FIFAWWC Day 13


Well it was a tough choice last night working out if I was going to watch England try claim the top of the group or Scotland try make it to the next round, but naturally I picked to watch the England game and I was I didn't as the Scots let a 3-0 lead slip and a controversial VAR decision left the Argentinian's drawing level to make it 3-3 and sending Scotland home. But Scotland can definitely be proud of themselves as they have shown what they are capable of by scoring and putting up a fight in all 3 games. But onto the England game...

Phil did his usual, making plenty of changes. Stokes came in to replace Greenwood, Duggan was fit enough to start, Bardsley took her place in goal once again and Bright came back into the team but most importantly for me Daly finally got a start. It was nice to see he had put Daly upfront for the game as I honestly believe this is currently the best position for her and her pace really benefits the team from there as she can power on into the box but also get back quickly if needed to help defend.

Duggan for me shouldn't have been starting, she is just coming back from an injury so why not gradually work her back into the game? Like bringing her on as a sub later on in the game. To me she looked off her game 90% of the time but she did have a good attempt that the keeper eventually saved. She was finally taken off in the 82nd minute but honestly Parris should have been on from the start and Duggan should have come on for her instead. She just didn't look as much of a threat as she could have been.

I was really surprised by how well Scott and Daly linked up throughout the game too and I can honestly say I would love to see this pairing a lot more in the future as they really helped England get into some dangerous attacking positions as well as getting them out of their own half by the linking up.

Japan were the first ones with a real chance for me with an absolutely brilliant free kick which ended with an even better save from Bardsley to deny them, she really made herself big and stopped the ball going straight into the top corner. That to me just shows the nets don't need making smaller for the women, especially with keepers as skilled as Bardsley. Japan definitely looked threatening at times through the game especially when on the counter attack with some great give and go play but they just couldn't finish off any of their chances luckily for England. They didn't look anywhere near as good as they have in previous years to me but I suppose that did benefit England in the long run.

It was Ellen White who managed to get the first goal of the game, Stanway who brilliantly turned away from her defender played a brilliant pass through to White who calmly hit the ball home. Stanway really surprised me whilst she was on the pitch she just looked so confident playing some brilliant balls, defending well and taking shots when the opportunities came, not bad for a youngster I can see big things happening for her in the future if she keeps this play up.

In the first half I was really impressed once again with England's movement it was great once again but then when it came to the second half it just seemed like a switch had flipped and they didn't look as good as in the first 45. We didn't seem to be closing down half as much as we had in previous games and our passes were heavy at times. Some passes were really sloppy with us losing possession but some how we kept some how improving for a few minutes after each passage of poor play. Daly was undoubtedly the best player in the first half but we just couldn't get her involved in the second half. 

For me Daly is definitely one of the most underrated players around at the moment, her work rate is amazing constantly tracking back getting stuck in for tackles and winning the ball back for the team. Plus her ability to charge at the defence really helps on the attacking front. She can also play in a good ball when putting a cross crating plenty of chances for others. Her pace also sets her apart from the rest as she can get all over the pitch in a short space of time which was great when Japan came on the counter attack.

Scott also had yet another great game and just kept up her current form which you really can't fault at the moment. Houghton really stood out for me in parts of the game too as she really put her body on the line to stop some chances for Japan. She looked a lot more confident than in the previous games. The best bit though is how perfectly timed her challenges were. There was no recklessly flying in like you see from some players and she never left her team in a dangerous position from her challenges.

England's second and final goal came from White once again who has now taken her tournament tally to 3. It all started with a nice ball from Scott to Carney who then played a brilliantly weighted pass through to White who very calmly put the ball into the back of the net, once again it was another clinical finish from White who is really growing on me this tournament.

As for the woman of the match as much as I want to give it to Jill once again I would honestly have to give it to Daly or White, Daly's work rate and movement was just fantastic and overall her performance was absolutely brilliant. White also had a brilliant game putting herself in some fantastic positions and bagging herself the 2 goals to help us top the group.

Overall even though we won the game I think there a few things we still need to work on, that backline definitely needs to be a whole lot stronger if we want to progress in the tournament and we need to stay consistent, no dropping off in the second because with us only getting 1 or 2 goals a game we really can't afford to switch off as we are likely to concede stupid goals that will eventually end up with us out of the tournament.

See you soon
Lucy




FIFAWWC Day 11&12



I actually had a day off from any football on Monday as I was just far too tired and had to get some stuff done around the house. However, it meant I missed the following...

China 0-0 Spain
South Africa 0-4 Germany
Nigeria 0-1 France
South Korea 1-2 Norway

But I made sure that I was able to get back from my grandparents in time last night to watch Australia vs Jamaica. It was a tough decision on if I wanted to watch this game or Italy vs Brazil but thanks to some of my favourite NWSL players playing for the Australia side I opted to watch them as I really wanted them to win and make it through to the round of 16. Which I am really glad I did, I missed the 1st 7 minutes of the game thanks to me travelling home but I clearly got home just in time as Kerr put the Australians ahead in the 10th minute with a brilliant looping header. It was a great ball into her but even better connection on her behalf.  

One thing I definitely noticed throughout the game was Australia's passing movement was a lot better than in the previous 2 matches and they looked a little more confident on the ball for a change.
I think one thing that really benefitted them though was putting Kerr in a more central role, where she is known to play best. It just made her more of a threat especially aerially which we saw when she headed home her second goal of the game after being left completely unmarked in the middle. You could tell the full 90 that she is better suited to that position so why hadn't they done it the previous 2 games? But more importantly who in their right mind leaves Sam Kerr unmarked.

Jamaica finally got their first goal in a world cup and what a goal it was, a fantastic through ball to Solaun who took the ball straight around Williams and slotted it home passed 2 Australian defenders. You can't take away the fact it was a brilliant goal but seriously what were those defenders doing to even let the ball get passed them in the first place? That goal really seemed to fire the Jamaican side up and they did have a couple of threatening attacks throughout the remainder of the game. 

