Author: varun gandhi
The Euro 2022 semi-finals lineup is set, and one thing is certain: the trophy is on its way to a new home after holders the Netherlands were eliminated.
Today (July 26th), hosts England will play Sweden at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, with Germany and France meeting the next day at Milton Keynes’ Stadium MK.
“The four semi-finalists are probably the most impressive four teams in the tournament,” former England international Fara Williams said.
Here is what to look out for.
England v Sweden
England enters their semi-final against Sweden with a lot of confidence after showing a different side of their game against Spain in the quarter-finals.
The Lionesses overcame Austria and Northern Ireland in the group stage, as expected, then smashed a severely disappointing Norway 8-0.
But against Spain they were on the ropes, 1-0 down and six minutes from elimination, before Sarina Wiegman’s tactical and personnel changes led to Ella Toone levelling and Georgie Stanway scoring a stunning winner in extra time.
Their depth and bench alternatives have been crucial in their quest to win their first big championship.
By contrast, Sweden – the top-ranked European team (second only behind the USA in the Fifa world rankings) did not impress in their 1-0 quarter-final win over Belgium.
They are bidding for their first trophy since the 1984 Euros – when they beat England on penalties after the game finished level after two legs.
“Sweden need to find a second gear if they are going to compete with England because England look much stronger – they will be confident,” Reading and former England striker Natasha Dowie said after the Belgium game.
Former England forward Kelly Smith said: “England are looking at this thinking ‘we can take this Sweden side’.”
Germany v France
Germany has won eight of the last twelve Women’s European Championships, however they are not among the favourites in this competition.
The Netherlands won the Euros five years ago, making this the first time Germany has not been defending champion since 1997.
However, their efforts and results in England have demonstrated that they have a strong chance of reclaiming their crown.
Germany, the only team yet to allow a goal, defeated Denmark, Spain, Finland, and Austria by an aggregate score of 11-0 in the quarter-finals.
They will face third-ranked France, who have never won a major title but have now broken their quarter-final drought.
Les Bleues had exited the previous five major competitions (World Cup, Euros, and Olympics) in the quarterfinals.
However, they will play in the last four for the first time since London 2012 after defeating reigning champions the Netherlands in extra time.
They had 33 chances, like Sweden, but only scored one. They were energetic in the first half, less so in the second, and excellent in extra time.
“France have to learn from this,” former international Laura Georges said on BBC One. “Every game they’ve started really well, but slowdown in the second half.
“Against Germany, they’ll need that impressive start but will have to continue it into the second half. They need to be more consistent.”
Gareth Taylor’s long-awaited rebuilding of Manchester City Women has began with the signing of Venezuela international Deyna Castellanos from Atlético Madrid.
The 23-year-old striker is anticipated to be the first of several summer additions at the Etihad campus, joining Taylor’s side on July 1.
Castellanos walks through City’s currently revolving door with an amazing resume. A player who will wear the No. 10 shirt in Manchester scored 26 goals in 71 matches in just over two seasons in Spain, while she captains her country and has 12 goals in 25 games.
Taylor, who has said goodbye to several key City players this summer, notably England’s Lucy Bronze and her Bayern Munich-bound international teammate Georgia Stanway, is overjoyed to have acquired the striker.
“We’re thrilled to have Deyna on board,” he said. “She’s a player we’ve admired for a long time. She’s an incredibly exciting talent who has a real hunger and desire to be highly successful.”
Castellanos sounded similarly enthused. “Looking around all the facilities here is just amazing,” she said.
“I believe this club will help improve me as a player and I hope I can improve Manchester City too. The style of football the team play was very attractive to me and I feel as though I can fit in very well here, while also being challenged to develop and grow.”
Deyna Castellanos says she wants to help “accomplish something bigger” in the Champions League for Manchester City.
“I want to win all the tournaments we are competing for,” Castellanos, 23, told BBC Sport.
“For me, that is really important – to win trophies collectively and individually,” added Castellanos. “The Champions League is something that every player wants to play in.
“We will be working to do better in that tournament and try to accomplish something bigger.”
City have never won the Champions League but consistently competes for domestic trophies and lifted the League Cup last season, as well as reaching the FA Cup final.
Castellanos, who scored 23 goals in 58 games for Atletico, described herself as a “very technical and creative player”.
She said: “I like having the ball at my feet, trying to make my teammates better and to score goals. That is what I will try to do. I hope we [the fans and I] enjoy each other for a long time and I hope to celebrate titles and goals together.”
The Etihad campus will see a big changing of the guard in the coming weeks, with Scotland’s Caroline Weir, England’s Jill Scott, and retired England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley among those leaving Taylor’s group.
It is frequently stated that the hardest part is not getting to the top but remaining there, and Barcelona is a prime illustration of this.
The Blaugrana lost their continental title in Turin after falling 3-1 to Lyon in the Women’s Champions League final, a match by the French team!
It was the ninth victory for the French team, who reigned supreme in Europe two years ago.
