Can England Win The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup?

With the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup well underway, England started their campaign against France, who are ranked third in the world. The French defeat England 1-0, but even in defeat positives can be taken. This is now followed by games against Mexico and Columbia. Can they do what the men couldn’t do and win a group game or could they exceed all expectations and have a chance of winning the trophy? England can still qualify for the latter stages but can England win the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup?

Since the Women’s World Cup began back in 1991, this is the fourth time that England have qualified for the tournament, failing to qualify 3 times. Whenever England have qualified, they have on each occasion got to the quarter final stage.

Going into this tournament, England suffered three friendly defeats. A 3-0 defeat to Germany, a team which England’s women have never defeated and further defeats against USA and Canada. England did however qualify from their group in impressive fashion winning all of their ten games.

In charge of the England team is 32 year old Welshman Mark Sampson. He has managed in the Welsh football league and also Bristol Academy Women’s Football Club. He took over the England team in 2013 from Hope Powell who was sacked after 15 years. After rumours of a divided squad under Powell, Sampson introduced bonding sessions, sports psychologists and motivational specialists to help improve squad moral and form as a whole. He has also worked on various formations with the squad. Sampson said on the formations, “The players are very comfortable with the formations and we’ll certainly be implementing every single one at different stages during the tournament”.

On the pitch England have players that can be match winners on their day, be it via scoring or via keeping the opposition at bay at the other end of the field. One of those players is current England captain and Manchester City defender Steph Houghton. She currently has over 50 caps, scoring seven goals. Houghton also played for Team Great Britain during the 2012 Olympics; scoring 3 goals from left-back which in turn made her the teams record scorer and won her the award of left-back of the tournament. With regards to the tournament the England captain had this to say: “If we stay together there’s no doubt we’ve got some players that have got world-class ability and it’s all about performance. As a captain of this side, I fully believe we have the players to potentially go all the way”.

At the other end of the field Liverpool’s goalscoring midfielder and set piece specialist Fara Williams will be looking to add to her already decent goal record of 37. Close behind Fara on 32 international goals is Chelsea forward Eniola Aluko. So with 2 members of the England squad having over 30 international goals and a further six of the squad with double figures, they have the potential to cause opposition defences plenty of problems.

The hope among the England players, staff, fans and Football Association is that a good showing in Canada will provide a massive boost to the women’s game in England. Even though the game is improving and professional players within clubs is on the increase, crowds are still low. The Women’s Super League 1 as of the end of last season saw a rise in attendances with an average crowd of 728 compared to 562 in 2013.

The women’s game in England may not yet be at the same standard as say their American counterparts just yet but it is coming on in leaps and bounds with more people in the country beginning to take notice. Can England win the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup? This tournament may still be one too soon for England with the likes of the USA and Germany strong favourites and teams such as Japan, France and hosts Canada looking strong. That is not to say that England do not have a chance, they do, and if they can get to the quarter finals then anything can happen but they will need to be at their very best. Whatever stage England reach a good showing is important and could do wonders for the England team going forward, and for the women’s game in general.