This week, we look at a number of results from the April Women's International Window around the world, focusing on teams that are playing in the 2023 Women's World Cup this summer. We also look at some of the team rosters among internationals such as England vs. Brazil as well as Australia, the Republic of Ireland versus the U.S. and France versus Colombia and Canada.
Friendly International Review from the FIFA Women's International Window—April 6-April 11
One official intercontinental championship was held during this window as the first edition of the Finalissima for Women between the current champions of UEFA and CONMEBOL—which mirrored the men's tournament that saw Argentina defeat Italy 3-0 last year. England's WNT won another title to go with their 2022 Women's EURO crown with a penalty kick win over Brazil after a 1-1 tie through 120 minutes on April 6.
England extended its unbeaten run to 30 games (with 25 wins) under their Dutch head coach Sarina Wiegman, with 138 goals for and only 10 allowed. Ella Toone (Manchester United) opened the scoring in the 23rd minute but goalkeeper Mary Earps (Manchester United) made an error in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, which allowed Andressa Alves (AS Roma of Italy) to score the late equalizer, The game at Wembley drew 83,132 fans, a world record for a women's football game this year.
In the penalty kick session, Earps was excellent, topped by a strong save of Tamires (Corinthians of Brazil, who once played in the W-League in the U.S. and in Denmark with Fortuna Hjorring) in Round 2 before Rafaelle (Arsenal of the WSL) put Brazil's third shot over the goal.
Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), the hero last summer with her late overtime winner against Germany in the Women's EURO Final at the same venue, scored the final penalty to give England the title. England had a slight advantage in shots (11 vs. 10) and shots on goal (5 vs. 4), but led in possession (71% vs. 29%), which is a good sign for England for this summer's Women's World Cup tournament. Kelly spoke to ITV after scoring the winning penalty: “It's great being back here at Wembley in front of our home fans. They were brilliant again tonight. This feels like home for me. It was brilliant to be here and an excellent performance from the girls. We keep moving forward."
Kelly also said that she wanted to take the last penalty kick: “I was just excited for it, I calmed myself down and was ready to take it. I looked the keeper in the eye and just thought I was going to score."
Kelly saw the win and another trophy as an important step for this summer's WWC: “I think we're made of great people in this team, staff and players. It's about moving forward and being ready for July. It was another challenge here tonight but we're building momentum and keep moving forward now."
Thursday April 6
Poland 2 Costa Rica 1
Ewa Pajor (26) of Wolfsburg in Germany had a goal and an assist, while Raquel (Rocky) Rodriguez (29) of the NWSL's Portland Thorns scored the lone Ticas goal in Lodz. Costa Rica WNT head coach Amelia Valverde called in 23 players for the tour to Europe, with all of them home-based except two playing in Mexico and one each in France, Israel, Scotland and the U.S.'s NWSL [Rodriguez].
Spain 4 Norway 2
Jenni Hermoso (32) with Pachuca of Mexico scored twice within five minutes early in the first half and then Salma Paralluello (19) of Barcelona—who has 10 goals in 14 league games this season—scored a brace within two minutes early in the second half for the friendly win which was held in Ibiza.
Switzerland 0 China PR 0
China, which had a scoreless tie with the Republic of Ireland in Spain during the last FIFA women's international window this year, again deadlocked a European side in Lucerne Switzerland (0-0).
Argentina 1 vs. Venezuela 1
American-raised Mariana Speckmaier (25)—who cancelled a contract to play in Moscow with CSKA in February of 2022 after Russia attacked Ukraine and has been playing with Valur of Iceland after a year in the NWSL in 2021 with the NWSL Champions Washington Spirit—gave Venezuela the lead in the 38th minute before Argentinian defender Aldana Cometti (27) tied up the match in the 90th minute. Cometti plays with Madrid CFF, who she joined this season after time with Levante and Sevilla. Venezuela won the penalty shootout after regulation time (7-6) in the match held in Cordoba, Spain.
Friday April 7
Korea Republic 2 Zambia 5
In Suwon, the Copper Queens of Zambia led 2-1 at halftime over the host side Korea Republic, with goals by forwards Barbra Banda (Shanghai Shengli) and Rachael Kundananji (Madrid CFF), but Korea Republic stormed back with four goals in the second half to take a 5-2 win. Cho Sohyun (34—Tottenham Hotspur of the WSL) and Lee Geum-min (29—Brighton and Hove Albion) each had a brace for the Korean WNT.
