England’s Lionesses win the SheBelieves Cup
It’s coming home! England’s women have kicked off the season with a title as they won the SheBelieves Cup for the first time - the perfect start for a very important year, with the FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place this summer.
The SheBelieves Cup, founded in 2016, is an invitational women’s association football tournament held in the United States (US). Contested by four teams, the three previous years have seen the US, England, France and Germany compete for the title, but the 2019 tournament saw the latter two teams swapped for Brazil and Japan.
Hoping to go one further than their runner-up result last year, the Lionesses headed into the tournament with high expectations. Their 2-1 win over Brazil in the first round-robin match kicked things off positively, whilst their 2-2 draw with the United States was a slightly more challenging match; unsurprisingly, given the US have won the SheBelieves Cup twice and will hope to defend their World Cup title this year as the world’s number one team.
England then cruised to victory with a 3-0 win over Japan in their final match, four years after the team defeated the Lionesses in their agonising World Cup semi-final loss in 2015, with Lucy Staniforth, Karen Carney and Beth Mead all scoring in the first thirty minutes. Mead, also a forward for Arsenal Ladies, was joint top scorer of the tournament following her two goals against Japan and Brazil.
It was the first trophy for their manager, Phil Neville, who called it a ‘sensational performance’ and claimed that he thinks they now ‘have bigger things to aim for’.
How England topped the points table:
The FIFA Women’s World Cup begins on June 7th 2019 with England in Group D with Scotland, Argentina and Japan. The Lionesses’ build-up to France 2019 continues with four testing home matches against Canada, Spain, Denmark and New Zealand - you can find tickets here.