However, it was the Australian side who added to their tally and of course it was Sam Kerr there to pick up her hat-trick. Some great build up play from substitute Raso with a nice ball into the box which unfortunately bounced straight off a member of the Jamaican defence. The ball then landed straight at Kerr's feet who was in the right place and the right time and slotted the ball passed the keeper with great composure. Kerr's hat-trick was the first for Australia in a world cup but it also meant that Jamaica have now had a hat-trick scored against them in every game this tournament.

Another game another penalty call that ended up going to VAR. Initially it did look like the keeper brought down Kerr but after seeing it from the different angles there was no contact and a throwing was rightly given. Once again though the VAR decision took far too long. 

Kerr finished the game on 4 goals after pouncing on a silly mistake from the keeper. Why mess around when Kerr is coming towards you? Just kick it straight out. The 4th goal for Kerr also means she is now tied with Alex Morgan for the most goals scored so far this tournament with 5 goals each.

One thing I did notice throughout the game was just how great the Jamaica pace is and honestly they could possibly outrun any team. Australia have now progressed to the next round and I am hoping that is when Kennedy finally gets off the mark as she was unlucky not to get on the score sheet after hitting the crossbar yesterday. So Australia beat Jamaica 4-1 and Brazil ended up beating Italy 1-0.

If I had to chose a woman of the match it would have to be Kerr after she grabbed all 4 goals.

See you soon,
Lucy 


FIFAWWC Day 8,9&10


I missed quite a few games on Friday but there was no way I was missing the England game. I missed Japan beating Scotland 2-1 and I also missed Italy thrash Jamaica 5-0. Italy really seem to have been a bit of an under dog this tournament with their 2 victories. But come 8pm on Friday I was sat ready and waiting for England to take on Argentina. Phil had made a few changes for this game and one of these was Telford coming into goal instead of Bardsley. It was nice to finally see Telford getting to represent England on the big stage as in previous tournaments she had been overlooked.

Right from the start Argentina weren't holding back on the challenges they were putting in and honestly I am surprised Bronze managed to play the full 90 with some of the challenges she suffered through. One thing I think England did well from the get go was working the ball around the field, they did this a lot better than their previous game against Scotland and it really helped them get into some threatening positions. Although they were a lot more confident on the ball once again they just couldn't capitalise on their chances in front of goal, this seems to be something they have struggled with for a few games now and I don't understand why as the players are more than capable. Poor Scott has some great chances from headers but they just didn't want to find the back of the net, which is really unfortunate as I really want Jill to bag herself a goal but it just doesn't seem to be falling for her.

The penalty was definitely a clear penalty as the Argentinian player lunged straight into Greenwood, it is possibly the clearest penalty I have seen given in the tournament so far. Unfortunately for Parris though she couldn't convert it as the ball seemed to come off her heel which meant it wasn't a clean strike. I do believe Taylor could have possibly done better on the follow up though. It was a great initial save from the Argentina keeper though, in fact she pulled off some fantastic saves throughout the game, especially in the first half.

One of the things I really loved to watch was Scott and Kirby linking up during play, they did this really well throughout the game and it got England into some really dangerous positions. It also meant that Kirby was a lot more involved than she was on Sunday which again benefited England. It was the duo linking up that ultimately lead to England finally scoring. A great counter attack from Jill who threaded the ball out to Kirby who played a nice pass to Mead who eventually put in a great ball for Taylor who slotted the ball home from close range, it really was a brilliantly worked goal.

It was nice to see Phil bring Daly on too as I was worried she was just going to be a player who made up the numbers and didn't get any game time, even if it was just a short time on the pitch at least it was some time. But please Phil play her again. I have to admit though that wasn't the best of games and I honestly thought there would be a bigger score line in this game but I think the 1-0 really reflected England not taking their chances and the Argentinian keeper pulling off some great saves. If If I had to name a woman of the match for this game I honestly think it would have to be Scott again she is running the midfield and is helping out both defensively and attacking.

Saturday was an unplanned family day, so I ended up missing the Netherlands beat Cameroon 3-1 but I saw the highlights and what a great goal for Cameroon. Then it was Canada vs New Zealand I did manage to catch a bit of this game and to be honest although Canada came away with a 2-0 win they still don't look like the strong Canada I am used to seeing. It was great to see Fleming score though she is such a great young talent.

Yesterday was fathers day so we had a family get together which unfortunately meant missing the Sweden game where they beat Thailand 5-1 but it was lovely to see the emotion on the Thailand bench when they scored their goal which was actually a brilliant finish. I did however make sure I was home for the USWNT match, there was no way I was missing that but I did actually end up missing the first 15 minutes and the first USWNT goal of the game, when I caught it on a replay though it looked like a fantastic first goal for Lloyd with a nice clean strike.

The USWNT had made 7 changes for this game but still had a fantastic starting 11 on the pitch which just goes to show you how many great players the team have to pick from. I was really glad to see Ali Krieger in this starting 11 as I was worried when she was called up that Jill would just use her as popularity and a bench warmer but to see her actually get game time was great. She really hasn't lost it she still has her speed and her ability on the ball is fantastic she kept up with the game perfectly, her first touch was fantastic and her attacking game was brilliant too, all that time of not knowing if she was ever going to represent her country again yet she has kept up with her training and is really showing why she should be on that big stage.

Chile were really unlucky not to draw level when their goal was called offside, the attacking player didn't make any contact with the ball and honestly I don't know what Naeher was doing when she came for it. After seeing this one ruled out it really did make me wonder if the Australia one should also have ruled out.

It was Ertz who grabbed the 2nd goal for the USA, it was an absolutely fantastic in swinging corner from Davidson which Ertz connected brilliantly with as she got on the right side of the defence, it just shows how much of an ariel threat Ertz can be and her headers are absolutely fantastic.