Many expected before the game that it would be a symbolic passing of the torch in women’s European football, from a Lyon squad that dominated in the 2010s to a Barcelona club that had swept off practically all rivals in the previous two years, including Chelsea in last year’s final.
Despite arriving in Turin with a competitive record of 41 victories and one defeat in 2021-22, Barcelona simply couldn’t equal the French side in terms of attention, aggression, and tactical no us in front of 32,257 supporters at Juventus’ Allianz Arena.
Story of the match
Lyon came out on top, pushing their opponents off the ball and forcing them to run rather than play. Amandine Henry opened the scoring in the first half with a right-footed shot from outside the box that sailed into the top corner.
The French team attempted to end the game with a game of time-wasting and wanton fouls. Lyon’s intentions were unaffected by Ellie Carpenter’s injury, which forced her to leave the field on a stretcher, and they rallied to the point where they were able to expand their lead in the middle of the first half.
Ada Hegerberg, the Champions League’s all-time leading scorer, scored the goal.
Another defensive failure, this time by Irene Paredes, allowed Hegerberg to cross and locate Catarina Macario, who simply needed to push it over the line.
If there was any possibility of belief, it was in scoring before halftime, which Barcelona did. Alexia Putellas scored the first goal after Carolina Hansen crossed. It was a goal that propelled her to the tournament’s top scorer, despite she is uninterested in individual accolades unless they are backed by team achievement.
Putellas saw plenty of the ball in a final 15 minutes spent almost exclusively in the Lyon half, but some dogged defending and misses from Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic and Irene Paredes saw the French side over the line.
Barcelona ultimately dominated the statistics in terms of possession, chances on goal, and shots attempted, but numbers are nothing unless they are backed by accuracy!
Barcelona’s women’s team won the Primera Division in spectacular fashion on Sunday, defeating Real Madrid 5-0 to claim the title for the third season in a row.
With six games remaining, Barcelona has a 22-point lead at the top of the standings.
Barcelona won a historic treble last season, winning the league, the Champions League, and the Copa de la Reina.
They could go one better and complete the quadruple after already winning the Spanish Super Cup this season.
Barcelona is in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they will face Real Madrid again, this time over two legs, and the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey, where they will face Real Sociedad next week.
The home leg of the Champions League against Real Madrid will be placed at Camp Nou, which has a capacity of 99,000 people.
But coming back to this match, Alexia Putellas, the winner of the Ballon d’Or, scored twice, and Patri Guijarro and Jenni Hermoso also scored. Babett Peter also scored an own goal.
A throng of 6,000 people gathered at the Estadi Johan Cruyff to watch Barcelona’s ladies make it 24 victories in 24 league games this season. In those games, they have scored 136 goals while conceding only six.
Xavi full of praises
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said the women’s team paved the way for the men after winning the Primera Division for the third time in a row with a 5-0 win over Real Madrid on Sunday.
Xavi stated that the kind of football they play, as well as their persistent ambition for success after winning the Treble last season, serves as an example for the men’s squad, which is attempting to reclaim its place at the top of the game.
After watching his side beat Osasuna 4-0, Xavi took the opportunity to publicly applaud Jonatan Giraldez’s women’s team.
“For several years [the women’s team] have been showing us the way with how they play, how they compete and the hunger they have despite winning everything last year,” Xavi said.
“We have been watching them and it’s a wonder to see them play. They are leading the way in the same way as the Dream Team did in their day or as Pep [Guardiola’s] Barca side did later. They are an example for the men’s team.”
The Dream Team refers to the Barcelona team coached by Johan Cruyff in the early 1990s, which won four consecutive league titles as well as the club’s first European Cup.
Alexia Putellas’ comments
After Sunday’s title win, star woman Putellas said: “I don’t think we are conscious of what we are doing. But I think that’s a good thing.
“The first stage of the season has served to get us into a position to fight for everything.
“Now is when the trophies are decided and what matters working hard every day. We want to win the lot.”
Next Sunday it will be the turn of Xavi’s team to take on Real Madrid when Barca’s men visit the Bernabeu!
It is not often that women’s football grabs the attention of the global media but just a few days back it did, but for all the wrong reasons.
The New Zealand women’s team defender Meikayla Moore scored a hattrick of own goals within the first 30 min in a match against the United States women’s team.
Life played a cruel joke on Meikayla Moore as the hattrick of own goals she scored was a perfect hattrick – left foot, right foot, and a header!
After only five minutes into the match, Meikayla Moore turned a cross from US winger Sophia Smith past New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler.
Moore had scarcely recovered when lightning struck again just 82 seconds later, this time from the opposite wing when Margaret Purce headed a cross from right-back, Sofia Huerta, into Moore’s face and it deflected into the goal.
Moore’s completed her hattrick 30 minutes later when she slid another Purce cross past her long-suffering goalkeeper.
In a true sense, it really was a hattrick of misfortune!
