England U19 to play La Manga U19 tournament

The England U19 team will be at La Manga alongside the U23 team and will be playing their usual March tournament.

France, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Italy, USA, Denmark are also involved in the the U19 tourney.

England will play the Netherlands, USA and Danemark in preparation for their elite round in April.

Here is the fixture list :


Tuesday 03. mars:

Netherlands U19 – England U19
Sweden U19 –  Italy U19
USA U19 –  Denmark U19
Norway U19 – France U19


Saturday 05. mars:

France U19 – Italy U19
Denmark U19 –  Netherlands U19
England U19 – USA u19


Monday 07. mars:

Italy U19- Netherland U19
England U19 –  Denmark U19
Sweden U19 – France U19
Norway U19 – USA U19



England U23 to play 6 nations tournament at La Manga in March

The England U23 team will take part in the annual U23 tourney in La Manga from the 2nd to the 6th of March 2016.

Sweden, the USA, Norway, Japan and Germany are also taking part in the tournament. Germany, USA and Sweden are sending their U20 squad in preparation for the U20 World Cup to be played later in the year in Papua New-Guinea.

England U23 will play Germany U20, USA U20 and Sweden U20.

Here is the full schedule :

Wednesday 02. mars:
13.00: U23 England – U20 Germany
15.30: U20 Sweden – U20 USA
18.00: U23 Norway – U23 Japan

Friday 04. mars:
13.00: U20 USA – U23 England
15.30: U23 Norge – U20 Germany
18.00: U23 Japan – U20 Sweden

Sunday 06. mars:
13.00: U20 Sweden – U23 England
15.30: U23 Norway – U20 USA
18.00: U20 Germany – U23 Japan

The tournament is played at La Manga, Spain which is a training base for the NFF .


The away fans, the forgotten fans in the FA WSL

Fans certainly wonder how the FA WSL fixtures list is built. Whether it is handpicked or computer generated, it is certainly not engineered to help away fans.

An important point is to note that statistically away fans do not exist for the FA . They are counted as home fans.

For example,Liverpool, Notts County, Reading, Yeovil, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal and many more have a loyal following.

We are obviously not talking about 2 or 3 000 fans like in the men’s game more likely from 10 to 100 supporters. They are a minority and that’s why they are not catered for.

They have no nuisance power and don’t make enough noise to annoy the FA. It’s a shame they are not offered a minimum of respect with a schedule that allow them to attend games.


Let’s have a look at the away travel games, where it will be difficult for fans to attend, considering not all the fans can drive to away games.

It is quite clear at the same time that fans travellng in their cars can go up and down the country and make every away game. Sometimes, they will probably have to take the afternoon off work and be back at home by like 2 or 3 am. I guess the FA’s expectation is for all away fans to use personal cars and not public transport.

Durham, Sunderland and Yeovil obviously have a lot of travel due to their location.

This is just a sample of the fixture list for March as an example, but it will be same every month throughout the year. The mileage numbers are round trips figures


Wed 23 Mar

Durham at Sheffield 242 miles ko 1900 no return train to Durham

Thu 24 Mar

Chelsea at Doncaster 374 miles ko 1945 no return train to London

Sat 26

Reading at Sunderland ko 1800  no return train to London, better make a week-end of it

Sheffield at Bristol ko 1800 no return train to Sheffield, better make a week-end of it


The whole 9 months schedule is as bad as this unfortunately and with BT Sport coming into the equation and changing dates and times, it can only get better… or worse.

The FA WPL promotion race to WSL 2 Ep 3

The different cup ( FA and County cups) combined with the dreadful weather have played havoc with the fixtures list. Some games have been played today in the Southern Division while there was no League game in the Northern Division.


Northern Division

1.PNE 29 pts +38 pl 13

2.Forest 29 pts +16 pl 13

3. Stoke 26 pts + 20 pl 12

4. Blackburn 26 pts +15 pl 13

5. Derby 22 pts +4 pl 13

6. SC Albion 21 pts +13 pl 9


No changes in the Northern Division PNE and Forest level on points with Stoke virtually level with them. Blackburn chasing the leaders three points behind them. SC Albion also virtual leaders as they have four games on hand and would overtake the top two teams should they win all those four games.


