Lionesses’ She Believe’s Cup victory is a milestone but leaves Phil Neville with an even greater selection headache for the summer

The dust has settled, a week has passed, now Kathryn Batte takes a look at what the She Believe’s Cup victory means for the Lionesses and Phil Neville this summer… 

Unless you’re an avid follower of women’s football, you probably hadn’t heard of the She Believe’s Cup until England’s 3-0 victory over Japan last week gave Phil Neville his first piece of silverware as the Lionesses’ manager. 

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Manchester United Women: the biggest club in the world can make up for lost time

By Kathryn Batte 

Fourteen years ago Manchester United abandoned women’s football.

It’s the 21st February 2005. In three months’ time the Women’s Euros will be held in the north-west of England. The hosts will play their first group game against Finland at the City of Manchester Stadium. This is the biggest moment in the modern era for women’s football in England. So why did Manchester United, the biggest and wealthiest (at that time) club in the world, decide this was the right time to pull the plug on their women’s team?

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The ancient phrase of ‘catch the ball, boot it up’ and the evolving art of the goalkeeper in the modern game

“Goalkeepers need an element of insanity.”

These words from former goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, one of the most successful German players in recent history, have been repeated many times over the years.

As someone who has played in goal I can understand that sentiment. You’re expected to be alert every second of every game, make the important saves, constantly talk to your defenders and be prepared to throw yourself in front of anything. As Peter Cech found out in 2006, that last one can sometimes be painful.

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Why Scotland may be dark horses in next years Women’s World Cup

By Kathryn Batte

When Scotland were drawn in the same group as England for the Women’s World Cup next year, manager Shelley Kerr must have thought ‘typical’. Her team qualified for only their second ever major competition with a dramatic win over Albania in September. Shortly after it was announced the Scottish Government would provide £80,000 of funding to allow the squad to be full-time from January to the tournament’s start date in June.

Scotland’s reward? A group of death with their rivals, former World Champions Japan and Argentina.

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Lionesses can extend football fever in England

By Kathryn Batte

If you want to pinpoint the moment Women’s Football really took off in this country then 2005 is a good starting point. England hosted the Women’s European Championships for the first time and back then only two groups of four teams competed in the tournament, which Germany won for the fourth time in a row. England qualified automatically as hosts but finished bottom of their group, winning just one game. The final was played at Blackburn’s Ewood Park and attracted a crowd of 21,100 people, a record for a woman’s match in Europe. Had England made the final that figure would probably have been higher with over 29,000 spectators watching the hosts beat Finland 3-2 at the City of Manchester Stadium in the first game of the tournament.

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