Another corner from Davidson lead to another goal for the USWNT this time it was Lloyd who found the back of the net. Lloyd absolutely towered over the defence to header the ball into the back of the net. It was yet another precision delivery from the youngster Davidson from the same side as Ertz's goal. It was yet another game for them going into half time 3-0 up.

Davidson has really impressed me in her first world cup game as she provided some fantastic deliveries from set pieces along with getting stuck into her defensive game when required. It is just a case of if she can continue this as they come up against bigger teams as the tournament progresses.

McDonald was brought on at half time for her first world cup game to replace Ertz, was this a tactical move from the USWNT to save Ertz for the upcoming Sweden game? If it was it is a great decision as Ertz could prove crucial in that game.

One player who really impressed me during this game was Press, year after year she is becoming better and better and looking more confident. Her quick feet and skilful runs are really amazing and are really challenging for the opponents she really isn't afraid to take on the opposition which is great to see she really is improving as a player.

2 further changes were made for the USWNT which brought on Long and Sonnett meant that all the outfield players for the USWNT now had some game time under their belts. I was glad to see Sonnett come on as she is a fantastic defender who is really underrated, I would have liked to see her in the CB role though as opposed to the RB one as I think she is a better CB. 

The USA had chance to grab a 4th goal through a penalty but Lloyd was unable to convert this. I know she was going for a hat-trick but honestly I think it should have gone to someone else as her track record isn't too cracking with the penalties, remember that one against Scotland? I suppose it was a little bit of karma though as the penalty should never have been given. Once again the VAR was far too slow and the foul actually occurred outside the box how it was given after so many checks I really don't know. 

The USWNT worked the ball around really well and had some great movement where as Chile never really looked a threat to the USWNT and definitely weren't closing down quick enough, putting pressure on the USWNT and were always going in with heavy unnecessary challenges. 

Woman of the match for me was definitely the Chile goalkeeper Endler, if it wasn't for her the goal margin would have been a lot bigger, she really stopped the USA running away with the game and pulled off some amazing saves in the process. She was hyped up in the pregame and really lived up to it and could be a huge prospect in any league in the future.

The team that started against Thailand for the USWNT really looked stronger and I can see it being that team to take on Sweden but this 11 also played great meaning Ellis possibly has a few tough decisions to make.

See you soon,
Lucy

FIFA WWC DAY 6&7


Unfortunately I missed all day 6's games due to needing to get some jobs done around the house. But here are the results from that day:
Nigeria 2 - 0 South Korea
Germany 1 - 0 Spain
France - 2 - 1 Norway

I also missed out on China's 1-0 win over South Africa yesterday after seeing the result I can't help but wonder is it all over for South Africa? 

One game I didn't miss though was Australia vs Brazil, it was bound to be a good game and it definitely didn't disappoint. Australia really needed to win this game after their disappointing loss to Italy, the only way in my eyes they could do this was if the backline really stepped up and performed as expected, I really didn't want to see them crashing out of the tournament so soon. Raso started on the bench but the big news was Marta being back for Brazil, surely what Australia didn't want to see. Polkinghorne missed out on the game due to an injury which saw Catley step into the back line and honestly I think it made a difference.

One thing that really let Australia down especially in the first half was the quality of their crosses, at times they weren't even beating the first woman which is poor for their players standards. However, young Ellie Carpenter was playing absolutely fantastically her runs at the Brazilians showed just how confident she is in her own ability and her overlapping play was fantastic gaining Australia vital yards and helping creating space for those around her. She really is a player to keep your eyes on in the future. In fact she put in a brilliant ball in the 12th minute and Australia were unlucky not to get anything from it. She also always seemed to be there to win the ball back for her team too.

Formiga is out of Brazil's next game thanks to her picking up another yellow card, which wasn't necessary at all. It was right in front of the referee and honestly the Australian player had nowhere to go anyway due to the positioning of the referee. She was subbed off at half time so if we want to see her again we have to hope Brazil get into the knockout stages.

One thing I really don't understand is why at times during the game Kerr was playing so wide, she is an ariel threat and just a threat in front of goal in general, so why have her right out by the wing instead of near the box where she can get herself in better positions, to make the most out of her you need her in the middle of the field definitely not out wide.

In the 19th minute it looked like Australia has won themselves a penalty. It looked like the Australian was tripped whilst pulled back slightly when she got into the box, this all came about after Australia really put pressure on Brazil's back line and won the ball back in a dangerous position. However the decision went to VAR (of course) and it was eventually pulled back for a Brazil free kick due to a handball in the build up. Granted this was possibly a good decision but how far back do we go to see if anything else effected play? Plus the VAR decision took far too long to come to a conclusion which meant players were just stood around waiting it takes away the momentum of the game. 

Brazil were next for a penalty shout and honestly it looked like there could have been a handball in the build up to this one but VAR stuck with the ref's original decision and gave the penalty, which to be honest the Australian did have a handful of the Australians shirt to bring her down, it was soft but it was a penalty. Of course it was Marta who stepped up to take this and easily converted it to put Brazil 1-0 up.

I honestly think play was sloppy from both sides throughout the game and neither side actually looked at their best. Cristiane then added to the score in the 38th minute to send Brazil into a 2-0 lead. The goal had a soft build up as the Australian defence should have done a whole lot better. But it a great ball and nutmeg from Tamires through to Debinha who put in a great cross that lead to Cristiane adding to her goal tally with a pretty good header.

At 2-0 you would have thought Brazil held a great lead but that all changed when Foord came sliding in to get a goal back for Australia making it 2-1 just before half time. It was a nice ball in that she managed to get on the end of, she really was right place right time to anticipate just where the ball was going to land.

It was in the 58th Minute when Australia struck again this time what looked like it could have been a ball in from Logarzo found its way to the back of the net, honestly I think the ball was intended for Kerr but went one better and sailed into the goal. It seemed to knock Brazil back a bit as they had now lost their 2 goal lead.