Zambia's Squad for the trip to Korea Republic was predominately home-based, with four based in Spain, three playing club ball in Kazakhstan and one each in China and Turkey:
Catherine Musonda (Indeni Roses), Eunice Sakala (Nkwazi Queens), Hazel Nali (Fatih Vatan Sport-Turkey)
Agness Musesa, Esther Siamfuko (both Green Buffaloes), Judith Soko (YASA), Vast Phiri (ZESCO Ndola Girls), Mary Mulenga (Red Arrows), Pauline Zulu (Elite Ladies), Martha Tembo (BIIK Kazygurt Shymkent-Kazakhstan)
Evarine Katongo (ZISD Women), Mary Wilombe, Susan Banda (both Red Arrows), Xiomara Mapepa, Comfort Selemani (both Elite Ladies), Ireen Lungu, Hellen Chanda (both BIIK Kazygurt Shymkent-Kazakhstan)
Barbara Banda (Shanghai Shengli-China), Ochumba Oseke Lubanji (Red Arrows),
Hellen Mubanga, Rachael Nachula (both Zaragoza CFF-Spain), Grace Chanda, Rachael Kundananji (both Madrid CFF), Inonge Kaloustian (ZISD Women)
American-raised ZISD Women's FC striker Inonge Kaloustian (Clark University in Massachusetts) was called up to the Copper Queens squad for the first time for the Korea trip. She said “I'm extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to represent Zambia. I feel extremely blessed to be here right now. All I can do is hope that I continue to make my teammates, my coaches, my family and the national of Zambia proud." She hopes to be a doctor and recently finished a Masters' Degree in Public Health at John Hopkins University in Maryland.
Australia 0 Scotland 1
A 46th minute goal by Nicola Docherty (30), who is with Glasgow Rangers and has won a total of eight league titles, was all that Scotland needed to defeat 2023 WWC co-host Australia at Cherry Red Records stadium in London.
The Matildas 24 women squad for internationals in England against Scotland and the reigning Women's EURO champions brought Melbourne City's Holly McNamara and Lyon star Ellie Carpenter into camp after long-term injury absences. Five of the team
currently play in the A-League Women: Holly McNamara (20) of Melbourne City, Sydney FC's Cortnee Vine (24), Western Sydney Wanderers captain Clare Hunt (24), Brisbane Roar forward Larissa Crummer (27) and Sydney FC goalkeeper Jada Whyman (23), while Racing Louisville's Alex Chidiac (24) played most of the season with Melbourne Victory before returning to America for the NWSL pre-season. England has supplied 9 players followed by 6 from Sweden, with two from the U.S. and one each from France and Norway. However, vice-captain and Arsenal star Steph Catley and Emily Gielnik (Aston Villa) were unavailable due to injury.
New Zealand 1 Iceland 1
Hannah Wilkinson (30) of Melbourne City in Australia scored to offset a Dagny Brynjarsdottir (31) goal—who is in her third year at West Ham United and has played with the Portland Thorns and Bayern Munich as well as for Selfoss and Valur in Iceland—with the two goals coming within seven minutes of each other midway through the first half in Antalya, Turkey.
Portugal 1 Japan 2
Japan won an international friendly against Portugal in Guimaraes (2-1) with Yui Hasegawa (26) of Manchester City—in her first year at City after two seasons at West Ham and a year at AC Milan—and Mina Tanaka (28) of INAC Kobe in Japan—she has played at Bayer Leverkusen—each scoring a goal and adding an assist. Ana Capeta (25) of Sporting Lisbon scored for Portugal to open the scoring in the 25th minute before Hasegawa tallied 10 minutes later and Japan took the lead for good within ten minutes of the second half restart.
Netherlands 0 Germany 1
In Sittard the Netherlands, Germany defeated the 2017 Women's EURO Champions 1-0 on a 53rd minute goal by Sydney Lohmann (22) of Bayern Munich.
