Prior to the 1995 World Cup, Pauline Cope was not originally the first choice goalkeeper for the England women’s national team, as the role was intended to belong to her Millwall teammate, Lesley Higgs. But following her international debut on January 26, 1995 — a 1-1 draw against Italy in an international friendly — Pauline Cope began to display exemplary goalkeeping skills, and quickly established herself as a critical asset for the team. In just a short span of 6 months, Cope impressed manager Ted Copeland enough to place her in the starting lineup, and she thrived in the role.
Between her debut against Italy in 1995 and her retirement in 2004, Cope played for the England women’s national team a total of 60 times. In her first and final World Cup appearance at the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Cope was a star for the English national team. Cope’s stellar goalkeeping against Germany and Norway in their two losses was the only factor that kept England within reach of either game (FIFA Archive). Following her performance in the World Cup, national team manager Ted Copeland went on to praise Pauline Cope as “the best keeper in the world.”
After her retirement from international football in 2004, Pauline Cope was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2008 (National Football Museum).
- FIFA Women’s World Cup Archive: https://www.fifa.com/fifa-tournaments/archive/womensworldcup/index.html
- Author Unknown. “Pauline Cope.” National Football Museum. https://web.archive.org/web/20110606020348/http://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/pages/fame/Inductees/paulinecope.htm