England U-20 WWC squad revealed

Mo Marley has named her squad for the the FIFA U-20 WWC that will take place from the 5th to the 24th of August in France. There is no real surprise among the 21 players selected with maybe three or four players who are slightly debatable choices.

The squad is as follows :

Goalkeepers: Sandy MacIver (Clemson University), Emily Ramsey (Manchester United), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)

Defenders: Megan Finnigan (Everton), Grace Fisk (University of South Carolina), Taylor Hinds (Everton), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Mayumi Pacheco (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Anna Patten (Florida State University)

Midfielders: Georgia Allen (Syracuse University), Zoe Cross (University of Missouri), Ali Johnson* (Bristol), Chloe Peplow (Brighton & Hove Albion), Mollie Rouse (University of Louisville)

Forwards: Rinsola Babajide (Liverpool), Niamh Charles (Liverpool), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Chloe Kelly (Everton), Alessia Russo (University of North Carolina), Georgia Stanway* (Manchester City), Charlie Wellings (Birmingham City).

Although England consider Stanway as a forward, I have always seen her as an attacking midfielder and therefore will put her as midfielder. And Johnson will be considered as a forward as she is a winger, although her new club considers her as a full-back.

To me, Mo Marley has been very logical and consistent and therefore there are 17 players selected who were 100% sure to be there in my opinion.

I actually had 19 players very likely to make it, but two of them did not more many reasons. Ellie Brazil who was not selected at her request and Lotte Wubben-Moy who has just come back from a long term injury and therefore not fit for a World Cup.

So alongside those expected 17 players, there are only four players, where selection is only slightly debatable as there is no real controversy surrounding those four players.

In goal, the choice was made between Sian Rogers and Emily Ramsey. The United goalkeeper got the nod, was it because she has a bigger potential or because Rogers had not fully recovered from her League injuries towards the end of the season. Ramsey is likely to be third choice and will have an important role in helping the number one goalie.

In defense

Esme Morgan who numerically replaces Lotte Wubben-Moy has had first team experience with Manchester City and can play at right-back or centre back.

Some fans mentioned that Samantha Tierney was consistent in term of playing time and performance for Doncaster Belles, but with City playing at a higher level including Champions League, you can see the logic in selecting Morgan. Lucy Parker also had a good season with her University, but that was not enough to be selected.

In midfield

Five players selected all as expected. Consistent and logical choices from Mo Marley.

In attack

There are two small surprises there imo. Alicia Johnson and Rinsola Babajide.

I had wrongly not even registered Johnson on my radar, as I have not seen much of her throughout the season. So I actually had no idea of the level because half an hour on tv does not tell you much if a players has been good or not. The Liverpool regulars will have a better and well informed view on her performances.

The other player who is a half-surprise to me is Rinsola Babajide. She is rightly there because, she has been ever present around the squad for two seasons and there would be no real reason to drop her out of the squad. Except the lack of club playing time from January.

Because there are seven forwards selected, those two players actually add a certain balance to the squad and different profiles from the other five players. Therefore it is only a half surprise to see them selected.

Players in the long list like Rianna Dean, Charlie Devlin and Hannah Cain who were consistent in FA WSL2 could also have got a shout, but it is always a question of having a squad of players who complement each other and are useful during the tournament.

 

England have a good chance of getting  a medal should they get out of the tough group stage. They will first play Korea DPR the holders, who are always a bit of unknown quantity. Then Brazil and will finish the group stage with Mexico.

Then depending on the results in Group A, England could face the hosts France, Ghana, the Netherlands or New-Zealand in the quarter-finals. From the semi-finals on, everything is possible, even winning the title.

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All D1 Feminine games to be shown live on tv in 2018/19

The original post in French can be found here on http://www.footofeminin.fr.

The Canal Plus group has won the tv rights for the D1 Feminine for three seasons 2018-21*. Until now, Eurosport and France television were showing around a dozen games each. The FFF had decided to speed up the tv broadcasting development by offering the D1 Feminine rights to the channels who could show ALL the games live from this season. Canal + has won the battle and therefore it is a huge step forward for women’s football in term of media exposure.

There will be two main games on every matchday. One on Saturday that will be the leading game on Canal + Sport with the League game snow moved from their traditional Sunday spot to Saturday afternoon. The games will now take place at 2.30 pm.

