Come on England! Fans hit the beers in Brisbane ahead of Lionesses’ World Cup clash with Nigeria in knockout match
England fans are hitting the beers in Brisbane ahead of the Lionesses’ World Cup clash with Nigeria today.
Excited fans sporting England flags and ‘It’s Coming Home’ signs took to the Australian streets today to show their support for the Lionesses.
England will take on Nigeria this morning in the latest round of the 16 match at Brisbane Stadium. The Lionesses are widely thought of as tournament favourites.
Keira Walsh is back in England’s starting 11 for their last-16 game today after having been taken off the pitch on a stretcher with what appeared to be a serious knee injury in England’s 1-0 win over Denmark on July 28.
It was a slow start to England’s campaign, with nervy 1-0 wins over Haiti and Denmark. But the tables seemed to turn when they thrashed 14th-ranked China 6-1, suggesting the winning feeling has well and truly returned.
Excited fans sporting England flags and ‘It’s Coming Home’ signs took to the Australian streets today to show their support for The Lionesses
England will take on Nigeria this morning in the latest round of the 16 match at Brisbane Stadium. The Lionesses are widely thought of as tournament favourites. fans are pictured outside the stadium today
England fans are hitting the beers in Brisbane ahead of the Lionesses’ World Cup clash with Nigeria today
Players of England inspect the pitch prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup today
Tochukwu Oluehi of Nigeria leads her teammates are seen arriving at the stadium prior to today’s clash
Atmosphere is building for this game Down Under today as fans are arriving at the stadium cheering on the Lionesses.
They were seen donning team flags and football scarves as they showed their support outside Brisbane Stadium prior to the clash with today.
Boss Sarina Wiegman will likely keep fans and rivals guessing ahead of the clash today after she picked a different starting XI for each of their three group games.
She also changed the formation for the win over China, something she has never done before at a major tournament.
Walsh will join her teammates for today’s match after she did not play in the Lionesses’ 6-1 rout of China in their final game of the group stage.
The player rejoined her squad for training on yesterday, and coach Wiegman said later that day that if she recovered well from that, she would play today.
On the eve of the Nigeria clash, Wiegman said: ‘She is doing well. She started her rehab straight after we knew what was going on.
‘She has been on the pitch, she has been training today. Now we will wait until (we see) how she recovers from that training session and if she does well then she is available tomorrow.’
Walsh is considered one of the world’s top midfielders, signing a three-year deal with Barcelona last September for a world-record fee of around £350,000.
England fans show their support by waving team flags prior to today’s clash with Nigeria
England fans have entered the stands at Brisbane Stadium this morning as they prepare to cheer for the Lionesses
A fan donning face paint and a red England hat turns up to Brisbane Stadium today to support the Lionesses
A England fan donning a team football scarf smiles outside of Brisbane Stadium ahead of today’s clash with Nigeria
A Nigeria fan shows their support prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup clash with England
Wiegman has said she is confident the Lionesses are capable of getting creative should Nigeria target breakout talent Lauren James in their last-16 clash in Brisbane.
Chelsea forward James was awarded player-of-the-match against China in England’s final group stage contest after contributing two goals and three assists in the 6-1 victory.
Having shown the world just how dangerous she could be, it would not be a surprise if Nigeria head coach Randy Waldrum spent plenty of time planning a corresponding response to mitigate the potent threat posed by the 21-year-old.
Asked if she was prepared for that to happen, Wiegman yesterday grinned and said: ‘Well, first of all we didn’t make the starting line-up yet.
‘But I think some countries mark us and want to take out players. Not only one, but more players. So that’s good when you have so many good players on the pitch that they have to be aware of all those players.
‘And we know when players are marked that you find other ways to build or create and hopefully create chances to score goals.
‘So we are aware of that and we will be prepared for that.’
The 2023 World Cup saw the tournament expand to 32 teams for the first time, with some initially worried that the gap between the top and lower-ranked nations would be detrimental.
Yet the reality has so far been the opposite, with four of FIFA’s top 10 sides already eliminated including double-defending champions USA, who crashed out after losing a dramatic penalty shootout to Sweden.
England fans with painted faces arrive at Brisbane Stadium today to cheer on the Lionesses
Young England fans donning football football scarves and crowns wave outside Brisbane Stadium this morning
A group of England fans pose for a photo with a football club flag ahead of today’s match
Two fans wearing lioness manes cheer outside Brisbane Stadium today
England fans arrive at Brisbane Stadium ahead of today’s clash with Nigeria
A group of women wearing England inspired cowboy hats hold signs outside the football stadium in Brisbane this morning
Number two side and Euro 2022 finalists Germany, number seven Olympic champions Canada, and Copa America winners Brazil, ranked eighth, have all been eliminated.
Those giant-slayings – Canada’s at the hands of 40th-ranked Nigeria – also marked the last likely World Cup appearances for icons and pioneers in Brazil’s Marta, Canada’s Christine Sinclair and the USA’s Megan Rapinoe, who missed a penalty against Sweden and announced pre-tournament that she would be retiring at the end of the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season.
Wiegman added yesterday: ‘It is very, very competitive. The development of the game all over the world has gone really quickly, at a very good level.
‘But I’m mainly focused on my team and on the next match with my team, so I’m not into every game. I don’t have the full context, but that’s the main thing I have noticed.’
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