This day has to be one of the darkest days in Meikayla Moore’s career and one can’t possibly comprehend what she must have felt!
Moore sank to her knees at her misfortune and it was not long before her coach Jitka Klimková intervened, replacing the defender after 40 minutes.
Klimková comments after the game were sympathetic.
“Each player who has played [football] and it doesn’t matter what level, has great games and tough games, and Mouse [Moore’s nickname] had a tough day at the office.
“Obviously she’s sad and disappointed, but she has us. We know who she is, we know what a great player she is, and we are going to support her as much as possible and we will be behind her.
“I said to her we all know what a great player she is, and there is no doubt about it, she is a solid center-back, defensively she’s tough to beat, great in the air, a great passer… that’s who she is, and that’s what she needs to keep in her mind, and that’s something I’m going have to repeat many times to her.”
The head coach was not the only one who was sympathetic about the incident, many others involved in football came to the support of Meikayla Moore.
“You never like to see this in football. It’s tough as a player and I can only feel for Meikayla,” was the view of New Zealand midfielder Annalie Longo, who was on punditry duties for the game back home.
“I’m so proud of the USWNT, 3-0 at half vs NZ, but I do have to say my heart goes out to Moore, this beautiful game can be cruel sometimes and today doesn’t define her! I can’t imagine the pressure she feels atm and I hope she’s okay.”
Former US defender Ali Krieger tweeted this during the game.
Scoring 3 own goals for your team can be the most disheartening thing that can happen to a player.
Nobody and I mean nobody scores an own goal on purpose and our hearts go out to Meikayla Moore, who probably had the worst day in her life.
Humans make mistakes and Meikayla is only human.
We hope that the gods have written only a good script for her future because she has managed to use up a lifetime of bad luck in a single day!
You would believe that women’s football is finally getting the attention it deserves. Women’s football teams such as Chelsea, Manchester City, Lyon, and, of course, Barcelona are far more professional and sophisticated than the teams in the past.
But what if we told you that there was a time when women’s football was at its wonderful pinnacle and that if it hadn’t been for the FA, the fate of the women’s game could have been so very different.
So, let’s travel back in time and uncover a story of football – in an era where destruction and weapons were upon us.
During World War 1, men had to leave the country to serve in the great war. The majority of capable young men picked up their weapons, joined the army, and were ready to sacrifice themselves for their motherland.
This caused a hole in the country’s workforce, causing it to cease operations.
With men gone, someone had to pick up the workload so that there will be bread and butter at the end of the day. As a product, it created a generation of fierce women, who worked in the factories, creating armaments, worked amid dangerous machinery and noxious chemicals, agriculture, and pretty much everything.
Basically, women were in charge of handling the workload of the entire country.
Soon factories began to set up their own football teams and there was one team that stood out. Dick, Kerr’s Ladies FC founded in 1917 were a team of female employees who worked at the Preston-based Dick, Kerr & Co munitions factory.
The team was fabulous. It caught the eye of many people; they were the talk of the town. Masses would gather around in thousands, to see this team play.
Dick, Kerr’s Ladies FC, and many such others, began to play to raise money for charity and war efforts.
Besides in the darkest of times that mankind has seen, a beautiful game of football made people smile. Perhaps for only the briefest of the moment, it gave them enough hope to carry on.
The popularity of Dick, Kerr’s Ladies FC, and women’s football was growing like wildfire.
The concept of females playing football was generally regarded as a wholesome novelty. But the sheer popularity of Dick, Kerr’s Ladies FC helped change that perception and establish women’s football as a real, legitimate sport in its own right.
The team even had a star player in their ranks, Lily Parr who was almost 6 feet tall and could smash the ball like a rocket was an exceptional footballer. Praised even by the male footballers at the time.
On one Boxing Day, their match against a rival women’s team drew a crowd of 53,000 at Goodison Park, with over 14,000 more potential spectators stranded outside the stadium. The ladies were genuine celebrities, with offers to perform all across the country. The bubble, however, soon burst — poked by the FA itself.
Insecurities and jealousy witnessing the rise of women’s football, the FA thought this will be a threat to the men’s game. Towards the end of 1921, the FA made a shock move and banned mainstream women’s football.
They were not allowed to play on FA pitches anymore, the statement was, “the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged”.
There might have also been a political influence that led the FA into taking this decision.
Now, these matches were played for noble but left-wing causes, such as raising funds for miners opposing wage cuts in 1921. As a result, individuals who considered trade unions to be their foes perceived this as a danger.
Nonetheless, women’s football did continue. The teams now had to play on non-FA pitches but that didn’t quite catch the limelight and women’s football fell into the glorious abyss.
The future might have been different for the women’s game, had FA not decided to burst the bubble. Still in the time, playing for the right causes, Dick, Kerr’s Ladies FC, and the others brought hope in the hearts, smiles on the faces, and much-needed escapism for the people during those dark times.
Women’s football, the comfort and love during an era of mass destruction and hate.