Breaking: England Lionesses to pull out of 2021 She Believes Cup
Updated: Aug 7
The Lionesses, England’s Women’s National Soccer team has removed itself from the impending She Believes Cup, an invitational tournament held in the United States. The tournament began in 2016 and is played across three U.S. cities, varying year to year. The USWNT, the three time champions have defeated the best squads in the world ranging from Japan to Germany to England to France and Spain.
The England side has featured in every She Believes Cup to date but have opted out of the 2021 competition due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. The Lionesses are ranked 6th in the FIFA Women’s World ranking. Finishing their 2019 World Cup run with a semi-final loss to the USWNT, the Lionesses have proved themselves to be fierce competitors on the world stage with a She Believes Cup title of their own. The Lionesses, a squad featuring many stars of their own are home to the likes of Ellen White, Bronze boot winner in the 2019 World Cup, Olympique Lyonnais’ Lucy Bronze, and Rachel Daly of the 2020 NWSL champions, the Houston Dash.
The intense rivalry between the Lionesses and the USWNT will be sorely missed by fans globally as the last match between the two was during the World Cup as the Americans came to a screamer of a win. Being fortunate enough to go to the World Cup and see this match, the energy was electric and the Lionesses made a case for themselves to be considered one of the best squads in the world. However, the side has not been able to reach their full potential due to poor coaching.
Phil Neville, head coach of the Lionesses is a former England National team and Premier League player. Despite success as an athlete, Neville has proven to be an inadequate coach and will be replaced in the coming year as his contract runs out in July of 2021. Nearly 150 qualified candidates have lined up to take over for Neville and media speculates that the list includes former USWNT coach Jill Ellis, one of the most successful coaches in American sports history. Casey Stoney, former Lioness and head coach of Manchester United and Emma Hayes, head coach of Chelsea Women have also been linked to the position.
The Lionesses removal from such a prestigious tournament goes to show the severe impact of the pandemic on sports and the lack of control that the U.S. has shown in regard to containing the virus. Though a difficult decision, the Lionesses and the FA have made the safest decision.
Photo: Evening Standard