WC Countdown: Group F – Sweden

Onto the last team in the last group, which is Sweden! This is where I’m from so please excuse any potential bias. All jokes aside, this preview will wrap up my WWC Wednesdays, which I’ve taken so much pleasure in doing, and we’ll now be looking forward to an amazing month of football in France!

Sweden is a consistent contender at the World Cup, and haven’t missed a single tournament so far. They’ve always done quite well, but haven’t been very consistent. They’ve ended up with two bronze, one at the inaugural edition in China in 1991, as well as in Germany in 2011 and they’ve also hosted it once, in 1995. They struggled for good results at the last World Cup and the Euros 2017 wasn’t their year either, but they did grab a silver medal at the Olympics 2016, having beaten both the USA and Brazil on their way to the final against Germany.

Their qualification route to the World Cup was quite straightforward, and they won all of their matches except for a loss against Ukraine, but they beat Hungary, Croatia and Denmark to qualify for the tournament.

The Swedish team tends to play and exist in a very collective aura, meaning that they do not really have any players that stand out from the crowd as extraordinary, but their strength rather lies in the fact that they play well together, especially since the very unfortunate retirement of Lotta Schelin, one of the most outstanding forwards in Sweden but also in the rest of Europe. But even so, there are some cogs in the team worth mentioning. Stina Blackstenius is the young and energetic forward, with three goals in seven appearances during the qualifying, who was the top scorer in the U-19 World Cup four years ago and the only goalscorer in that quarterfinal victory against the US who also got a goal against Germany in the final. Other attacking players to keep an eye out for are Olivia Schough, Sofia Jacobsson, 21-year-old Julia Zigiotti-Olme and of course – Kosovare Asllani. Kosse, as she’s called, is the creative force that Sweden can rely on in the midfield, and she’s going to be an important source of goals.

Sweden women's national football team
Celebrating after beating Brazil at the Olympics, source

They also have a very strong defence, led by 34-year-old Nilla Fischer who still manages to perform on a consistently high level. Sweden only conceded twice in their qualifying and for her club, VFL Wolfsburg, she helped keep 15 clean sheets in the past season. Another rock in the Swedish defence is goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl. The 36-year-old is going to her fifth World Cup as the starting goalkeeper and it is thanks to her steady composure that Sweden can keep up their high-pressure playing style. She’s a good decision maker and her experience weighs very heavy here.

Peter Gerhardsson is the coach of the team since 2017 when he took over for Pia Sundhage. A former player himself, he represented several Swedish clubs playing as an attacker, before going into the role as a coach. He has previously managed several clubs, most notably BK Häcken, a male team in the top flight of Swedish football, for seven years before taking the job for the women’s national team. Gerhardsson seems to favour his team to play a 3-4-2-1, inviting that pressing style Sweden likes to play.

The Swedish squad played a few friendlies last autumn, notably beating England and Norway, but lost 0-1 to Italy. They also took part in the Algarve Cup in March, beating Switzerland but losing to Portugal and Canada which saw them end up in fourth place in the tournament. Their biggest clash in the group stages is without a doubt going to be against the US. The two teams have met on five occasions, which makes this game the most recurring one in the WC history, and Sweden won their last meeting as the two of them met in the quarterfinals of the Olympics in 2016. The Swedes beat them and Hope Solo went on a rant calling the team ‘cowards’.

That’s a wrap on the last team in the last group, and now all we have to do is wait for the whole thing to kick off! You can never count Sweden out, but undoubtedly a lot depends on what result they can get from their meeting with the Americans. Do you think the Swedes have what it takes? Let us know in the comment section!

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WC Countdown: Group F – Chile

The third team out in group F is Chile, another newcomer on the biggest of the international stages.

La Roja, as the team is called, put in a good shift to qualify for the World Cup in France. They’ve been close to qualifying several times before, before finally managing to break through last year. Together with Brazil, Chile is the only team to have never missed a Copa America Femenina. They started off their qualification journey with a draw against Paraguay and Colombia, they then went on to win against Uruguay and Peru before experiencing their only loss in the tournament to eventual winners Brazil. They drew with Colombia again before then going to pull off an impressive 4-0 over Argentina, their big rivals.

In the Chile team, one of the most outstanding players is Christiane Endler, the goalkeeper and captain of the squad. Endler represents PSG in France, and with her size as well as her reflexes and overall skills, she’s a top goalkeeper and a leader on and off the pitch who can deliver in the big games.