France 5 Colombia 2
France had to dig itself out of a 2-0 hole at home in Clermont-Ferrand after Colombia's Daniela Arias (28) scored in the 36th minute and then Maria Usme doubled the score in the 53rd minute (33)—both play at home with America de Cali—while Usme also assisted on the first goal. France quickly flipped the match with three goals in eight minutes just ahead of the hour mark, with two courtesy of Eugenie Le Sommer (33) of Olympique Lyon and one (with one assist) from Delphine Cascarino (26), also of OL, who then added her second goal in the 73rd minute before Grace Geyoro (25—who was born in DR Congo, has played at Paris Saint-Germain for nine seasons and has over 60 full caps) scored in injury time for the final 5-2 score.
The fightback win gave new head coach Herve Renard a successful start in his first game with the team, as the Federation is trying to distance itself from the nuclear meltdown from previous coach Corinne Diacre, whose less than genial manner caused a growing flood of senior players to refuse to go to the Women's World Cup Finals if she was still in charge, including the team captain Wendie Renard and Paris-St.-Germain star forward Marie-Antoinette Katoto, labelling Diacre's management approach as: “nowhere near top-level requirements."
Herve Renard could be an inspired choice even though he has never coached a women's side. He is a beloved legend in Africa, particularly in Zambia, who he took to their first ever men's African Cup of Nations title in 2012. Renard coached Saudi Arabia in the Qatar men's World Cup Finals late last year; the team surprisingly defeated the ultimate champions Argentina 2-1 in their first game. Renard (54) reportedly left a $1.5 million a year position with Saudia Arabia for a $300,000 stipend with France.
He has never stayed more than four years in any coaching position in a career that has taken him to Africa, the Middle East, England's fourth division, France's Ligue 1 and to local teams in the Algerian and Vietnamese championships. He is definitely known as a traveler but that is a concern for after the WWC—he is a sharp, talented and inspirational coach and if he can settle this talented team, they could go very far this summer.
Saturday April 8
U.S. 2 vs. Ireland 0 and (U.S. 1 Ireland 0 on Tuesday April 11)
In the first of a two-game series in the U.S., number 22 ranked Republic of Ireland faced the number one ranked Americans in Austin, Texas. The Irish all-time record against the Americans was 0-0-13 (W-D-L) entering the two-game series. This is the third of six preparation games for Ireland ahead of FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, having already beaten Morocco (4-0) last November and drawing with China PR (0-0) in February.
In the first match on April 9 in Austin, Texas, defender Emily Fox scored her first international goal while midfielder Lindsey Horan added another from the penalty spot, after she was taken down in the penalty box late in the match to earn the Americans the win in front of a sellout crowd of 20,593 fans at Q2 Stadium. Unfortunately, just before the halftime break, forward Mallory [Pugh] Swanson was stretchered off the field after a hard tackle resulted in a torn patella tendon in her left knee. She was replaced by Trinity Rodman. Unfortunately Swanson, who has been a goal scoring force this season with seven goals in the American's first five games of 2023, is likely to miss the Women's World Cup this summer and perhaps the entire 2023 NWSL season for the Chicago Red Stars as the recovery period from this type of injury is typically 6-12 months. She will be sorely missed by the national team and the Red Stars and we wish her a speedy and successful recovery.
In the 67th minute, midfielder Julie Ertz entered the game to earn her first cap in 611 days and make her first appearance for the USWNT since the bronze medal match of the Tokyo Olympics. Ertz, who was recognized prior to the match for her 100th cap earned back in March of 2020, becomes the 15th woman to play for the USWNT after becoming a mother, having given birth to her son in August of 2022. Despite the close scoreline, the USA was dominant throughout, tallying 25 shots and six on target while limiting the Republic of Ireland to eight shots and only one on target. The USA also controlled 70 percent of the possession and had 10 corner kicks to Ireland's six.
In the second game in St. Louis on April 11 in front of 22,294 fans, the U.S. defeated Ireland again 1-0 on Alana Cook's long-range blast from over 30 yards out late in the first half. The U.S. was not as dominate in attack as in the first game, as the U.S. had 10 shots to 9 for Ireland (2 vs. 2 for shots on goals) and 52% of the possession, while the Irish had the edge in corner kicks (5 vs. 4).
The Americans announced another pre-WWC friendly in early July 9, hosting Wales—who narrowly missed out in the European playoffs for a first ever Women's World Cup Finals spot—in San Jose, California.