Then the second main game will be played on Sundays at 3pm on Canal + Sport again. The remaining four games will be broadcast live on Saturdays on Foot + allowing the fans to either follow their favorite team for the whole game or  watch the leading Saturday game but without missing the key moments from the other games via the multiplex system.

Then during the half-time break from the Ligue 1 game ( men’s football) shown live on Canal + at 5pm, there should be a 12 minutes highlight show on the D1 Feminine. As usual with any Canal + football game, journalist and consultants/pundits will be commentating from the sidelines.  The Canal + group is hoping to drum up interest in the women’s game, as this season will lead us to the FIFA WWC that will take place in France in June 19.

 

Highlights to be shown in multiple Canal + football programs

They have decided to boost the D1 Feminine coverage with many stories and articles to be added to the highlights that will be shown in the main football programs like Jour de Foot on Saturday evenings. On Sundays afternoon, during the half-time show from the Ligue 1 game, shown on Canal +, the highlights from the D1  Feminine Sunday games will be also shown. Then in the evening, the Canal Football Club will also show the highlights from the afternoon game.

Laure Boulleau, the former France and PSG player has just signed up for the Canal Football Club following her retirement from football and therefore will deliver her expertise on the Ligue 1 and D1 Feminine. And finally, the J+1 and Late Football Club will  have players and coaches from women’s football in those shows during the season.

This is major investment for Canal + who have decided to be major actor of the women’s football development in France. IT will be up to the players and coaches to offer and entertaining football. Investments  have already been made to upgrade the facilities at the different clubs as there will be six cameras positioned around the pitches.
Improvements in the stands and publicity boards have also been requested to the clubs as everything needs to be ready in the less than a month when the season starts. As mentioned by the paper Le Parisien, Canal + has paid  6 M€ over 5 years ie 1,2 M€ per season. A huge increase from the previous contract signed in 2011 ( 110 000 €) and 2017 ( 200 000 € )
* five years contract as per the end of the article

England U-20 squad long list published by the FA, who will make it to the finals ?

In a break from their usual  modus operandi of not publishing the long lists for international tournament, the FA has named their 35 players squad for the FIFA U-20 WWC that will take place in August in France.

The long squad is as follows and my 35 players prediction list is actually quite close to it.

Long squad:

Georgia Allen (Syracuse University), Rinsola Babajide (Liverpool), Hannah Cain (Sheffield FC), Niamh Charles (Liverpool), Zoe Cross (University of Missouri), Rianna Dean (Millwall Lionesses), Charlie Devlin (Millwall Lionesses), Megan Finnigan (Everton), Grace Fisk (University of South Carolina), Serena Fletcher (Manchester City), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Taylor Hinds (Everton), Alicia Johnson (Liverpool), Chloe Kelly (Everton), Sandy MacIver (Clemson University), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Jess Ngunga (Arsenal), Mayumi Pacheco (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Aimee Palmer (Bristol City), Anna Patten (Florida State University), Poppy Pattinson (Manchester City), Lucy Parker (Louisiana State University), Chloe Peplow (Brighton & Hove Albion), Emily Ramsey (Liverpool), Rebecca Rayner (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), Sian Rogers (Aston Villa), Mollie Rouse (University of Louisville), Alessia Russo (University of North Carolina), Connie Scofield (Birmingham City), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), Samantha Tierney (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Ella Toone (Manchester City), Charlie Wellings (Birmingham City), Lotte Wubben-Moy (University of North Carolina).

The big omission is Ellie Brazil and Mo Marley has commented about her choice :

“I wanted to acknowledge Ellie Brazil’s contribution over the last year and her non-inclusion.

“In recent weeks we have had discussions about where she is at with her career and agreed together that it would be best for her to focus on her own development during this period.

“Everyone respects this decision and of course Ellie will remain very much part of our plans in future.”

Quite what it means is subject to interpretation but Ellie was a certainty for me to be in the final squad as mentioned in my previous post. It opens the door for a forward to make the final 21 players squad.

