Women’s Super League results: Chelsea edge Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, Arsenal hang on against West Ham, Liverpool beaten by Reading

8 Sep

Bethany England’s stunning fourth-minute strike sealed victory for Chelsea over London rivals Tottenham in the Women’s Super League in front of just under 25,000 fans at Stamford Bridge.

England’s early long-distance shot was enough for the Blues to secure a 1-0 win in a match they dominated for long periods in their first game of the season.

England netted a stunner at Stamford Bridge
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Spurs goalkeeper Becky Spencer kept her side in the game in the first half, making two good saves to deny Hannah Blundell and Guro Reiten.

Tottenham started to come back into the contest and came close to scoring the equaliser with their best chance of the match just four minutes after the restart when debutant Rachel Furness hit a low shot but Ann-Katrin Berger managed to dive low and make the save.

Chelsea hit the woodwork twice in the 58th minute, as Drew Spence hit a powerful strike onto the crossbar, before Reiten’s follow-up header hit the post.

The attendance figures did not break the 31,213 at the Etihad Stadium for the Manchester derby on Saturday, but dwarfed the previous season’s record of 5,265 at Brighton last season.

Elsewhere, Arsenal held on for a 2-1 victory over West Ham to begin their title defence with a win.

Beth Mead and Jill Roord’s goals were enough despite Martha Thomas’ strike for the visitors.

Chelsea got off to the perfect start at Stamford Bridge
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WSL results

Chelsea 1-0 Tottenham

Birmingham 0-1 Everton

Liverpool 0-1 Reading

Arsenal 2-1 West Ham

Arsenal star Jordan Nobbs reveals how Rob Holding helped her through injury hell

8 Sep

Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs has revealed how club-mate Rob Holding helped get her through the last nine months of injury hell.

The Gunners pair suffered serious knee injuries early last season, just weeks apart, and both are easing their way back into action at the start of the new campaign.

Nobbs missed the Lionesses’ World Cup campaign during the summer and the 27-year-old admits there were seriously difficult days as she battled her way back to fitness.

Jordan Nobbs is one of England’s most gifted players
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But, in a bittersweet stroke of fortune, she had a close friend to keep her company.

“Me and Rob did our coaching licenses together, so when we did our knees a few weeks apart, it was incredible luck,” Nobbs told talkSPORT.

“We were in the gym a lot and he’s been a massive part of my rehab. He’s one of the most positive, smiley people I’ve ever met.

“He was the perfect person to be around in the gym. It’s nice to hear someone else have the same feeling you do and know something’s not wrong.

“The likes of Ivan Gazidis and people higher up all messaged me. I’ve been here for nine years and I think they know how much I love this club.”

Prior to her injury, Nobbs had established herself as one of the best players in the Women’s Super League and her quality was sorely missed by England in France.

She added: “Especially with how well I was performing before I got injured, I was in one of the best places I’ve been in, scoring goals and physically in a great place.

Holding is yet to feature in the Premier League this season but he has returned to training
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“These last few weeks I’ve felt back to myself again. I’m sure there’s some good times for me to come, but it’s 100 per cent been one of the hardest times of my career.

“I’ve had nine months of terrible days. Days when I’ve come into the training ground and wanted to leave straight away. Days when I’ve been in the gym and I’ve got upset because all the girls are going out training.

“But I think it does make you stronger. It makes you appreciate every single bit about being a footballer.”

Man City vs Man United: First ever professional women’s Manchester derby to take place this weekend

5 Sep

The first ever professional women’s Manchester derby will take place on Saturday.

Man City face newly-promoted United at the Etihad Stadium on the opening day of the 2019/20 Women’s Super League season.

Steph Houghton is set to lead Manchester City out against Manchester United on Saturday
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The two clubs are expected to play in front of 20,000-plus supporters.

City and England captain Steph Houghton is relishing the prospect of the historic occasion.

She said: “It’s exciting. I think everybody has been dying for a Manchester derby in the Women’s Super League.

“Obviously last year when Manchester United said they were going to be in the Championship and they were fighting for promotion, as players and staff we got excited by the prospect of having them in our league.

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“And now to have it as our first game – I think it is going to do this game the world of good.

“I think we need to push rivalries, we need to push derby days and there is no bigger than this one coming on Saturday.”

United won the Women’s Championship in their first campaign since forming last year and will look to maintain their place in the top-flight this season.

When asked about the intensity of the newly-formed rivalry, Houghton said: “I feel as though it is already there to be honest, that’s how I personally feel.