Ireland's WNT roster for the U.S. Tour:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Courtney Brosnan (Everton F.C., ENG), Grace Moloney (Reading F.C., ENG), Megan Walsh (Brighton & Hove Albion F.C., ENG), Sophie Whitehouse (Lewes F.C., ENG)
DEFENDERS (9): Harriet Scott (Birmingham City F.C., ENG), Jessie Stapleton (Shelbourne F.C.), Louise Quinn (Birmingham City F.C., ENG), Aoife Mannion (Manchester United F.C., ENG), Diane Caldwell (Reading F.C., ENG), Claire O'Riordan (Celtic F.C., SCO), Hayley Nolan (London City Lionesses, ENG), Tara O'Hanlon (Peamount United), Áine O'Gorman (Shamrock Rovers)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Katie McCabe (Arsenal F.C., ENG), Denise O'Sullivan (North Carolina Courage, USA), Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion F.C., ENG), Jamie Finn (Birmingham City F.C., ENG), Ruesha Littlejohn (Aston Villa F.C., ENG), Lucy Quinn (Birmingham City, ENG), Ciara Grant (Hearts, SCO), Roma McLaughlin (Fortuna Hjorring, DEN)
FORWARDS (6): Heather Payne (Florida State University, USA), Abbie Larkin (Shamrock Rovers), Amber Barrett (FFC Potsdam Turbine, GER), Kyra Carusa (London City Lionesses, ENG), Marissa Sheva (Washington Spirit, USA), Alannah McEvoy (Shamrock Rovers)
Of the 27 players called into the squad, 18 players have 23 caps or fewer, including four players with one cap and three who are looking to make their international debuts. As Ireland does not have a strong domestic league, 22 of the 27 players on this roster play outside the country, including 15 in England, two in Scotland and three in the USA. Forward Amber Barrett plays in the Germany Bundesliga with FFC Turbine Potsdam while midfielder Roma McLaughlin plays with Denmark's Fortuna Hjorring.
American connections included:
Reading F.C. defender Diane Caldwell (93 caps), who played college soccer at Hofstra University in New York and played in seven games for the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL in 2021.
Megan Connolly (now with Brighton and Hove Albion in the WSL) played college soccer at Florida State where she was the ACC Midfielder of the Year, ACC Defender of the Year and was a First-Team All-American.
Forward Heather Payne currently plays college soccer for Florida State University, where she has six career goals and seven assists over four seasons and won a NCAA title in 2021.
Forward Kyra Carusa was born in San Diego and played collegiate soccer at Stanford and Georgetown. Carusa helped the Stanford Cardinal win the 2017 NCAA Championship. Her maternal grandparents emigrated to the USA in the 1950s.
Starting goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan is an American who was raised in New Jersey and played her college soccer at Syracuse, where she played in 67 matches. Brosnan saw some training time with the U.S. U-23 WNT before changing associations.
Denise O'Sullivan, who plays with the North Carolina Courage, won her 100th cap in the game in Austin. Joining the Centurion Club for the Irish alongside goalkeeper Emma Byrne (ex-Arsenal for over a decade), Áine O'Gorman (current WNT squad member and Shamrock Rovers), Niamh Fahey (in the WNT pool and currently at Liverpool after time with Arsenal, Chelsea and Bordeaux in France), Ciara Grant (current WNT squad and Hearts of Scotland) and Louise Quinn (current WNT squad and Birmingham City). O'Sullivan first joined NWSL in 2016, where she spent one-and-a-half seasons with the Houston Dash before moving to the North Carolina Courage midway through the 2017 campaign. She helped the club to back-to-back NWSL Championships in 2018 and 2019. O'Sullivan has played in over 100 matches in the NWSL and currently plays alongside USA goalkeeper Casey Murphy and defender Emily Fox in North Carolina.
Washington Spirit forward Marissa Sheva was born in Pennsylvania and played collegiately for Penn State.
Midfielder Sinead Farrelly (33) was born in Havertown, Pennsylvania, and won her first cap in Austin, qualifying for Ireland through her County Cavan-born father but she required an international transfer having represented the United States at underage level, even though she has held an Irish passport for a decade. Farrelly had been in contact with WNT Manager Vera Pauw over the last two years and was invited to train with the squad in Austin, Texas this week. Farrelly retired from the game in 2016 and just returned to the NWSL with Gotham FC this season, after winning a roster spot as a tryout player in pre-season.