“It has changed a lot over the last couple of years and that is really satisfying for me. It means the work we are doing now is getting the results we want, and we are maybe opening doors for new generations of women, who might have it a bit easier to achieve in sport in Chile,” Endler said to FIFA.

Chile women's national football team
Chile celebrating a goal against rivals Argentina, source

On the midfield and up the front Yanara Aedo is a big presence and with her three goals in seven games during the qualification, she’s established herself as a source of goals. Camila Saez is a defender, but that doesn’t hold her back from scoring goals and she contributed with as many goals as forward Maria Rojas during the qualification. Another name to remember is veteran Francisca Lara, who links up very well with Karen Araya on the midfield to contribute to Chile’s attack.

It’s not easy being a female football player in Chile, and fullback Fernanda Pinilla told ESPNW about some of the inequalities the players continuously face.

“Football here is a sport for men,” Pinilla said. “We live almost as rebels due to this mentality in Chile that there are certain things that men do and certain things that women do. I’ve never been on the end of verbal or physical abuse for playing football, but the institutions here have certainly discriminated against us.

there are certain things that men do and certain things that women do

“I don’t have the same training conditions as a male player, which for me amounts to discrimination. The worst equipment and most inconvenient training times are reserved for women. A lot of women’s teams don’t have a medical team working with them, looking after them. These are all forms of discrimination against female players in Chile.”

The coach of the national team is Jose Letelier, who’s been heading the team since 2015. He is a former goalkeeper himself and won the Copa Libertadores title back in 1991 with Colo-Colo. After his playing career was over, he took over the reins at his former club’s women’s side in 2010, and together they won 10 straight domestic titles and the Copa Libertadores Femenina in 2012.

Chile has been playing a few friendlies since they qualified for the tournament last year, but the results have not really been going their way and in their last few games leading up to their departure for France in these days, they’ve played (and lost) against Germany, Netherlands, Jamaica and drawn with Scotland and Colombia.

There we have a bit more information about Chile! It’s going to be difficult for this team, new on the world stage, to stand up against powerhouses like the USA and Sweden, but you never know! Do you think this team, known to pull off good results in tough games, can do it? Let us know below!

WC Countdown: Group F – Thailand

Next up in group F is no other than Thailand!

It was only back in 2015 that Thailand made it to their first World Cup, and their first run at it was not the most successful, as they had to say goodbye after the group stages. The team, also nicknamed Chaba Kaew, qualified for France after making it to the semifinals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, where they ended up finishing fourth – their best result in 32 years. Thailand began the tournament by losing out 4-0 to China, but then they won against Jordan and the Philippines to make it through to the last four, where they tied 2-2 with Australia and only just missed out on the final after losing on penalties. In the game for the third place they came up against China again and lost, this time 3-1.

Kanjana Sungngoen is one of the most important names in the squad, having secured their qualification for the 2015 edition of the tournament with two crucial goals against Vietnam. The forward was also a very important puzzle piece for Thailand’s qualification this time around, and she contributed with three goals at the Women’s Asian Cup. Sungngoen is extremely fast, and her movements on the pitch are at times undetectable, as she seems to move without moving. Another crucial name in the squad is Rattikan Thongsombut, the midfielder with a high work rate who is used to putting in a shift on the midfield as well as scoring goals. She scored against Australia in the semifinal of the Women’s Asian Cup and her goal would’ve taken them through, had it not been for the Matildas’ 91st-minute equalizer.

Thailand women's national football team
Celebrating their qualification, source

Coach Nuengruethai Sathongwien is one of only nine female coaches going to the World Cup this summer. She has already coached the team once, leading them to their first ever appearance at a World Cup in 2015, as well as their first win in the tournament when they beat Ivory Coast 3-2. She then left the position but returned in October 2017 and has managed to repeat the feat of qualifying her team for the finals. She doesn’t seem to have a consistent style in her choice of formation but rather prefers to mix it up in the months leading to the tournament. A 4-2-3-1, as well as a 4-4-2, has seemed to be working well for the team so far.

In June last year, they played the AFF Women’s Championship, where they mopped the floor with opponents like Cambodia and Malaysia, and they even beat Australia twice. They also played the Women’s Asian Games but ended up losing all three games. In Thailand’s first time participating at the Cyprus Women’s Cup, that is a warm-up tournament in the spring ahead of the tournament involving teams from all over the world, they only managed to win against Hungary but lost out to Mexico, Italy and Nigeria. Thereafter they played friendlies against France and Belgium, which they both lost.