“All the talk has been about a Man City-Man United women’s derby and we have finally got that.

“I think it’s important that we start history right on Saturday in terms of we want to make Manchester blue.”

Phil Neville: Lionesses ‘inspired’ by World Cup reception ahead of return to action

20 Aug

Phil Neville expects the Lionesses to feed off the positive reaction to their Women’s World Cup campaign as they prepare for the upcoming friendlies against Belgium and Norway.

England Women return to action for the first time later this month since finishing fourth in France, suffering defeat to eventual-winners USA in a dramatic semi-final.

England boss Neville will hope to build on the positive momentum started by the World Cup run
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And manager Neville admits that while there was an initial feeling of disappointment, the players felt immensely proud to discover the impact of their performance back home.

“On one hand, we did come home thinking we failed, because you want to win,” he told talkSPORT.

“From a football point of view, you ask 23 players and the technical staff, we wanted to win.

“But from the bigger picture, it was probably a success. There were many people that were inspired to watch women’s football and support the Lionesses.

“Now, to go out there and play football, the reaction we’ve had since we’ve come home has been amazing.

“It cheers you up, it makes you feel like you’re doing the right things, and I’m sure my players have been inspired by the reaction of the public.”

England lost 2-1 to the USA in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals
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Three stars from the World Cup campaign – Ellen White, Jill Scott and Karen Bardsley – have been left out of Neville’s squad for the upcoming friendlies.

Striker White – joint top-scorer at the summer’s Women’s World Cup with six goals – and goalkeeper Bardsley both miss out due to injury, while their Manchester City team-mate Scott has been rested.

Meanwhile, Chelsea forward Bethany England is among four new call-ups alongside Aoife Mannion, Sandy MacIver, and Anna Patten.

USA 2 Netherlands 0 live on talkSPORT: States close in on Women’s World Cup glory – live commentary stream

7 Jul

The Women’s World Cup final is finally upon us as the USA and the Netherlands battle it out for glory.

talkSPORT has brought you exclusive coverage of the tournament all summer long and we will be across today’s showdown too as the trophy gets awarded.

Alex Morgan and USA take on the Netherlands in the Women’s World Cup final
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USA ended England’s dreams in the semi-finals, winning 2-1 after Steph Houghton missed a late penalty.

The Dutch needed extra-time to squeeze past Sweden in their final four clash but a 1-0 win set up their chance at glory.

Netherlands have never reached the final before and will take on a States side who are most successful country in World Cup history.

They won it in 2015 and will be eager to retain their title but can the Dutch spring a surprise?

talkSPORT will have full and exclusive coverage of the final and here’s how you can catch all the action.

USA vs Netherlands: Date and kick-off time

This clash will take place on Sunday, July 7 and will kick off at 4pm UK time.

It is being held at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon – the ground where both sides won their semi-final ties.

The Netherlands are in the Womens World Cup final for the first time
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USA vs Netherlands: Live on talkSPORT

talkSPORT has exclusive rights to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and will be broadcasting all the action from Lyon live.

Our coverage of the final will begin at 3pm and to tune in, just click here for the live stream or click the radio below.

Natalie Sawyer will host talkSPORT’s live coverage, while Sam Matterface and Claire Rafferty will bring you live commentary.

Route to the final

USA

USA 13-0 Thailand (Group F)

USA 3-0 Chile (Group F)

Sweden 0-2 USA (Group F)

Spain 1-2 USA (last 16)

France 1-2 USA (quarter-final)

England 1-2 USA (semi-final)

Netherlands

New Zealand 0-1 Netherlands (Group E)

Netherlands 3-1 Cameroon (Group E)

Netherlands 2-1 Canada (Group E)

Netherlands 2-1 Japan (last 16)

Italy 0-2 Netherlands (quarter-final)

Netherlands 1-0 Sweden AET (semi-final)

USA vs Netherlands: Confirmed teams

USA: Naeher, O’Hara, Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn, Mewis, Ertz, Lavelle, Heath, Morgan, Rapinoe.

Subs: Harris, Pugh, Brian, Horan, Lloyd, Krieger, Davidson, Sonnett, Long, McDonald, Press, Franch.

Netherlands: Van Veenendaal, Van Lunteren, Dekker, Van der Gragt, Bloodworth, Groenen, Van de Donk, Spitse, Beerensteyn, Miedema, Martens.

Subs: Kop, van Dongen, Van Es, Van de Sanden, Pelova, Renate Jansen, Kaagman, Ellen Jansen, Kerkdijk, Roord, Van der Most, Geurts.