It was the 66th minute when things really changed a ball in from the Aussies that Monica tried clearing but actually ended up putting the ball in the back of her own net, this of course got sent to VAR due to a possible offside from Kerr but the goal stood and Australia took the lead. I think this was the correct decision as when Monica went to play the ball it looked as though Kerr had already run passed her and out of the way so she couldn't interfere meaning Monica didn't need to actually play the ball. As controversial as it is I really do think the officials made the correct decision even after how long it took for the VAR decision to come through. 

Australia really seemed to step up their game in the second half, they were definitely better than when they played Italy and I think the result really reflects that. Even though Australia had some very good game management when they took the lead at times it did go back to like the first half and went end to end at times, which created a great game to watch for the fans. I really think the 5 minutes added time was just added to make up for all that lost to VAR which they really need to speed up as you can't have 5 mins after every game just due to slow decisions.

The group now has Brazil, Italy and Australia all on 3 points at the moment with Italy to play today. This could really be a close group and is all going to go down to the last game. I am just glad Australia still have a chance.

If I had to pick I would give Carpenter the woman of the match due to her performance she was really brilliant in her role and stood up against some of the greatest in the world. She put is a solid performance for the full 90 in my opinion and at her age you can only expect her to get better and better.

See you soon
Lucy


FIFAWWC Day 5


Day 5 of the women's world cup really didn't disappoint we had a late goal for the Netherlands to beat New Zealand 1-0, a bit of a delay in play due to storms during the Sweden Chile game where Sweden finally came out on top as 2-0 winners however, from what I have heard Chile and New Zealand were unlucky to not pick up a point. Then you had the USWNT playing their first game and showing the rest of the world they mean business with a 13-0 win, so my focus today is going to be on the USWNT Thailand game.

It is no secret I have a soft spot for the USWNT it is thanks to some of their players I am so into the sport as I am, they have had some real legends in the past and the current team include some of the greatest players in the game at the moment. It was nice to see Hope in the BBC studio too giving her opinions on the game and not actually being biased pointing out the things the USWNT has needed to improve in the past. It seemed to be a brilliant crowd too a lot better than the England Scotland game with less empty seats and over 18,000 fans there you can't knock the support the US brought with them, the Outlaws are brilliant.

When they line-up was announced I was really pleased to see Heath, Horan and O'Hara all picking up the starts. Heath has a huge ability in any game to be a threat as does Horan who knows how to command a midfield and create chances. O'Hara is a player I think is massively underrated so to see her get the start, especially not long after having surgery was brilliant. The USWNT could have had a dream start but Morgan was flagged offside and the first goal was ruled out, it just makes you wonder if she had left it would it have gone in anyway and stood? The USWNT came out to prove a point, that they could become back to back winners and they were absolutely all over Thailand in the first 5 minutes, with great movement and passing of the ball.

It only took 12 minutes for the USWNT to actually get off the mark and of course it was Alex Morgan who got the 1st and what a great goal it was, a brilliant chip into the box with Morgan connecting well with her head to send the ball into the back of the net, she really positioned herself well for this goal. To be honest I think the ball into the box was better than the actually goal as it was just so calm and composed whilst perfectly weighted. One player who had too much fun all the time they was on the pitch was Tobin Heath who really didn't hold back and looked like she loved running at the Thai defence whilst pulling off her signature skill set, she really is an amazing player.

Kelley played really well and put in some great balls to create some fantastic opportunities for the whole team and created space for them and herself, she at times seemed to be playing a bit of a midfield role instead of her usual defensive one and her ability really hasn't disappeared since her days as a forward at Stanford she is certainly an underrated player. It was actually thanks to a brilliant ball over the top from Kelley that Lavelle's goal came from. The brilliant ball over from Kelley to Morgan who then played another brilliant ball through to Lavelle who finished it of with a brilliant strike.

The referee really didn't seem to want to give anything to the USWNT Thailand were going in with some really heavy challenges that weren't called for and then there was 2 clearly penalty calls, the first one was obvious as if Mewis wasn't pulled back she would have got her shot away and possibly scored a goal? I really don't know how VAR didn't pick this up. Then there was the ungiven penalty for a challenge on Horan at first glance it didn't look like a penalty but after seeing it from different angles it was clear her legs were taken out yet another VAR didn't pick up.

Then came the 3rd goal for the USWNT a free kick taken by Heath which looked like a total miss kick but was actually a great ball into the box, unfortunately the ball completely bounced off Mewis but fell too Horan who brilliantly smacked it home to make the game 3-0. I was surprised to see Thailand making their first sub after just 34 minutes, I honestly thought they would have had the starting 11 play out the first 45 minutes. Morgan really amazed me through the full game as her skill level was almost on par with Heath's some clever little turns and back heels really helping out the team.

One thing I did notice though was that Rapinoe's crosses seemed to be all over the place in the first half, they definitely weren't what we were used to seeing with them going straight out or nowhere near the intended. Thailand's defence really played well just before half time they managed to keep out shot after shot from the US and managed to go into half time just 3-0 down.

Throughout the whole game the US didn't look like they were going to sit back at any point, even thought they were scoring goals and 3 nil up at half time they came out for the second half looking hungry for more goals. They were really calm and collected on the ball too just showing they know exactly what to do and how to do it there was no panicking and just hitting the ball and hoping for the best.

The USWNT 4th goal came from Mewis who managed to get a brilliant strike away which took a deflection from the Thai defender to end up in the back of the net. I really do believe if this was left the keeper may have stood a chance of saving it. From then on the goals came in pretty quick succession, a great delivery in from Heath with a good flick on from Horan the ball landed perfectly with Morgan who was once again in the right place at the right time and sent the ball into the back of the net to make it 5-0 to the US.