That’s a roundup on Thailand, the second team in group F. They’ve got quite a tough lot to go up against, with the likes of the USA and Sweden battling it out for a first place in the group. Do you believe that Thailand could upset any of these teams? Leave a comment below!

WC Countdown: Group F – USA

It is time for the last group, and we only have DAYS until the biggest tournament of the summer kicks off! Four teams remain to be reviewed, and first up in group F is no other than the USA.

This is a team and a nation used to winning. Ever since the first inaugural Women’s World Cup took place in China in 1991, which the US won, they’ve come to set the tone for what is possible to expect from this team. They’ve won three World Cups in 1991, 1999 and 2015, which is the most out of any team, they’ve won four Olympic women’s gold medals, eight CONCACAF Gold Cups as well as ten Algarve Cups. To add to this, they’ve gotten a medal in every World Cup and Olympic tournament from 1991 to 2015 (until the Olympics in Rio 2016 when they were kicked out in the quarterfinals by Sweden). That is quite a silverware collection this team has got so far, and they’ll be looking for more. They cruised through the qualification tournament, beating Mexico, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and at last Canada in the final to secure their ticket to France.

The US is known for developing star players, and this team is no exception. In a country where a lot of the resources are devoted to women’s football, the game is flourishing and a lot of talent has the possibility to come through, important key points that have allowed the US to dominate the women’s football scene for a long time. They simply invest in the game and in their players, and it’s impossible to know where to start when talking about the star players on the national team since they’ve got such depth. Do you start with Alex Morgan, the fighter striker feared by goalkeepers? Or do you start with Mallory Pugh that is such a promising young goalscorer, or why not Carli Lloyd, the veteran who will go into her fourth World Cups and became a legend after her hat trick in the WC final 2015? Or Lindsey Horan, Kelley O’Hara, Meghan Rapinoe, Christen Press or Tobin Heath? There is simply no shortage of talent in this team, especially on the attacking side.

The United States women's national soccer team
Celebrating a goal, source

Unfortunately, despite everything this team has done, they’ve still got to fight against a lot of stereotypes and unfair treatment and recently the team filed a lawsuit, a gender discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation, requesting equal pay. This feels especially frustrating considering the fact that this team is without a doubt one of the biggest nations in women’s football in 2019 who have to go up against their own boss, US Soccer, because they’re still paying the men more than women, even in a country where men’s football is very scarce and their men’s national team didn’t even qualify for the WC in 2018. Meanwhile, the women have – over the course of only seven World Cups in the women’s game – won it three times. Talk about superiority. But that doesn’t protect them from being treated unfairly by their own federation. A numbers example: in 2014 when the United States men’s team were kicked out of the World Cup in the last 16, they received nine (9) million dollars. When the women’s team won the World Cup 2015, they received two (2) million dollars.

It remains to be seen what will happen with the lawsuit, but it’s hard not to argue the fact that they had to file it at an uncomfortable time, adding more pressure to their already pressured World Cup campaign, going into the tournament as defending champions.

Jill Ellis has been in charge of the team since 2014 when she took over from Tom Sermanni (who now coaches New Zealand), and she first led them to their World Cup victory back in 2015. Ellis, who is from England, did not play any organised football until her family moved to the US when she was 15, as such a thing as football for women did not exist for girls in the 70’s, but she went on to play a lot of football. She has previously worked for different college teams and was the assistant coach for Pia Sundhage during her reign at the national team, and she has also worked with the US U-20 and U-21 previously. Ellis likes to play it very consistent with her 4-3-3 formation and has had success with it so far.

The USWNT has played a few friendlies this spring leading up to the tournament. They participated in the SheBelieves cup back in March on home soil, winning over Brazil but drawing with Japan and England, and they did not have a chance at the title. Since then they’ve played Australia, Belgium, South Africa, New Zealand and Mexico, winning against all of the teams and only conceding against the Matildas.

That’s a quick round-up on the US women’s national team. The Americans are favoured by many to grab another title and make it back-to-back cups, but first, they have to get out of their group, which can prove to be tricky with several good teams in the way. Do you think the US can do it again? Let us know in the comment section!

WC Countdown: Group E – Netherlands

We are now on the last team in the second to last group in the World Cup Countdown, and the tournament is only a few weeks away. Let’s take a look at the Netherlands!