She was one of the key interviewees in the Atlantic story a few years ago about the sexual harassment she received for years from now banned head coach Paul Riley. She said about her return to the game and her unexpected international call-up with a Women's World Cup Finals team, that she hoped to: “inspire others to follow their dreams, no matter how far out of reach they may seem."
Eleven players in the Ireland squad attended college in the United States (Courtney Brosnan—Hofstra University, Sophie Whitehouse—Colombia University, who grew up in Tanzania and America and holds Irish-U.S. dual citizenship, Diane Caldwell—Hofstra University, Hayley Nolan—University of Hartford, Megan Connolly—Florida State University, Jamie Finn—Florida Gulf Coast University, Roma McLaughlin—Central Connecticut State University, Sinead Farrelly—University of Virginia, Heather Payne—Florida State University, Kyra Carusa—Stanford/Georgetown and Marissa Sheva—Penn State University).
Eight Irish players called up for trip to the States have one cap or fewer, including four uncapped players in goalkeeper Sophie Whitehouse, forward Alannah McEvoy, midfielder Sinead Farrelly (see above) and defender Tara O'Hanlon (18) of Peamount United at home. O'Hanlon made her debut late in the second half of the Austin match while Farrelly started the game. Whitehouse and McEvoy did not see action on the trip.
Ireland will be one of eight teams making its FIFA Women's World Cup debut this summer, joined by the Philippines, Vietnam, Zambia, Morocco, Haiti, Portugal and Panama in the newly expanded field of 32 teams.
Ireland's WWC Finals Qualification has been a boom to the always financially challenged FAI (Football Association of Ireland—for more on the financial plight of the federation, see the excellent book on the FAI's former Chief Executive John Delaney and how the FAI effectively became a ward of UEFA for many years: Champagne Football: John Delaney and the betrayal of Irish football—the inside story, by Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan; Sandy Cove, Milton Keynes, England, 2020).
According to BusinessPlus, the FAI has raised an unprecedented $5 million of sponsorship deals from airline companies as well as fashion, sportswear and watch brands. One hopes that this cash influx is used to develop the senior league and grassroots football in the nation, where Gaelic Football—driven by local teams and clubs—still captures a number of talented youth players—both on the male and female side.
U.S. WNT Roster for Ireland matches
Forward Alyssa Thompson, the number pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft by Angel City, who scored in her first NWSL game a few weeks ago, replaced the injured Mallory Swanson (see above) on the U.S. Women's National Team training camp roster before the second game in St. Louis (see more about Thompson in: The Week in Women's Football: NWSL preview - Kanu mega signing; Angel City struggles - Tribal Football).
U.S. Women's National Team Roster by Position (Club; Caps/Goals)-
USA vs. Republic of Ireland – Updated for April 11 match in St. Louis, Mo.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current; 10), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 13), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 90)
DEFENDERS (10): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 23/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 48/1), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 28/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 131/24), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 15/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 28/0), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 37/0), Kelley O'Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 156/3), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 215/0), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 74/1)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Julie Ertz (Unattached; 117/20), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 127/27), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC; 12/2), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 88/24), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 50/7), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 23/3), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 43/3)
FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 18/5), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 205/121), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 16/2), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 28/12), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; 2/0), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 52/15)
Sunday April 9
Argentina 3 Venezuela 0
Argentina won handily over Venezuela in their second match of the April friendly series, with goals by Sophia Braun (ex-Gonzaga University and Leon of Mexico) in the fourth minute; and second half goals by Maria Flo Bonsegundo of Madrid CFF of Spain and Estefania Banini of Atletico Madrid of Spain, in La Roija Province in Spain.
Tuesday April 11
Korea Republic 5 vs. Zambia 0
In the second game of the series in Yongin, Korea Republic shutout the high scoring Zambians 5-0, with Lee Geum-min again scoring twice, along with a brace from Eun-Seon Park (36). Park had been out of the national side for seven years before head coach Colin Bell brought her back into the fold last year—she played for her nation at the 2015 WWC in Canada.