Here are the players that I did not have in my original  squad prediction and who could make it to France :

Jess N’Gunga  FW ( Arsenal), Aimee Palmer MF ( Bristol City) , Poppy Pattinson LB ( Manchester City), Rebecca Rayner MF ( Doncaster Belles), Connie Scofield MF ( Birmingham City).

Regarding Jess N’Gunga, there are many players in the queue for the forward place and many of them have had first team experience this season, while she has had very little with two or three games on as a sub.

Aimee Palmer, Rebbeca Rayner  and Connie  Scofield certainly have a chance to make the final 21 if Mo Marley selects six midfielders as I believe the five mains slots are clearly locked. The would have to compete with Charlotte Devlin for the the possible sixth slot who had an excellent season with Millwall.

Poppy Pattinson is your classic left-back and looks to me in the queue behind Mayumi Pacheco and Taylor  Hinds and had certainly a lot less first team experience that the other two players, but would be a logical back-up if one of them end up being injured.

Let’s have an updated final 21 players squad prediction. As per the FIFA rules the 21 players must be selected from the 35 players long-list

GOALKEEPERS – 3 SLOTS

There are four players competing in the squad. Sandy McIver and Ellie Roebuck are definitely going if they are not injured IMO. The final place is between Sian Rogers and Emily Ramsey.

The third goalkeeper place is a special one as that player in general is unlikely to play during the tournament, it requires a player with an excellent mentality to help and prepare the number one goalie.  Either the coaching staff will go for the player with the most first team experience or with the player who can learn from the experience and then bring in the next cycle for the next U20 World Cup in  2020.

DEFENDERS – 6 OR 7  SLOTS

As in my previous post, the following six players should be logically selected, pending injuries of course : Mayumi Pacheco, Grace Fisk, Lotte Wubben-Moy,  Anna Patten, Megan Finnigan Taylor Hinds

Then for the last spot, we have two versatile players who had consistent club season Lucy Parker and Samantha Thierney and a up and coming also versatile player, who could learn from the experience and bring it in the next U20 World Cup Esme Morgan.

Another tough choice to make for Mo Marley and her coaching staff. Obviously we do not know how the players perform at the training camp as it certainly influences the final choice.

MIDFIELDERS – 5 OR 6 SLOTS

To me the five spots are locked : Georgia Stanway, Chloe Peplow, Mollie Rouse, Zoe Cross,  Georgia Allen should all make it. If one of them do not make it, it would defy the logic. England have taken those five players to the tournaments and camp on regular basis and therefore should select them.
But a surprise is possible, if we remember what happened to the senior squad in 2015. Demi Stokes who was ever present during the qualifiers missed out altogether with Alex Greenwood and Claire Rafferty making the squad ahead of her.

For the sixth slot, Charlotte Devlin had a very good season with Millwall and should have a shout. Or depending on what kind of profile Mo Marly wants to take as a sixth midfielder Aimee Palmer, Rebbeca Rayner and Connie Scofield could be there.

But considering Lucy Parker and Samantha Tierney can  play in defense and midfield, I tend to think, it will be five midfielders and seven defenders in the squad with six forwards.

FORWARDS – 6 OR 7 SLOTS

Of course Mo Marley could decide in a 6-5-7 configuration with seven forwards, but having six of them means every position is doubled up, which should be enough.

I think that Chloe Kelly, Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp  should be on the plane to Brittany . If Mo Marley follows the squad logic from previous call-ups Niamh Charles should make it as well.

Then you have two remaining places Charlie Wellings’ club form would make her a favourite to get one of these seats. And for the last remaining place, it is simply impossible to know who could get it. It should be between Rinsola Babajide and Rianna Dean with the Liverpool forward slightly favourite as she has been ever present in previous despite her lack of playing time in the FA WSL1.

 

Overall I think 18 players are nailed on certainties :  Sandy McIver, Ellie Roebuck, Mayumi Pacheco, Grace Fisk, Lotte Wubben-Moy*,  Anna Patten, Megan Finnigan, Taylor Hinds, Georgia Stanway, Chloe Peplow, Mollie Rouse, Zoe Cross,  Georgia Allen, Chloe Kelly, Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp, Niamh Charles, Charlie Wellings’

Therefore three places could be available. We will soon now when Mo Marley names her squad for the tournament that is starting in four weeks.

*just back in training, could be short of match fitness and therefore not in the squad.