Yet another quick goal then came about a deflected shot from Lavelle which fell kindly to Mewis who was there ready and waiting to slot the ball home 6-0 to the USWNT. Then a great ball in from Dunn to Mewis set the way for the 7th goal of the night, Mewis played a nice ball into the centre of the box which Morgan left and Lavelle was there to slot the ball home which she did very calmly.

How many teams can say they at one stage had 3 players on a hat-trick in one game? Unfortunately though Lavelle wouldn't get the chance for a 3rd as she was brought off along with Heath for the entrance of Press and Lloyd, just what Thailand will have wanted to see at already 7-0 down. I would like to think this was done to rest Heath and Lavelle for the next game. Then they took Ertz off and brought on Pugh which I couldn't get my head around but it looked like they went to a back 3 for the remainder of that match, if anyone though I would have replaced O'Hara just to protect that ankle.

Then came Morgan's 3rd goal a nice little turn in the box after a great first touch with a nice finish it was nice to see Press get involved in this one by coming inside a bit and playing a great ball. At 8-0 you would think it would all be over wouldn't you? Nope the US carried on and Rapinoe got off the mark for the tournament too. Press once again pushing forward and playing a great ball into Rapinoe who hit it home for 9-0. At one point I actually forgot who was in goal for the US as Naeher barely had anything to do all game with no real tests. then came Alex Morgan's 4th goal of the night a nice little bit of play from Rapinoe who passed to Morgan whose first touch was once again brilliant and fired it home for 10-0 with a nice clinical finish. Morgan then turned provider setting Pugh on her way who cheekily took it passed the keeper and calmly slotted it into the back of the net.

Then Morgan turned scorer again with an amazing touch to take the ball around her defender and fire it home 5 goals for Morgan living up to her 2018 form already in this competition she is an absolutely fantastic player and surely is only going to get more and more goals throughout the competition. Carli then finally managed to get herself on the scored board another nice ball through from Morgan and some great movement from Lloyd who finished it off with a shot from the outside of her boot. 13-0 and the USWNT were absolutely ruthless for the full 90 minutes just showing the world what they are made of and they aren't just going to sit back how many other teams score 10 goals in the 2nd half, 39 shots throughout the game and 20 on target these are absolutely fantastic stats. You could see from the celebrations just how much it meant to them as a team when each goal went in. Some on social media are saying this is arrogant of them but honestly if it was your first game in a world cup wouldn't you celebrate like that? This team have worked so hard for 4 years to get to where they are they deserve to be able to celebrate any goal as they like whether its a 13-0 win or a 1-0 win these goals mean the world to the players.

If I had to choose a woman of the match it would be a tie between O'Hara and Morgan. O'Hara played absolutely fantastic for the full 90 and her movement and deliveries were excellent, she kept up with all the pressing attacks and made things happen through the game. I was really pleased with her performance especially to say she has just come back from ankle surgery it looks she never had the op or a rehab period she also defended really well. Morgan would also be a woman of the match due to her scoring 5 goals and her ability to find plenty of space throughout the game, creating chances for others and moving the ball around the pitch well. Her skill throughout this game was also great too and it really helped the team. It will also have helped her confidence too she wasn't having the best 2019 especially at club level so these 5 goals will have hopefully sparked something in her and seem to be getting 2018 Alex back. 


See you soon
Lucy




FIFAWWC Day 2,3&4


It is typical isn't it the second I say I am going to cover every game I get unwell and spend all day Saturday in bed then on Sunday my nephew comes around so I spend a fair bit of time with him missing some of the Australia game and all the Brazil game. So I have now decided I will have one main focus game per day plus a quick score or min round up (if caught any of the game) for the rest of the games that day.

So day 2 I completely missed but the results were:
Germany 1 - 0 China
Spain 3 - 1 South Africa
Norway 3 - 0 Nigeria

I am actually gutted I missed all these games as it does look like a really good day of football.

On day 3 I managed to catch the back end of the Australia game and WOW I was shocked, there was some pretty scrappy play from Australia and Italy capitalised winning the game 2-1. Australia really need to work on their defensive play if the want to push on in the competition.
The second game of day 3 was Brazil vs Jamaica and I ended up watching the England men's game instead stupidly. This looked like a cracking game and from the highlights it looks like even though Jamaica lost they put up a fight.