New Zealand 0 vs. Nigeria 3
American head coach Randy Waldrum's Nigeria side ramped up their attack in an impressive 3-0 win over New Zealand in Antalya, Turkey, with a first half goal from Onome Ebi (39—of Levante in Spain after years with Minsk in Belarus) and second half goals by midfielder Jennifer Echegini (22—who plays at Florida State University after three years at Mississippi State University and who grew up in London, England) and Ugochi Desire (29—who is in her second season with Dijon in France after six seasons with Guingamp of France). New Zealand has to be in panic mode as they haven't won a game since a friendly against Philippines last September (2-1) in California, with eight defeats and only two ties since then—against Iceland and Korea Republic—with both 1-1 scorelines. It is not looking good for the co-hosts this summer and one hopes that they don't bounce out of the tournament early as Qatar did last fall in the men's World Cup.
Italy 2 vs. Colombia 1
Italy won an interesting game in Rome with Usme scoring again for the visitors (in the 77th minute from the penalty spot) to tie the game and before Monica Ramos (24) of Gremio of Brazil scored an own goal in the 84th minute to ultimately give Italy the win. Colombia has only one win in five matches this season, a 1-0 win over Nigeria in Leon, Mexico in February.
Denmark 1 vs. Japan 0
Moeka Minami (24) of AS Roma in Italy scored an own goal in the 78th minute in Odense.
Germany 1 vs. Brazil 2
Brazil returned from a two-game tour of Europe after a statement-making 2-1 win in Nuremburg against Germany, jumping off to an early lead in the 11th minute with a goal by Tamires (35) of Corinthians in Sao Paolo. Racing Louisville's new signing Ary Borges (23—who has 1 goal in two games (both ties) thus far in the NWSL: see more about Borges in: The Week in Women's Football: Debinha explains choosing Kansas over Arsenal; NWSL transfer wrap; expansion chat - Tribal Football) doubled the scoreline in the 38th minute before Julie Brand (20) of Wolfsburg pulled one back in second half injury time. Brazil narrowly loss to England earlier in the trip (see above) on penalties and should be very pleased with their pre-WWC European tour.
Netherlands 4 vs. Poland 1
In Rotterdam, Poland went ahead in the 32th minute with a goal by KFC Koln of Germany's Weronika Zawistowska (23), but an own goal two minutes before the half-time break knotted the score and the Netherlands scored three in the second half, led by Lineth Beerensteyn's (25—Juventus of Italy) winner in the 52nd minute, who later added an assist.
England 0 vs. Australia 2
Chelsea-based Sam Kerr and Charlotte Grant of Vittsjo of Sweden scored the goals to give Australia an outstanding road win over reigning Women's EURO and 2023 Finalissima winners England—the first defeat for England in 31 matches since Netherlands native Sarina Wiegman took charge after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, held in the summer of 2021 due to COVID (see more above). England defender and captain Leah Williamson was at fault on both goals, first heading weakly back to goalkeeper Mary Earps, which Kerr pounced on to clip the ball past the goalkeeper. On the second goal, Williamson inadvertently deflected Grant's shot into the goal, leaving Earps stranded. Cortnee Vine (Sydney FC) came on in the 40th minute and was brilliant with her attacking and insightful passes. The game was held in rainy conditions in front of a good crowd in Brentford, in suburban West London.
Sweden 3 Norway 3
Sweden tied 3-3 in the small Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg in an entertaining match. Sweden took the lead in the 17th minute through Frida Rolfo (29), who is in her second season with Barcelona in Spain and has 80 caps for her national side. But Norway scored twice within the first 15 minutes of the second half to take the lead. Sweden tied the match in the 83rd minute and then took the lead through Olivia Schough (32) of Rosengard in the 91st minute. Then, Norway's Frida Maanum (23), in her second season with Arsenal of the WSL and who has 7 league goals in 16 regular season games. scored her second goal of the game in the 96th minute
France 2 vs. Canada 1
France defeated visiting Canada 2:1 at the Stade Marie-Marvingt in Le Mans. Grace Geyoro and Léa Le Garrec scored the goals for France, who led 2-0 before forward Jordyn Huitema (OL Reign in Seattle) scored Canada's lone goal in the 71st minute. Defender Sydney Collins (23—North Carolina Courage and ex-University of California) earned her first "A" International cap for Canada when she came into the match in the 76th minute. Canada's head coach Bev Priestman said after the game: “I'm so glad we're learning these lessons now, because to climb you have to learn. We've got a top group ahead of us [at the Women's World Cup with co-host Australia, Republic of Ireland and Nigeria] and that's why we chose to play top 10 teams to test ourselves and learn. I see the bigger picture and have every belief that, come the World Cup and a strong 23 player squad, we will be ready."
