Written by Connor Shannahan
With the team’s third straight World Cup qualification, England hopes to push deep into the knockout stage and possibly contend for the title. Recent form indicates that the English team could catch many of the top teams off guard and is a legitimate championship hopeful despite not being favored in their group. Despite a rocky past and unimpressive tournament finishes, the English side has been on an upward trajectory in the official rankings and is at its highest ever, ranked 6th in the world.
England has not had much luck in the major tournaments, the Euro and World Cup. With the exception of 2009, the team has yet to reach beyond the group stage in the Euro and beyond the quarter-finals in the World Cup. However, that exception in 2009 was a second place performance, by far the best showing of the England squad in their history and the only time they have won an elimination game. Their most recent competition, the 2013 European Championship, was a major disappointment for the team. They finished last in their group containing two lower ranked teams and hope to avenge their performance this summer.
England has been on a tear recently as they prepare for their World Cup appearance. England qualified for the cup easily going a perfect 10-0 in their group and giving up only one goal. The result was a ridiculous goal differential of +51 bested only by Switzerland and World Cup favorites, Germany.
The English team also won the Cyprus Cup in March going 2-1-0 in their group and finally defeating Canada 1-0 in the final. The Cyprus Cup was not without talent, featuring many top teams heading to the World Cup this summer including Canada, Australia, and Mexico another team in Group F. The win should give the club all the momentum it needs to come out of Group F this summer.
Player to Watch: Fara Williams
Fara Williams has had a long career with English Soccer. She has 37 international goals along with over 130 caps, a team record. Williams has lead Liverpool to consecutive league titles and remains a prominent figure in English soccer. Williams has been a stabilizing force in the English team for the last decade in much the same way Landon Donovan was for the USMNT. Fara Williams’ story goes much deeper than soccer, however. She recently revealed at the end of last year that she had been homeless for seven years while rising through the ranks of the English program. Williams lived homeless during the majority of her teen years due to a complicated relationship with her mother. She remained homeless until former England coach discovered her situation and supported her until she was able to get a job through her professional team at the time, Everton. The fame she achieved through soccer helped her to eventually reconnect with her mother and stabilize her life. While Williams may not be the biggest force this summer, she certainly is an interesting player to watch.
1. “Cyprus Women´s Cup.” Cyprus Women´s Cup. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
2. “England Women’s National Football Team.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
3. “Fara Williams.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
4. “The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Associations – England – Women’s – FIFA.com.” FIFA.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
5. Lavery, Glenn. “England Seal Cyprus Cup Victory after Canada Run Dry.” England 1-0 Canada: Cyprus Cup Final Match Report. FA, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
6. McRae, Donald G. “Fara Williams.” Fara Williams: ‘I Had Football. A Lot of Homeless Girls Have Nothing’. The Guardian, 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.
7. “Women’s Round-up: March 2015.” FIFA.com. N.p., 30 Mar. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.