Now onto the biggest game of day 3 England vs Scotland, there was no way I was missing this one as it proved to be a brilliant game. When the sides faced off in Euro 2017 England came out as 6-0 winners but recently Scotland are on the rise so I was definitely expecting a much closer game from these 2 teams and it didn't disappoint. I was mainly looking forward to seeing how Cuthbert, Emslie, Mead and Greenwood would do in this game as they are some of the growing names in the game at the moment and this game would be a good way to see how these players would fair up through the tournament. It was Scotland's first world cup appearance and what a way to kick it off against England of all the teams. What surprised me the most wasn't actually anything to do with the game itself but it was all the empty seats around the stadium, I thought it was a sell out?
When the game kicked off Scotland definitely looked up for the game but as the first half progressed they seemed to just drop off a little.
What I loved to see with England was them working the ball around the field well, Jill Scott seemed to be the centre of all this in midfield and became a real playmaker throughout this game, not afraid to get stuck into a challenge and not afraid to help England push forward. The first 10 minutes of the game was really end to end which is just what I was hoping to see and I honestly think this is what helped create a great atmosphere in the ground as both sets of fans were getting behind the teams as they pushed forward.
When it came to the VAR being called upon for the penalty and see it divide people, you can see why as the new rules haven't really been explained properly but to me it was a clear penalty as the Scottish defender definitely made herself bigger by having her arm in an unnatural position when the ball struck it. When Parris stepped up to take it I was a little worried the pressure may have got to her a little but how wrong could I have been? She took it in her stride and took the penalty really well to put England 1-0 up.
One thing I think a lot of teams need to do including England is work on staying on side, now VAR is in play it is easier for the referees to call and players just can't get away with it like they used to, which showed when Beth Mead's goal was ruled out due to White being offside. It could really be costly to a team if they are constantly having goals disallowed due to the offside calls. 
When it came to England's second goal as some as it dropped at White's feet you could just tell that the ball was only heading into the back of the net. It was a clinical finish from Man City's newly signed striker and I am hoping it is a sign of more to come. 
The first half was great from both teams and even though Scotland dropped off a bit they really didn't deserve to go into half time 2-0.
The Scot's really did come out fighting in the second half and you could see just by how much pressure they were applying to the English defence and eventually did break them down for Emslie to make the score 2-1.  It was thanks to the Scottish putting pressure on the English defence that caused a silly mistake to be made and Emslie getting in for the goal, I am glad that out of all the Scots to score it was Emslie as she is an absolutely fantastic player and one of my favourites for the Scottish team. Not only was Emslie a threat through the 90 minutes but so was Cuthbert, getting into some brilliant spaces and having a great chance on goal. She even held her own when one on one with Millie Bright which I didn't expect, unfortunately though during this Millie went down injured and I just hope she is ok. 
Scotland definitely stepped up in the 2nd half and if they play like that against Japan and Argentina I can see them coming away with quite a few points and hopefully progressing further into the competition. I totally agree with Alex Scott though England need to step up their game a lot if they want to win the world cup as at times they were sloppy and didn't take all the chances they were presented with. Even though they came out 2-1 winners against Scotland they really need to do better.
If I had to choose a woman of the match it would definitely have been Jill Scott for this game as she really helped England out.

Day number 4 had just the 2 games being played Japan vs Argentina finished 0-0 with neither side able to capitalise on their chance, a game I really hope England and Scotland were watching as they are their next tests. The game I really wanted to watch though was Canada vs Cameroon. I will admit I have a bit of a soft spot for Canada all thanks to 2 of my favourite players Sinclair and Beckie so I can honestly say get used to seeing plenty of posts about them on here. Unfortunately I missed the first couple of minutes due to travelling home from my grandparents but by the time it got to 13 minutes played I was shocked by the stats 0 shots on target for Canada, 1 for Cameroon, that is something I wasn't expecting to see I thought Canada would be on the constant attack especially with Sinclair so close to that goal scoring record. Will she get it during the competition? 

One player who impressed me through the game was Schmidt, she is a player who caught my eye at the last world cup and she is showing no signs of slowing down, she really isn't afraid to get stuck into a challenge and work to get the ball back and into a position for Canada to go on the attack. What I really didn't expect to see during the first half was Canada being so nervy, both on and off the ball they looked like the occasion may be getting to them and it was quite opposite to the Canada team I am used to seeing, especially the side that turned up against England in April, they looked totally up for the game where as last night they looked like England would have hit a few past them. Granted they were absolutely dominating possession but they just couldn't capitalise on it and find the back of the net. To me it was their final ball that was letting them down whether it was a cross into the box that didn't meet any of their team or a through ball that went straight to a member of the Cameroon defence. Both teams also fell victim to plenty of offside calls, like I said about England you need to be more switched on now there is no escaping the calls, you are going to end up caught out.
I was surprised by just how strong the Cameroon defence could be, at times there was just no getting beyond them. Not only was the defence strong though but the players are physical strong and the smaller Canadians like Fleming really felt full force of this and ended up on the ground plenty of times due to fair challenges that just used the Cameroon players strength, they aren't a team to be taken likely and they really made Canada work hard for their opportunities.
It took a well taken corner to get the Canadian's off the mark and it was Buchannan who ended up heading the ball into the back off the net. It was a straight corner that seemed to hang in the air for a while before Buchannan made connection and scored Canada's first goal of the tournament.

Cameroon weren't going down without fight though and continued to challenge Canada until the final whistle was a blow, I think the rest of the group really need to be weary of them as they could be a real threat. Scott didn't seem to really get into the game for the Canadians but when she did she managed to pull of some good tackles and put in some good passes. Sinclair was playing far too deep for my liking she was having to come back to midfield at times which meant when they went on the break she wasn't where she should have been to put in a shot if she had been where she should be I think Canada would have got a few more goals. 
If I had to choose a woman of the match I think it would definitely be a tie between Schmidt who seemed to be all over the field putting some great play together or Beckie who put an absolute shift in for the full 90 minutes not afraid to get stuck in with defending and not afraid to push forward attacking and taking shots when the opportunity came about. Canada finished the game 1-0 winners.

So there you have it those are days 2,3&4 but I promise we are back to normal now, keep an eye out tomorrow for day number 5.

See you soon
Lucy.


FIFAWWC Day 1


So on Friday the world cup kicked off and what better way than it to start than with the hosts picking up all 3 points from the opener. France put on a brilliant display and came out with a 4-0 victory over South Korea.

Right from the start France looked like a threat on the attack as expected. The first goal came from some great pressing from the hosts and of course it was Le Sommer with the fantastic finish to put the home nation in front. But the pressing didn't stop there France actually kept up the pressing game for the full 90 minutes showing just how much they wanted to show the world they are made of and that they aren't to be taken lightly. Some teams get a goal or 2 in front and sit back but no way was France doing that.

I felt a little sorry for Korea when the first goal went in as they did seem to start off pretty well, even causing France to give away some very silly fouls but they just couldn't capitalize on the opportunities given to them.

The french disallowed goal was actually really well worked, from the corner the ball was played out to Henry who easily picked out Renard who then headed it to Mbock Bathy who finished off the goal brilliantly especially for a center back. However though that joy was short lived as VAR was used for the first time in the tournament and unfortunately ruled the goal out due to offside. I am really glad that VAR is being used but wow it was slow to make a decision, so fingers crossed the process is sped up throughout the tournament.