The Netherlands, also called the Oranje Leeuwinnen (the Orange Lionesses), come into this tournament grasping onto one of the last straws, having had to qualify for the last spot. The Euro winners, who claimed the title on home soil in 2017, have only qualified for one World Cup before and that was Canada 2015, where they didn’t get further than the round of 16. But this time around they will come in with some confidence, having beaten several tough teams to get to that last sweet qualification spot, and surely the magic of their Euros win still linger over them. They played Northern Ireland twice, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia and Norway, winning every game but the one against the Scandinavians, which was enough to place them only second in the group, after Norway who qualified directly. This meant they had to qualify for that last spot, playing both Denmark and Switzerland over two legs, winning both games 4-1 on aggregate.

When looking at the Leeuwinnen squad, there is one star that shines very bright indeed. Lieke Martens, the midfielder/forward who is one of the best female footballers in the world, has been the one leading her team through the qualification process. With her dribbling skills and her intelligent plays, she contributes a lot on the field and not just in terms of goals. She was a vital cog in the team that won the 2017 Euros and she was voted The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2017. We also have an up and coming star that just doesn’t seem to be able to stop scoring. The young but already oh-so-mature Vivianne Miedema scored seven goals in the nine games she represented the Netherlands in on their qualification journey, and in England, where she represents Arsenal in the WSL (Women’s Super League), she was the top scorer of the season with 22 goals in 20 games. Talk about lethal!

Danielle Van De Donk, a teammate with Miedema in Arsenal, will also be an integral presence in the team, as she can contribute with vital goals as well as set her teammates up thanks to her creativity on the pitch. Shanice Van Der Sanden, Lineth Beerensteyn and Sherida Spitse are other important influences contributing with goals.

Defender Kika van Es spoke to FIFA about the importance of the Euros win and what an impact it’s had on the team in terms of expectations, and the perception of women’s football in the Netherlands.

“We want to be underdogs and we are telling everybody that because this is only our second World Cup.

“The World Cup is so different to the EUROs, being world champions will be very difficult, so we see ourselves as underdogs, which is better for us,” she said.

“Before the EUROs, nobody knew who we were, and then a month later it was crazy.

“Little kids can now dream of being a professional and it’s now easier to play football with other girls. We also showed parents that football is also for girls, not only for boys.

“For us, we think it’s good that we are playing in the north of France, so a lot of Dutch fans can come and support us. I think it is going to be a great World Cup and a great year,” she continued.

Sarina Wiegman
Head coach Wiegman, source

Head coach Sarina Wiegman is one of the reasons for the team’s huge success, and she’s had a massive impact on the team since she arrived in January 2017. With only a few months to go until the Euros kicking off on home soil and after having been an assistant coach and interim coach to the national side during several years, it was finally her time at the helm, and she did a fantastic job leading the team to victory at the Euros, raising the confidence and the attitude of the team and encouraging them to play a more attacking style of football, which took well amongst the group of players and they gave back to their coach by playing very attractive and winning football.

The team seems to have a strong and successful identity with the 4-3-3 formation, allowing their creativity to flood on the wings and build from a strong defensive foundation.

The Leuuwinnen has had a few games leading up to the tournament. They won against South Africa 2-1 back in January, they featured in the Algarve Cup where they lost against Spain and Poland, and drew 1-1 with China, winning on penalties. They’ve also played Mexico and Chile in two friendlies, winning 2-0 and 7-0, and are going up against Australia in a send-off match before the tournament begins in France, that game being played on the 1st of June, kick off 18:15.

That’s a wrap on our Orange Lionesses, who will go up against some tough competition in group E. How do you think that they will do? Let us know in the comment section!

WC Countdown: Group E – New Zealand

We head deeper into group E and next up is New Zealand.

The Football Ferns, which is the nickname of the island’s beloved team, will head to their fifth World Cup, having qualified for their first back in 1991 for the inaugural cup in China. It would then be a 14-year long wait until they qualified for their next one, the 2007 edition, and they’ve qualified for all the others since, although never being able to make it out of the group stages. The road to France was quite a straightforward one for the Ferns, as they went through the qualification with 42 goals scored and 0 conceded in their five games. They went up against  Tonga, Cook Island, Fiji and New Caledonia, winning with numbers like 11-0 and 8-0 in the OFC Women’s Nations Cup.

Ali Riley is one of the names to look out for in the squad, as the vastly experienced fullback is looking to add another World Cup to her belt, having already played in three World Cups and three Olympics. The team captain is a strong presence at the back, and with her knowledge of big tournaments, she’ll be a huge asset. This is quite the comeback squad that coach Tom Sermanni will bring to France. Striker Hannah Wilkinson suffered a serious ACL-injury back in October, but thanks to her grit and determination she has managed to work her way back to match-fitness and is one of the 23 players named in the squad going to the World Cup.

hannah wilkinson
Wilkinson representing the Ferns, source

“I am so honoured to be named in this squad. It was an amazing feeling last week when I got the call from Tom. I am also really proud of myself because I know that I have worked really hard to get back,” she said.