Referee: Stephanie Frappart (Paris)

Who will win the Women’s World Cup?
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England 1 USA 2: Captain Houghton misses late penalty – free commentary stream for Women’s World Cup semi-final

2 Jul

A win for England against the USA would make the Lionesses the first senior national side to reach a World Cup final since 1966.

Phil Neville’s side face the holders – the team everyone wants to beat – in Lyon in the semi-final on Tuesday, which will be live on talkSPORT.

England, led by captain Steph Houghton, are preparing to play current world champions USA in the semi-finals
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The Netherlands face Sweden in the other semi-final on Wednesday and the winners from the two matches play in the final in Lyon on Sunday. A third-place play-off in Nice will take place on Saturday.

England vs USA: How to listen

Full commentary from the Stade de Lyon will be exclusively live on talkSPORT, with our coverage getting underway at 7pm (BST).

All the build-up to the game will be on talkSPORT, so tune into the commentary here for the live stream or click the radio player below.

You can also listen through the talkSPORT App, on DAB Digital Radio or on MW 1053 or 1089.

For more information about how to listen LIVE on talkSPORT click here.

What time is kick-off?

The game kicks off at 8pm (BST) on Tuesday 2 July and talkSPORT will be live from Lyon to bring you coverage.

The teams

England: Telford, Bronze, Houghton, Bright, Stokes, Walsh, Scott, Mead, Daly, Parris, White.

Subs: Bardsley, Greenwood, Taylor, Kirby, Duggan, Williamson, McManus, Moore, Stanway, Carney, Staniforth, Earps.

USA: Naeher, O’Hara, Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn, Horan, Ertz, Lavelle, Heath, Morgan, Press.

Subs: Harris, Pugh, Mewis, Brian, Lloyd, Krieger, Davidson, Sonnett, Rapinoe, Long, McDonald, Franch.
Referee: Edina Alves Batista

Lucy Bronze tore Norway apart in the quarter-finals and has been called the best player in the world by Phil Neville
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What is being said?

Lucy Bronze, who plays for Lyon, cannot wait to play a World Cup semi-final in her club stadium.

“I’m so excited,” she told talkSPORT. “It’s something I’ve thought about for the last two years, especially the last six months in Lyon when I drive past that stadium I’ve been picturing this game.”

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes can’t wait to see Bronze, who prefers playing at right-back, against USA striker Megan Rapinoe, who has scored five goals so far.

“Bronze can be simply unplayable on the ball [when running with all her power], able to slice open any side, but there is an obvious risk in leaving huge spaces behind for a US side that can be ruthless on the counter.

Along with Rapinoe and Ellen White, USA striker Alex Morgan has also scored five goals
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“How much she is able to drive forward, or ends up with her hands full of defensive work, is a battle within a battle that I cannot wait to see,” adding that Rapinoe is one of the most agile athletes around. “She epitomises her team’s exceptional physicality.”

Manager Neville has described Bronze as the best player in the world. “She should win the Ballon d’Or, 100 per cent. [Against Norway in the quarter-final] you saw a player at the top of her game.”


AMERICAN SPY?


Key stats

Women’s World Cup top scorers:

5 goals: Alex Morgan (USA)
5 goals: Megan Rapinoe (USA)
5 goals: Ellen White (England)

Team stats

In five games, England have scored 11 goals and conceded once, while the US have scored an incredible 22 times – 13 of them came against Thailand – and conceded twice.

Route to the semis

ENGLAND

England 2-1 Scotland (Group D)
England 1-0 Argentina (Group D)
Japan 0-2 England (Group D)
England 3-0 Cameroon (last 16)
Norway 0-3 England (quarter-final)

USA
USA 13-0 Thailand (Group F)
USA 3-0 Chile (Group F)
Sweden 0-2 USA (Group F)
Spain 1-2 USA (last 16)
France 1-2 USA (quarter-final)

England have reached the semi-finals having conceded just once – in the group stage – and now face a USA team that has scored 22 goals so far
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England vs USA: The key Women’s World Cup semi-finals battles, including Lucy Bronze vs Megan Rapinoe and Steph Houghton vs Alex Morgan

2 Jul

England are one step away from the Women’s World Cup final but must first get past a strong United States side in their final four clash.

Phil Neville’s side made it to the semi-final in emphatic fashion with a 3-0 win over Norway while the USA’s path to victory proved much tougher as they overcame France 2-1 in Paris.