France played very cleverly throughout the game and the main playmaker for the full 90 minutes was definitely Amandine Henry and she works really well as a captain in my opinion as she can run the field but is also a player who others can look up too and she seems to be able to motivate them and keep them pushing even when they are in the lead, she really helps make the most out of the team they have. She was also center of all the great combination play that came from the French throughout the game.

I was a little confused in the first part of the game when France where getting corners but didn't seem to be utilizing Renard who's height could be an advantage for them. But when they finally did use Renard it worked out perfectly for them. A greatly delivered corner found her and she made a brilliant connection to get her 1st goal. What I didn't understand was that up to this moment the Koreans had defended really well, yet when this corner came they were actually backing away.

In the first 38 minutes France had 15 shots compared to Korea's 0, which really does show how much of a dominant force France where in the first half and they kept this up in the 2nd half too. Just before half time Renard got her 2nd goal to make it 3-0 France and once again it was a brilliantly delivered out swinging corner that was met with a great connection. By now going into half time it was starting to look like Korea was just going to give up however, at the start of the second half they looked a little more lively and like whatever they had been told at half tie had given them the motivation they needed to pick it up again.

Just as Hope Solo said at half time though France's best play came from down the right hand side and this really showed through the full 90, I think this could really be a threat for a lot of teams within the competition and opponents shouldn't take them lightly. On the other side Korea seemed to be getting a lot of freekicks for not a right lot, it seemed the slightest touch and they were on the floor, I was getting sick of hearing the referees whistle. I just hope that this isn't going to be a running theme through the competition and the ref's wise up to this. 

French goal keeper Bouhaddi didn't actually have her first test until the 63rd minute but even after all this time with not a lot to do she took it with eases, for me she really could be one of the best keepers in the world but her not getting brought into the action until late really goes to show you just how good the outfield French players are too, making sure the Korean's didn't get near the goal.

France's 4th and final goal came from none other than Amandine Henry who really did deserve to get her name on the score sheet, the goal was absolutely brilliant cutting across the defence without even looking up properly yet she still struck it perfectly and found the back of the net.

What I really loved to see was a crowd of over 45,000 to watch the hosts kick off the tournament. Let's hope we get big crowds at the other games too as it is nice to see just how much the women's game is growing. 

So there you have it check back later for day 2 & 3.

See you soon
Lucy




Posting Changes For The Next Month



So as I am sure you are all aware the world cup kicks off today which means for the next month there is going to be a bit of a change over on the blog. 

I will be posting 7 days a week for the next month instead of just posting Monday to Friday. This will be because I will be doing daily breakdowns of the games and their results, the posts will be going up the day after the games have been played. For example England play this Sunday so that post will be up on Monday. 

There will also be posts going up about the teams progressing to the knockout games etc. But don't worry if you want to see a bit more of a variety, some days I will be posting 2 posts on here, the second post will be fitness, lifestyle or fashion related just so it isn't all football for a month as I know some of you come here for different posts. I will also still be posting my last week posts every Monday. 

So there you go I thought I would do a quick post today to let you all know what was going on as this month is really about to get crazy.

See you on the other side.
Lucy

My Ones To Watch At The FIFAWWC 2019


Finally the world cup is only a day away and I can't wait to say goodbye to everything for a whole month and become totally engrossed in the tournament. It is hopefully going to be the biggest tournament yet for the women's game and the talent on show is going to be bigger than 2015 in Canada as the game is growing in all countries. But today we are going to take a look at my top picks for the ones to watch this world cup.

Tobin Heath
Tobin is a player who has had her fair share of wins, winning the Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012, and also winning the world cup in 2015. She has also proved vital in the progress of the Portland Thorns who won the NWSL championship in 2017, where she came back from injury to help them pick up the trophy. Her form has been brilliant over recent months and not only can she score goals herself, but she can assist too, her crosses and set pieces can be lethal especially when linking up with fellow Thorn Lindsey Horan. Tobin is definitely an all rounder and one of the main ones to watch but please Jill Ellis don't play her in the wrong position and make the most of what you have.

Lindsey Horan
Lindsey won MVP for the NWSL last season and you can easily tell why her play in midfield is absolutely fantastic, she can hold up play when required but is even better at pushing forward and becoming an attacking threat. As I said about Tobin, if played together Horan and Heath could prove vital as they have that understanding of playing together along with that seemingly now natural chemistry on the pitch. Horan can hit a ball well when attacking but it is her lethal headers that the opposition needs to watch out for. It has literally full circle for Lindsey as she started her professional playing career in France, where she is now going to be partaking in her first ever world cup.

Christine Sinclair
I honestly consider Christine Sinclair as the G.O.A.T of women's football and I am looking forward to see what performances she puts in this world cup. I have no doubt that all of Sinclair's concentration will be on helping Canada progress through the tournament however, you can't help but wonder how much she will be thinking about breaking Abby Wambach's goal scoring record with only 4 goals to go I can honestly see her doing it at this world cup and what better stage to break the record on.

Erin Cuthbert
Erin was one of the stand out players for me at Chelsea last season and at just 20 years old she hopefully has a long career ahead of her. It is going to be interesting to see how she does on the big stage. I think her ability as a player is going to be vital for the Scotland team throughout the competition and she could be a real danger for oppositions especially with how she can seemingly take shots from a variety of distances and angles really putting the keeper and defences under threat. I think she is going to really help Scotland advance past the group stages.

Hayley Raso
Not even a broken back can hold Raso back and under a year since breaking it here she is about to represent Australia on the big stage. I honestly think with Australia it is going to become a bit of a Sam Kerr show but seriously don't write Hayley off, she has proved just how influential she can be for the Thorns and honestly I can see her playing a big part in Australia progressing through the competition. Raso is definitely a threat who should not be taken lightly and who will definitely give the opposition a run for their money.

