To say it has been a long time since a competitive England fixture is somewhat of an understatement. 349 days (502,560 minutes or 5,584 games in case you were wondering!) since they faced Spain in the SheBelieves Cup, they will finally line up tomorrow lunch time to face Northern Ireland.
If it feels like we’ve been here before, then you are right. But once again, we can say…500 days to go! Euro 2022 is starting to become a very real and exciting prospect. Sitting in Wembley this time last year, listening to the plans for the tournament, it was hard not to be enthusiastic about the upcoming competition. And now, after the toughest of years, the sight of this celebration of the women’s game on the horizon is anticipated more eagerly than ever.
Football, as with any walk of life, is made up of a multitude of characters. The naturally skilled; the hard workers; the energisers; the personalities – these attributes are not mutually exclusive, but they are all part of why we follow the game passionately.
Every so often, you come across a footballer who encapsulates the lot. Jill Scott is one such individual – a skilled but tough opponent on the field with an undeniably engaging and infectious nature off it.
This time last year, we were preparing for another She Believes Cup in America, unaware of all the things 2020 was going to throw at us. For Phil Neville and England, they were struggling for form off the back of the World Cup in France, but were heading into the tournament as cup holders with hopes of a fresh start.
We are on the cusp of a new era for the Lionesses. Over the last week, Sarina Wiegman, has been announced as the next manager, taking over from Phil Neville in September 2021. Yes, we do have to wait a little while, but it is hard not to get excited already over the arrival of one of the two most prolific female coaches currently in the international women’s game.
So, here we are, back stateside for the 5th edition of the SheBelieves Cup and after what seems like several years since we last saw the Lionesses in action. Orlando, Harrison and Frisco will set the stage for this 2020 tournament that sees Spain join last year’s competitors, England, Japan and of course the USA.