Lucy Bronze has been one of the stars at this World Cup
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The American side have been making headlines both on and off the pitch and are one of the favourites to retain their World Cup title.

England have been going from strength to strength and, although slight underdogs, have what it takes to progress on Tuesday night, with commentary live on talkSPORT.

Here at talkSPORT.com we have taken a look at the key battles set to take place during the match in Lyon.

Lucy Bronze vs Megan Rapinoe

Bronze hit the headlines with her sensational strike in the quarter-final, in what was arguably her best performance of the tournament so far.

The right-back has been superb for England so far and is one of the best players in the world, something her boss Neville agrees with.

She will have her hands full with USA’s quarter-final hero Rapinoe lining-up against her.

Megan Rapinoe scored both of goals for the USA in their quarter-final victory
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The winger scored twice in the France match and was their best player during the match.

Rapinoe has also been hitting the headlines off the pitch with her comments about not wanting to go to the White House if they won the World Cup, which predictably provoked a response from Donald Trump.

Steph Houghton vs Alex Morgan

Houghton has been imperious at the back for the Lionesses this tournament and has led by example as captain.

Without her last ditch tackles and goal line clearances, the 3-0 win against Norway would not have been so comfortable.

Alex Morgan has already scored five goals at the World Cup
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She will have Alex Morgan to contend with on Tuesday night, who is currently leading the golden boot race.

Morgan has five goals and three assists with Rapinoe and England’s Ellen White currently tying on five as well.

The USWNT striker may have got all five of her goals in their 13-0 thrashing of Thailand and been quiet since but she will be a constant threat.

Jill Scott vs Julie Ertz

The veteran England midfielder has had a fine World Cup thanks to her tireless running, important tackles, key passes – and the opening goal in the quarter-final.

Her battle with the USA’s midfield will be an interesting one, particularly with Julie Ertz in there.

Jill Scott has been a key player for England at the Women’s World Cup
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Ertz was named in the All-Star team from the 2015 World Cup but as a central defender. She has since moved further up the pitch and into centre midfield but has been as equally successful.

The 27-year-old was nominated as the US Female Player of the Year in 2018.

Nikita Parris vs Crystal Dunn

It will be interesting to see how Parris responds after her second penalty miss of the tournament.

The winger has shown glimpses of the talent she possesses but we are yet to see her reach her full potential at this World Cup.

Parris will have a good test against USA left wing-back Crystal Dunn who likes to go forward.

Nikita Parris scored for England against Scotland in the World Cup opener
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Dunn has 24 goals in 90 games for her country but may have more defensive duties on her mind when dealing with the England player

Women’s World Cup 2019: Eight records smashed in France thanks to United States, Brazil, and Barcelona stars

2 Jul

The 2019 Women’s World Cup has broken a number of records both on and off the pitch and is now close to its conclusion.

England will face the USA in the first semi-final with the Netherlands and Sweden in the second, with commentary of both games live on talkSPORT.

It has seen record TV audiences in the United Kingdom with around 7.6million people watching the Lionesses beat Norway 3-0 in the quarter-final.

Alex Morgan celebrates one of her five goals against Thailand
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There have also been plenty of incredible achievements on the pitch and it has certainly not lacked in entertainment.

Here are eight records that have been broken at this year’s tournament.

Most goals at World Cups – Marta – 17

The Brazil forward has scored an incredible 112 international goals in 147 games and in France also beat the record for most goals at World Cups.

She has 17 goals in 19 games and her two at the 2019 tournament took her past compatriot Ronaldo (15) and Germany’s Miroslav Klose (16).

Largest winning margin – USA 13-0 Thailand

Alex Morgan scored five goals against Thailand in this comfortable win for the USA in the group stages.

They were only 3-0 up at half-time but went on to score 10 more after the break.

In the men’s World Cup, a nine goal winning margin has been achieved three times. Hungary 9-0 South Korea (1954), Yugoslavia 9-0 Zaire (1974) and Hungary 10-1 El Salvador (1982).

USA scored 13 goals against Thailand in the group stages
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Most goals in group stages (men’s and women’s) – USA – 18

Scoring 13 goals against one team certainly helped achieve this record but they also did not concede a goal as they ended top of their group.

They enjoyed a 3-0 win over Chile and a 2-0 victory against Sweden, who will play the Netherlands in the other semi-final.

Most goals conceded at Women’s World Cup – Thailand – 20

Thailand may have lost every game and conceded 20 goals in the process but their solitary score against Sweden was an achievement in itself.