Georgia Stanway
Stanway had an absolutely fantastic season for Man City last season and is really starting to make an impression on everyone, she clearly has made a great impression on Phil for him to call her up to the England squad for this tournament. Another youngster who I hope the pressure doesn't end up getting to but it seems Stanway doesn't suffer from that as she does so well in the big games for her club. The best thing with Georgia is she isn't afraid to get stuck into a tackle and her shots are like absolute rockets which could really put added pressure on opposition defences and keepers. Imagine the scenes if she was to score a last minute winner to send England to the final.

Ellie Carpenter
Ellie has really begun to make a name for herself over in the NWSL with the Thorns and is proving to be an absolutely outstanding right back. One of the main things I love about Ellie is her ability to press forward, not all right backs want to go forward every time but when Ellie thinks she is capable of helping her team get into a better position she isn't afraid to do just that. Her pace is also fantastic and even though she is so young she fits nicely into the Australian set up, in fact I can see her becoming an even bigger name in the women's game in the future.

Jessie Fleming
I was lucky enough to go see England vs Canada the other month as part of the road to France series and one player that really stood out for me was Jessie Fleming, Jessie really held her own against the strong English side and really showed off just why she should be in the world cup. I didn't expect her to be charging at the English midfield and defence the way she did really putting on a show against some of the best names in the game. If she can repeat that performance out in France the opposition won't know what has hit them. Hopefully if she stays injury free this won't be her last big competition either and she could be on her way to being a huge name just like Christine Sinclair.

Millie Bright
Now one defender I would never want to come up against is Millie Bright, a real no nonsense defender and when paired with Houghton that is a back line you really wouldn't want to face. Not only is Millie absolutely solid in defence but she can be a force to be reckoned with in an attacking sense too. Her shots look as hard as she tackles making them even harder for the keeper to save and her headers are just as lethal. It would be absolutely brilliant if not only can she stop the opposition scoring goals but also grabbing a few goals herself.

Becky Sauerbrunn
Becky is like Millie but a lot more experienced, she has been part of that backline for the USWNT for a while now and hopefully won't be going anywhere anytime soon. Becky was part of the team in 2015 who won the world cup and in all honesty I think she has even improved from then (not like she really needed to) making it harder to get passed her once again. What is going to be interesting to see is who Jill pairs Becky with in the CB pairing as this could prove critical in their progression. Not only that but if it is someone with a little less experience it is going to be great to see how Becky helps them cope through the tournament and how she shows off her leadership/motivational side. Whoever is paired alongside her definitely is going to have a fantastic mentor. 

So there you have it those are the 10 players to keep an eye on throughout the competition but I couldn't do this post without including Beth Mead, who has definitely become a fan favourite of late and it is know wonder with her skill and that she can literally score from the touchline, Beth is definitely one to watch as she is a great addition to Phil's squad. I also have to mention Fran Kirby who has unfortunately been hit by injuries lately but is still putting in some great performances. There is a lot of pressure going into this tournament on Fran due to how she has improved as a player since 2015 but honestly it really isn't fair, just remember this is a team sport and just not down to 1 player. 1 player doesn't make the team, everyone on that pitch has to perform to get a result. I just hope the pressure doesn't effect her as it seemingly did to Sterling in the men's world cup last year, it can really effect your performance if you think the whole country is just relying on you and honestly I don't see why us as fans do this to the individuals. Yes so the player may miss some chances, but what about that player who played in a bad pass? Or the one who got beat in the backline and the opposition got around to score a goal. Let's lay off that personal pressure and just get behind the teams we support. It makes it more enjoyable in the long run for both players and fans.

This definitely wasn't an easy choice for me making this list as I have said previously the talent is forever growing but these are definitely the players to keep an eye on as they could provide a major impact for their countries and their progression throughout the competition. Who are your ones to watch?

See you soon
Lucy



Garden Renovation Update #1

You may remember at the beginning of April I posted all about our garden plans (catch up on it here) and well we have finally started on each of the gardens, it is definitely going to take a while but here how things are looking at the moment...


In the front garden my grandad came up and dug up a border under the window which we wanted doing, but now we have it there we are thinking of taking it all the way around the edge of the garden as you can tell that is what was previously there. Now we just need to go find some nice plants to fill this area and I need to convince Liam a little bird bath may look good in the centre of the grass.


Now the side garden is where I am going to be spending most of my time as it is going to have toys in for my nephew as well as being my little football area. There was a fair bit to do in here which I think I underestimated. We needed to take up some paving flags, remove the sheeting from the old planter, dismantle the BBQ & flower bed and level where things had been removed.



I actually spent time with my mum whilst Liam and my dad did these jobs and they did really well for what they were left to do. They took up a strip of paving flags, levelled the ground and applied some grass seed. Liam also removed the sheet from the planter and levelled all that. My next step is to remove the flower bed, level that area and dismantle the BBQ, we are also thinking of putting a little fence around the edges. Then this area should then be good to go and I can fill it with football equipment and stuff for the nephew as he grows up.

Now this is where the big project is, we have gone for the decking and astro-turf option and as you can see from the image about we were left with a mess to start with. The group is just mud but when my dad and Liam where digging for the holes for the decking posts we found out most of what the dug was clay making it even harder for them. 


However they have done a fantastic job in just 2 days so far, along with doing the other gardens and digging the holes the above images are what it is looking like now. I helped my dad put the big posts in and get them level whilst Liam was working but then he took over from me and has done a brilliant job. I honestly don't think this section will take much longer and I cant wait to show you the finished product. 

Once the decking is down we will be adding a fence, levelling the mud and laying the astro-turf whilst also adding a small border filled with chippings.

I am so excited to finally get everything done and out of the way so we can enjoy the warm weather in any of the gardens and I can get training in the side too . Once all this is done though the savings will be started again to get all the side of the house and driveway done including finally knocking the awful garage down.

Check back soon for more garden updates.

See you soon
Lucy