“The first thing I thought about when the injury happened was France. That my World Cup dream was over. But my mentality from the get-go was to focus and work hard every day. I had doubt coming from all areas so that was a real test to listen to my inner self and my inner belief. Month after month I saw the progress. Suddenly we hit five months and I was looking pretty good to come back. There have been a lot of important lessons and it has been quite a journey,” she continued.

Another forward who has made it into the team is Emma Kete, who got the spot ahead of other strikers despite only having her first appearance for the Ferns since 2015 earlier this year.

“Emma’s comeback is a great lesson in maturity and how you can really play your way back in. If you are really focused, work hard and look to do the right things, you have got an opportunity. She has come back into the fold after being away from the team for a long time, but she has shown her intent to be a part of this squad,” coach Sermanni said of the forward.

Another important player to have on the team is defender Abby Erceg, a real veteran who has more than 100 senior appearances for the Ferns and who came out of retirement for a second time in January, only to be selected for the team for a fourth World Cup.

The Scottish coach Sermanni has a lot of experience in the women’s game, and this will be his fourth World Cup, having started his illustrious career with Australia back in 1995. He rejoined the Matildas to lead them to the quarterfinals in 2007 and 2011, took over the United States women’s national team for a year, was amongst the staff for the Canadian women’s national team during the World Cup 2015, then Orlando Pride for two years, before returning to international duty in October 2018 with the Ferns.

The Scot is a welcome refresher in the team after the previous coach Andreas Heraf caused a lot of drama. The Austrian coach spoke after the team lost 2-0 to Japan back in June 2018, saying that New Zealand “will never have (the) quality to compete” with the likes of Japan, which caused a lot of upset and lead to serious allegations emerging about the coach. The players association sent the NZF a letter voicing concerns about the coach, and 13 players had signed the letter saying they did not want to work under him anymore, as the coach allegedly upheld a ‘culture of intimidation’ and Ercag, the retired player who returned, described him as ‘delusional’.

Sermanni seems to change in between formations, depending on what kind of team they’re meeting, and against the likes of Norway and Australia, where he seemed to feel the need to be more defensively rigid, they played a 5-3-2, and they’ve also played the likes of 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-4-1.

New Zealand participated in the Cup of Nations, which is a friendlies tournament consisting of four teams – Australia, Argentina, South Korea and the Ferns themselves, who suffered losses to the Matildas and South Korea but beat Argentina 2-0. They also played a friendly against Norway, which they won 1-0 and is considered a huge win for the side. New Zealand is going to play some more last minute friendlies before the World Cup, going up against the US on the 17th of May, England on the 1st of June and Wales on the 4th of June, before they kick off their World Cup campaign on the 11th.

That’s a wrap on the New Zealand team, and this inspirational group of athletes is surely one to keep an eye out for. But will they be able to make it past their group that contains tough opponents like Canada and Cameroon? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!

List: Female Managers at the World Cup 2019

We have a World Cup just around the corner and right now the teams are deep in preparations. The players are getting ready mentally and physically for the biggest tournament in football, and the coaching team is in the closing stages of figuring out the squad that they will bring to France – which players will be allowed to go and who will have to stay home.

Female managers at the World Cup 2019The manager is the person that has the most influence when it comes down to the squad, even as they are surrounded by assistant coaches, attacking coaches, goalkeeper coaches and so on. It is the manager that decides what formation they want to play, who will play in what position in order to get the best out of everyone, and what tactics they will use – quite a powerful position in other words. And more often than not, this position is inherited by a man. Times have slowly changed and there are by now quite a few recognised female managers who have gone on to do great things, but there are still so few of them. Not to mention the fact that in the men’s game it is still (more or less) unheard of to have a female manager managing a professional men’s team. (Actually, two of the women on this list have managed professional men’s team but they are extremely rare).

I find it very important to put focus on the women in the game, and the ones on the sideline are no less important. To no one’s surprise, only 37,5% of the managers that will be present at the World Cup this summer are women – a mere nine out of 24 managers. All the more important to get to know them a bit better! So here is a list of the female managers that will do their best to lead their team to success in France this summer:

Corinne Diacre – France

The French coach, who will do her best to guide her team to success on home soil, is a former defender for ASJ Soyaux who also represented France internationally. Diacre became the first woman to coach a professional men’s football team in a competitive game in France back in 2014 when she took over Clemont Foot.

