The FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Canada on Tuesday and their are five Arsenal Ladies in the England squad that is aiming for their first ever appearance in a World Final, despite there being 24 countries in the hat for the first time ever.
The Gunners taking part for England are Goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain, Defenders Alex Scott and Casey Stoney, Midfielder Jordan Nobbs, and striker Lianne Sanderson. Their first problem will be to get qualified from Group F by overcoming France, who the Lionesses haven’t beaten since 1974, but after a brilliant qualifying series where they won ten out ten and only conceding one goal, Sanderson believes they are ready to challenge for the trophy.
She said on theFA.com: “We have grown a lot in the last 18 months.
“We’ve had a couple of losses along the way (in friendlies) which we are disappointed about but we are a far better team now than we were against Germany in November.
“Everybody is buzzing to be here. Every time we have trained we have left nothing on the pitch.
“We’ve got some great, world class players and I really believe the stage is set for us to shine.”
The Arsenal forward is also not worried about England’s record against France, and said confidently: “We know how good France are, but I’m sure they know how good we are too.
“It’s important that we remember what we can bring. We are disappointed to have lost to Canada, but we have beaten Canada a few times over the last few years so we know we can beat the top teams.
“We haven’t got a great record against France but that doesn’t concern us because we’ll be ready next week.”
She continued: “It’s a big game and we want to start the tournament on the front foot. We haven’t got time to get into it. We’ve got to be ready from minute one.
“But that’s not something that I’m concerned about. We have been preparing for this first match for a long time.”
Alex Scott also thinks this team can go all the way. “We are going into the tournament like every other team, thinking that this could be our year,” she said on Arsenal.com. “That has to be the aim otherwise why would we go over there?
“We will have our work cut out in the group but I think our preparation has been spot-on so we are well-equipped to go far in this tournament.
“I think the squad is as good as we have so we are confident,” Scott added. “In every area we have youth, experience and quality which will be crucial in such a high-profile tournament.
“We have played the top two teams in the world, Germany and the USA, in recent times, as well as winning the Cyprus Cup again. From our learning and what we have within the squad, we can trouble the best.”
With the Gunners Mens team not playing for at least another six weeks we will have ample chance to cheer on the Arsenal Ladies in Canada. The opening game against France on Tuesday will give us a pointer as to whether this could be our year or not. I’ll definitely be tuning in for that one!
Here is a great infographic created by BlueFire Broadband to give you all the information you need to know about the competition.