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England women's team told anything other than WINNING the 2023 World Cup will be 'failure'


England women’s team told anything other than WINNING the 2023 World Cup will be deemed as ‘failure’ by the FA… who offer Phil Neville no assurances of leading the team at the Tokyo Olympics next summer

  • The FA has set England women’s team a target of winning the 2023 World Cup
  • If England do not win that or the European Championships they will have ‘failed’  
  • Manager Phil Neville hopes to lead the team into next summer’s Tokyo Olympics
  • However, the FA have offered no assurances and may call in an interim manager

The Football Association has set a target for the England women’s team of winning the 2023 World Cup and said it will be a failure if they do not lift either that trophy or the home European Championships next year.

Baroness Sue Campbell, head of the women’s game, provided no guarantees that Phil Neville would lead the team into next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, saying that there would be announcement next month. 

Neville has indicated that he does want to lead the team and his successor Sabrina Wiegman will be leading the Dutch side in Tokyo. But Campbell said an interim manager could be called on.

If England don't win either the World Cup or the European Championships they will have failed

If England don’t win either the World Cup or the European Championships they will have failed

‘We will make that call and announce in November,’ Campbell said. Asked if a failure to win the Euros or the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand would be a failure, she said: ‘Yes.’

Wiegman said when announced as England manager in August that she did not think she could be judged only on whether England win a tournament. ‘You cannot say ahead, “We are going to win this,” she said. ‘If you play the best you can play it’s OK. It could be [you reach] a final you win. But you could lose also.’

The FA’s aims were announced as part of a new strategy for the women’s game, which will include a style of play running through all England age groups up to Wiegman’s national side. 

The men’s own passing game – enshrined in the FA’s ‘DNA’ document six years ago – will not simply be copied through, the governing body insists.

Campbell said: ‘We’ve looked at everything from how we want to defend and how we want to move forward and how we want to transition from defence to attack. 

Phil Neville has had no assurances of leading the team at the Tokyo Olympics next summer

Phil Neville has had no assurances of leading the team at the Tokyo Olympics next summer

Baroness Sue Campbell (right) says there will be an announcement about the boss next month

 Baroness Sue Campbell (right) says there will be an announcement about the boss next month

‘Whether we want to use those wide players or we want to go down the middle. We’ve looked at all of that and looked at what is most effective in women’s football. There are massively different physical demands.’

The style of playing has been developed from an examination by Kay Cossington, FA head of technical women’s football, of the game in the US, France, Japan, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. ‘We’ve got to try and anticipate what’s [going to be effective] in 2023, 2024, not right now,’ Campbell said.

The strategy document’s main emphasis is to ensure that every girl at primary school gets the opportunity to play football and be introduced to it in the same way that boys are, through the curriculum and after-school sessions. The fact that many are not, with some school heads resistant, remains a major obstacle.

After another weekend which called the standard of women’s football refereeing into question, with a Brighton player not send off after receiving two yellow cards, the new document does not commit to full time referees.

Campbell said full-time roles were not practical for some female referees in the Women’s Super League. But each referee in the division has been allocated an international coach with whom they watch back every match in full.

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