The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is less than a year away and this week England will step up their preparations for the tournament.
England face Brazil at Nott’s County’s Meadow Lane on Saturday the 6th of October (12.30pm KO) and then take on Australia on Tuesday the 9th October at Fulham’s Craven Cottage, with the game kicking off at 7.00pm.
When England takes to the field in Nottingham they will come up against the recently crowned World Player of the Year, Marta who plays her club football for the Orlando Pride in the USA’s NWSL. Marta is one of the true greats of women’s football having won the FIFIA World Player Award six times in total. On her day she is more than capable of winning any game on her own and can at times be simply unplayable.
Marta aside, Brazil is considered one of the great underachievers in Women’s Football. Although they have dominated the game in South America they have never converted that dominance to the world game. They did make the World Cup final in 2007 but success since then has been in short supply with the side’s last World Cup showing in Canada 2015 ending at the round of 16 stage at the hands of Australia. Outside of their World Cup qualifying campaign, results so far this year have also been disappointing with the most recent defeat being a 1-0 defeat in Canada. In the 2018 Tournament of Nations, Brazil finished 3rd (out of four teams) They did defeat Japan 2-1 but a 3-1 defeat to Australia and a 4-1 loss at the hands of the United States showed that they remain a way off challenging the very best in the world. Going forward they can cause England problems, but their defensive weakness should mean that England will have the advantage, especially from set piece.
Australia on the other hand will be a much tougher nut to crack. They may be without star striker Sam Kerr (who many in the world game consider the best striker in the world over the past 18 months) but they have plenty of exciting talent throughout the squad.
2017 was a stunning year for the Matilda’s as they stormed the world rankings and really caught people’s eye winning the 2017 Tournament of Nations beating the hosts the USA in the process. By comparison 2018 has been a little tougher, but they are still a side that can take on the world’s best. Some names to look out for include are star striker Lisa DeVanna who has 140 caps for Australia and fellow striker Catlin Foord who has 60 caps to her name. It’s not all about the experienced players though with Coach Alen Stajcic looking to give youth a chance; one such player being 16 year old Amy Sayer who is tipped to have a very bright future in the game.
Tickets for both games are still on sale on the English FA’s website and Sports International will be covering the game in Nottingham. There will also be an interview with a member of the Australian squad ahead of the game in London.