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg – Germany

Voss-Tecklenburg, who coaches her native Germany, is one of the biggest names amongst German female footballers, having won seven national titles and six DFB trophies as a midfielder and striker for club and country during her playing days. As a manager, she has previously coached FCR 2001 Duisburg, FF USV Jena and Switzerland women’s national team, before taking over Germany in 2019, notably after they had already qualified.

Desiree Ellis – South Africa

Desiree Ellis head coach South Africa women's national team
Desiree Ellis, source

Ellis has a long playing career behind her, retiring from the game at the age of 38. The midfielder played for Spurs Ladies for 11 years and played over 300 games for the side, and they ended up being the first club that she managed, staying with the London team for 10 years. Then in 2016 she took over the South Africa women’s national team, which she was one of the founding members of. Ellis played in the team’s first ever international match, and in her 32 caps for South Africa, she won 23 of those games, drew two and only lost seven.

Milena Bertolini – Italy

Bertolini is a huge name in Italy who has done a lot for football in Italy. The former defender played for several Italian teams, amongst them Reggiana, Bologna, Modena and Pisa, before then going into the coaching side of things. She ended up going back to her beloved Reggiana, where she stayed for seven seasons, before taking over Brescia for five years, until the national team called in 2017. Bertolini is the only female coach, together with Carolina Morace, that has the UEFA Pro license which allows her to coach a professional men’s team, a step she has yet to take.

Shelley Kerr – Scotland

Michelle, better known as “Shelley” Kerr is a former centre back who captained her native Scotland and played in clubs such as Kilmarnock, Doncaster Rovers Belles and Hibs, racking up every domestic honour that Scotland has to offer, and she also featured in the UEFA Women’s Cup. She went on to become a manager, winning the Continental Cup and FA Women’s Cup double with Arsenal in 2013. She also attained the UEFA pro license and became the first female coach to manage a professional men’s team when she took over Stirling University F.C.

Asako Takakura-Takemoto – Japan

During her active playing years, Takakura-Takemoto was an energetic and decorated midfielder, winning the L.League four years in a row with Yomiuri Beleza, getting selected as MVP two years in a row and getting selected in the ‘best eleven’ seven times. When she was 16 she debuted for the Japanese national team, featuring at World Cups and the Olympics. Her coaching career took off as she managed the Japan U-17 team, then the U20 and then the senior side.

Sarina Wiegman – The Netherlands

Wiegman started her playing career as a central midfielder but ended up drifting into the role of defender, spending her playing days in Ter Leede and was the first Dutch footballer to gain 100 caps for her country. Her managerial career began in the same club she represented as a player, Ter Leede, and from there she went on to have a few assistant and interim positions in the Netherlands Women’s national team until she finally got to take over the senior side as manager. To prove that the federation was right to entrust her with this position, she went on to guide the team to win the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 on home soil.

Jill Ellis – USA

Jill Ellis head coach usa women's national team
Jill Ellis, source

Ellis, who is originally from England, did not play any organised football until her family moved to the US in 1981, as organised football did not exist for girls in the UK in the 1970s, and she went on to feature as a forward for William & Mary, but it was coaching that grasped her heart. She started out as an assistant coach for several universities, before going on to lead UCLA to eight NCAA Final Fours and won six straight Pacific-10 Conference titles. She went on to coach the US national U-20 and U-21 teams, as well as being an assistant coach and stepping in as interim coach for the senior side on several occasions, before becoming the head coach of the team in 2014. Ellis guided her team to glory as they won the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

Nuengruethai Sathongwien – Thailand

Sathongwien was the first woman in charge of the national team, and became the first coach to lead a Thailand national team, men or women, to a World Cup as her team qualified for the 2015 Canada edition, despite receiving a lot less funding than the men’s team. She had to step down from her post in less than three months, as her team failed to get any further than the second round in the qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics. But in 2017 she returned to her position and has once again managed to get Thailand to a World Cup.

That’s an account of the nine female managers that will go to the World Cup 2019. What seems to be a common denominator amongst all of these women is the level of success they’ve had. They’re all strong and fierce, breaking barriers and being trailblazers, paving the way for future generations to come. By being visible on the big stage, these women show young girls that they can aspire to one day be the ones, on the pitch and on the sideline, guiding their team to glory.