Southern Division 

Forest Green Rovers 1-4 Brighton & Hove Albion
Lewes 1-3 Cardiff City LFC

  1. Brighton 44 pts +32 pl 18
  2. Cardiff* 33 pts +32 pl 14
  3. Charlton 32 pts +25 pl 14
  4. Coventry 30 pts +36 pl 14
  5. Portsmouth 29 pts +20 pl 15

Brighton keep their 11 points lead against the second team. Cardiff thanks to their win at Lewes overtake Charlton and Coventry. Those three teams have four games on hand over Brighton, so they could be really close to the Seagulls come the end of the season.

Brighton have four remaining League games, while the other title contenders have seven or eight games. They might be finished with their league fixtures by the end of March while other sides will be still playing come early May.

No wonder the FA decided to move the FA WSL to Summer football. But saying that, they still cannot arrange a proper scheduling in the Summer competition either.


Who will partner Delie up front for France against Norway ?

With Eugenie Le Sommer unable to play due to injury, Phillipe Bergeroo will have to use a new partnership up front for the Norway friendly to be played at La Manga next week.

Since he took over from Bruno Bini right after the 2013 Euros, Phillipe Bergeroo has always used a combination of his three senior forwards Eugenie Le Sommer, Marie-Laure Delie and Gaetane Thiney for the serious games when squad rotation was not used.

Gaetane Thiney is no longer called up for the France team due to disagreements with the manager, although football performances is the official reason for not calling her up. The player who has taken over the place and the squad number as well #17, Clarisse Le Bihan is also injured . The big question is who will partner Delie up front?

Phillipe Bergeroo favours the 4-4-2 system and his current best 11 is well known : Bouhaddi, Houara Georges Renard Boulleau or Majri, Thomis Abily Henry Necib, Le Sommer Delie. He always starts with the same system regardless of the opposition.

The only variation to the 4-4-2 we have seen so far is when game management happens and Bergeroo tries to protect a lead and switches to 4-1-4-1 by removing a forward and putting a defensive midfielder on.

There are four forwards selected out of the 22 players squad :

Marie-Laure Delie who is short of playing time with PSG at the moment, but in a better situation than before the winter break when she was not even making the matchday squad.

22 years old Vivianne Asseyi has been called up as a replacement with Eugenie Le Sommer and Sandie Toletti withdrawing due to injury.

19 years old soon to be 20 and in form center forward Marie-Charlotte Leger has scored 11 League goals in 14 and might be given a first start for Les Bleues. She has two caps so far, coming on as a late sub twice.

18 years old and soon 19 Delphine Cascarino has been called up for the first time and will not be starting the game as Bergeroo has never made such a move before, unless she can show exceptional skill in the next few days training.

The most likely option is actually to have an attacking midfielder playing behind Delie and one player has been used in the past in the 4-4-1-1 system which is a slight variation of the 4-4-2 as we all know. Claire Lavogez, the 21 years old who missed the decisive penalty in the World Cup quarter final against Germany is likely to be paired with Delie.

Louisa Necib could in theory play there as well, but Phillipe Bergeroo prefers to have her on the left wing the same way Jacques Santini used to have Zinedine Zidane there at Euros 2004. Is she at her most effective there ? Probably not but she certainly links up well with the full back bombing behind her either Boulleau or Majri, a combination similar to the Zidane Lizarazu that brought up success in 98 and 2000 when Bergeroo was goalkeeping coach under Aime Jacquet.

With Henry currently injured, France starting 11 against a strong Norway side is likely to be looking like his best available 11 :

Bouhaddi, Houara Georges Renard Boulleau or Majri, Thomis Abily Bussaglia Necib, Lavogez Delie

The Rio Olympics are seven months away and Phillipe Bergeroo will need to find a reliable back-up plan should one of his two main forward be injured or suspended during the tournament.