Most World Cups played in – Formiga – 7

Brazilian Formiga first played in a World Cup in 1995 and at 41 she has now made it to seven World Cups.

She actually retired from the national team in 2016 but made a return in 2018 for the Copa America Femenina.

Formiga is two tournaments ahead of anyone in the men’s game with Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal and Rafael Marquez and Germany’s Lothar Matthaus all playing in five.

Oldest player to score a hat-trick – Cristiane vs Jamaica – 34 years and 25 days

The Brazil forward has a phenomenal international goalscoring record as she has found the net 94 times in 140 games.

Her hat-trick against Jamaica in the group stages was the oldest ever at a World Cup.

The oldest player to score a hat-trick at a men’s World Cup is Cristiano Ronaldo when he netted three times against Spain at Russia 2018.

Earliest penalty scored at Women’s World Cup – Caroline Graham Hansen – Norway vs South Korea in 4minutes 33seconds

Chelsea’s Maria Thorisdottir was fouled early on against South Korea by Cho So-hyun allowing new Barcelona signing Hansen to convert.

The goal went in at four minutes and 33 seconds to set a new record.

Caroline Graham Hansen scored a penalty in the fifth minute against South Korea
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Most own goals in Women’s World Cup group stage – 8

This World Cup has produced quite a number of own goals with the unlucky culprits being: Osinachi Ohale (Nigeria vs Norway), Kim Do-yeon (South Korea vs Nigeria), Wendie Renard (France vs Norway), Monica (Brazil vs Australia), Lee Alexander (Scotland vs Argentina), Aurelle Awona (Cameroon vs New Zealand), Waraporn Boonsing (Thailand vs Chile) and Jonna Andersson (Sweden vs USA)

Women’s World Cup: Security remove suspected spy at England training ahead of semi-final against USA

1 Jul

An onlooker appeared to be spying on England’s training session ahead of their Women’s World Cup semi-final against the USA on Tuesday.

Security staff had to remove the individual from the Lionesses’ training base in Lyon after he was spotted in the bushes above the pitch.

A man can be seen watching the Lionesses train through the bushes
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The incident comes just a day after two members of the United States’ staff were seen in private areas of England’s hotel while the Lionesses were outside training.

Phil Neville laughed off the suggestion it would give rivals USA the upper hand and coach Jill Ellis denied any wrongdoing, claiming they were just scouting a potential base for the final on Sunday, which will also be held in Lyon.

Fresh doubts will surround those claims following Monday’s events.

The Lionesses were going through the motions on Monday when the individual was spotted by security staff
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In footage captured by ITV News, a man wearing white trousers and a blue coat can be seen peering through the greenery above the Terrain d’Honneur Lyon base.

Security then rush over to the area in which the person is stood, but seem unable to reach him due to a fence.

Lionesses boss Neville questioned the etiquette of their semi-final opponents after it was revealed that two plain-clothed US delegates were given a tour of England’s hotel on Sunday.

He said: “The only thing I would say is that it’s not something I would want my team ops person to do.

“I’m happy with my team hotel and I hope they are enjoying their hotel. It’s not something we would have done, sending someone around to (the opponents) hotel and I’m sure they will be dealing with it.

“It doesn’t give them an unfair advantage. It has no bearing on the game. I thought it was quite funny. I was thinking, ‘What are they are doing?’ But it’s not etiquette, is it? It’s not something my team would be doing.”

USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher rejected any accusations of poor form, insisting they scout every hotel they plan to stay in.

“That has nothing to do with the game,” she said.

“Our managers and operations have scouted out every hotel we’ve ever stayed in or every potential hotel we stay in, to make sure we’ve got plan A, plan B, plan C.

“It’s just our operations checking all the boxes and preparing for whatever path we take.”

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa admitted to spying on Derby’s training session ahead of a Championship match between the two clubs last season, in a saga which quickly became known as ‘Spygate’.

The Whites were fined £200,000 and given a severe reprimand by the English Football League.

France 1-2 USA: Megan Rapinoe’s double fires holders into World Cup semi-final

28 Jun

Megan Rapinoe scored a brace as USA defeated France to progress to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Rapinoe gave the US the lead after just five minutes of the match from a free-kick and doubled their advantage shortly after half-time.

USA are in the World Cup semi-finals

Wendie Renard’s 81st minute header provided fresh belief for Les Bleus but it was too little, too late for the hosts.

The United States will now face England in the semi-final.

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