing. Germany are such a strong, resilient side, but as we saw against France, sometimes they don’t perform to their potential, this is extremely vulnerable at knockout stage and you have to admit that Germany were lucky to advance to the semis. Japan, I feel have not really been tested. Australia was the first team that they have played who were not at their debut World Cup. There match against Australia was positive, although you could see Australia were struggling with fitness and these two teams know each other very well. Also, England beat Japan during Germany 2011, and I think England have improved a lot since then and feel confident they can pull out a result against the current World Champions.
6. Focus, Preparation and Fitness
Whatever the training conditions at St Georges Park and wherever else England prepared for the Women’s World Cup, the results are phenomenal. Huge respect to all those involved in the fitness, training ahead of this tournament as despite the intense (understatement) conditions that followers of the game can clearly see are effecting team’s performances, England have not yet looked tired, lethargic or defeated and this is to their credit, they remain 100% focused and this will serve them very well on their quest to win the title.
7. Pride, determination – They REALLY want this!
You could say this about every team, but you really, really have to want to win, to have the passion, the energy and the fight to succeed and out of all the performances I have seen so far – England want this the most. And this is purely showcased on the pitch… Not just saying they believe they can win. I think action speaks louder than words and in that case England want this more…
At the same time as wanting and believing they can win, England are not taking for granted the amount of work they need to do in order to succeed, very important and essential to be World Cup winners.
The other thing I believe is that the heartache that England and Team GB suffered previously has helped fuel this current squad, there is nothing like disappointment to make you learn from mistakes and drive you forward with an increased desire to win.
— WomensSoccerUnited (@WSUasa) June 28, 2015
8. They convert their chances
So important in tournament football… Convert the chances you create or you will regret. This is fundamental to England’s success at this tournament so far, did you know that Lucy Bronze’s wonder strike against Norway was her first attempt on goal! 1 attempt = 1 goal. Compare that to Norway’s domination in the first half and you can see that the way England are playing is far more effective. They are patient, they work together and they finish what they create!
This again was showcased during last night’s quarter-final against Canada, the Canadians started very strongly but then Jodie Taylor reacted to a mistake and had a lot of individual work to do before putting the ball in the back of the net, it was clinical and it stunned the hosts… And the crowd!
This is the one thing that I think is stopping France becoming the greatest women’s football team, the French are an absolute joy to watch, but you can guarantee that they will create a large number of goal scoring opportunities and sometimes only convert 1 or 2, in doing so they are always keeping their opponents in the game and frustrating themselves.
9. They are the Lionesses
The final reason is a bit of a play on England’s nickname the Lionesses but I feel it actually reflects their core values so therefore is a valid reason that they will lift the World Cup.
Lionesses are a pride, they work together, they defend together, they ‘attack’ together, they conserve their energy, and a lions roar is the loudest!
Lions are symbols of strength and courage and that ultimately is my reason that I believe England will be FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 champions!
Former Brighton and Hove Albion and Sussex footballer. Working with Women’s Soccer United to increase awareness and promote the female game to a global audience.