The FA WPL promotion race to WSL 2 Ep 2

First games of 2016 and guess what : P-P was the biggest winner this week-end with many games called off except for the teams using 3G pitches.

Only two League games played today due to the inclement weather and both were tight games with Coventry winning 11-0 and Preston 13-0. Preston now tops the Northern Division on goal difference while Coventry goes up third place.

Northern Division

1.PNE 29 pts +38 pl 13

2.Forest 29 pts +16 pl 13

3. Stoke 26 pts + 20 pl 12

4. Blackburn 26 pts +15 pl 13

5. Derby 22 pts +4 pl 13

6. SC Albion 21 pts +13 pl 9

PNE  overtake Forest and have virtually an extra point on everyone thanks to their huge goal difference. That leaves Derby nearly out of the promotion race, but as long as they are not mathematically out…

The next league games involving the top teams are on the 24th of January.


Southern Division

1.Brighton 41 pts +29 pl 17

2. Charlton 32 pts +25 pl 14

3. Coventry 30 pts +36 pl 14

4. Cardiff* 30 pts + 29 pl 13

5. Portsmouth 29 pts +20 pl 15

Coventry jumps two places on the table and close the gap on leaders Brighton to 11 points.

Next League games for the top five teams according to Full-Time

17th of January

C&K Basildon v Brighton

Lewes v Cardiff City

Portsmouth v Cardiff City (!)



The FA WPL promotion race to FA WSL 2

Here is a look at the promotion chasers for the 2015/16 FA WPL season.


First let’s remind ourselves of the rules set in the FA WPL handbook :

“The first placed teams of the Northern and Southern Divisions shall compete in a play-off final match to determine the overall FA Women’s Premier League Champion.
The match will be 90 minutes duration with the addition of extra-time and
penalties if required. This play-off final match date and venue will be decided by the Management Committee. Should either of the first placed teams decline to compete in the play-off final match, the title shall be awarded to the non-defaulting Club.
For season 2015/16 the Champion Club as determined by the Play Off Match
outlined at paragraph (iv) will be promoted to FA WSL subject to eligibility and ability to meet FA WSL Licensing Criteria.”


Northern Division

Teams ranked first to sixth can hope to reach the play-off game at the moment although Derby in fifth place will have a lot of work to do to catch up on the leaders.

1. Nottingham Forest 29 pts  +16 pl 13

2. PNE 26 pts +25 pl 12

3. Stoke City 26 pts + 20 pl 12

4. Blackburn Rovers 26 pts + 15 pl 13

5. Derby County 22 pts +4 pl 13

6. Sporting Club Albion 21 pts + 13 pl 9

Forest, PNE, Stoke and SC Albion have only lost two games so far, while Blackburn have lost three and Derby five. Should SC Albion win all their games in hand they would lead the table.

This League might go to goal difference, the next months will be interesting to see if one side manages to get away from the pack.


Southern Division

The top five teams can reasonably hope for promotion although Portsmouth will need a strong run to catch up on the leaders Brighton. Most of the chasing pack have a lot of games on hand from two to four, so although Brighton lead is huge : nine points it is a virtually a small one.

1.Brighton 41 pts +29 pl 17

2. Charlton 32 pts +25 pl 14

3. Cardiff* 30 pts + 29 pl 13

4. Portsmouth 29 pts +20 pl 15

5. Coventry 27 pts +25 pl 13

*Note as far as I know Cardiff are not eligible for promotion to the FA WSL because they are not affiliated to an English County

Brighton, Charlton and Coventry have lost two games so far, Cardiff three and Portsmouth four. Pompey probably need not to loose any more game to finish top.

You have to say, scheduling is curious as Brighton have only five more games to play at the winter mid-season break. They have Portsmouth at home and four away games, including a decisive game away to title contender Coventry on the 31/01/16.

The Championship play-off final is provisonally scheduled on Sunday the 22nd of May 2016 while the FA full-time website indicated final League games to be played on the 20th of March two months earlier.

Saying that we know that cup runs and bad weather will create havoc with the fixture list and therefore will bring the end of the League season closer to the play-off game date.