Janine Beckie, a veteran of 101 caps, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee earlier this month playing for the Portland Thorns. Priestman told the media before the match in Le Mans: “That's a huge loss and it is hard to replace. I can sit here and say 'Yeah, we've got the answer (as to who can replace Beckie).' We don't, that's the reality. But I think what we do have to do is utilize the best players on the team across the pitch and that's what I'm working through right now. I'll get to have a look at it in France."
Other key veterans who are injured for Canada include Deanne Rose (Reading of the WSL), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash) and Desiree Scott (Kansas City Current), but Priestman is hopeful that they will be ready for the Women's World Cup in July. Centre back Shelina Zadorsky (Tottenham Hotspur of the WSL) is dealing with an illness so Priestman did not call her into the camp ahead of the France game. A positive was that Priestman brought in Jayde Riviere, who signed a two-and one-half-year deal with Manchester United of the WSL, after not signing up for the 2023 NWSL Draft [she played collegiately at the University of Michigan and last year with AFC Ann Arbor in Michigan in the USL W League]. Priestman said about Riviere: “I'm over the moon … She's an incredible fullback."
Priestman also said that forward Jenna Hellstrom (27) announced her retirement in late February and is looking to get into coaching. She had six caps for Canada and most recently played for Dijon in France, for four clubs in Sweden and in 2020 for the Washington Spirit.
Priestman added that she did not believe that Canada would be able to stage a home game before the WWC, particularly since the NWSL was not releasing players for the World Cup until June 26, but she hoped to hold two closed-door matches while in Australia before the tournament starts. Note: the NWSL will stage only one regular season match during the Women's World Cup, but will hold Challenge Cup games and utilize a number of younger players to fill in for their internationals during that time.
Canada Roster for France Game in April 2023
Goalkeepers: Sabrina D'Angelo, Arsenal (England); Lysianne Proulx, SCU Torreense (Portugal); Kailen Sheridan, San Diego Wave (NWSL).
Defenders: Kadeisha Buchanan, Chelsea (England); Gabrielle Carle, Washington Spirit (NWSL); Allysha Chapman, Houston Dash (NWSL); Vanessa Gilles, Olympique Lyonnais (France); Sydney Collins, North Carolina Courage (NWSL); Ashley Lawrence, Paris Saint-Germain (France); Jayde Riviere, Manchester United (England); Jade Rose, Harvard University (NCAA); Bianca St-Georges, Chicago Red Stars (NWSL); Sura Yekka, Le Havre AC (France).
Midfielders: Simi Awujo, USC (NCAA); Jessie Fleming, Chelsea (England); Julia Grosso, Juventus (Italy); Quinn, OL Reign (NWSL); Sophie Schmidt, Houston Dash (NWSL).
Forwards: Amanda Allen, NDC-CDN Ontario; Jordyn Huitema, OL Reign (NWSL); Cloe Lacasse, Benfica (Portugal); Clarissa Larisey, BK Hacken FF (Sweden); Adriana Leon, Manchester United (England); Christine Sinclair (capt.), Portland Thorns (NWSL); Evelyne Viens, Kristianstads DFF (Sweden).
Scotland 4 vs. Costa Rica 0
This was a special game for Tica forward Priscila Chinchilla, who has played in Glasgow with Glasgow City for two years, winning the Scottish League Player of the Year title in 2021.
Chinchilla said: “I am very grateful to this country that, since I arrived, they have treated me very well and made me feel at home. [I am] Happy that we are going to play against the Scotland National Team. We are working to make them have a good game… There are quite a few players I know who play in the Scottish league and I have five teammates who are with their national team. It's going to be a good game; I want to play against them."
The result for Chinchilla and Costa Rica was not a positive one as Scotland won 4-0 at Hampden Park in Glasgow. Seventeen-year-old Emma Watson of Glasgow Rangers scored twice in only her second full national team game—the same total of goals that she has scored in 21 games this season for the Gers. Watson started the scoring in the 5th minute and Scotland extended their lead with an own goal and then a tally by Caroline Weir (27 of Real Madrid—where she has 14 goals in 23 matches in her first season in the Spanish League after four years with Manchester City) in the first half. Watson added her second tally in the 66th minute for the final 4-0 scoreline.
Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham is on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey