Impetus’ Johnathan Stack had an EXCLUSIVE chat with England captain Leah Williamson ahead of the Lionesses’ return to action in February’s Arnold Clark Cup (13/1/23).
Above: Leah Williamson celebrating with England last summer. She is aiming to be doing it all over again this August. Photo: Lionesses.
With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup fast approaching, teams will be looking forward to honing final preparations ahead of this summer’s showpiece tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
The Lionesses will be going into the World Cup as one of the tournament favourites, having had a great 2022. Their landmark victory over the USA at Wembley in October got everyone talking about England’s chances of adding a World title to their European crown.
England’s qualification was imperious – a 100% record and a goal difference of +80 as well as finishing 2022 unbeaten.
Captain Leah Williamson spoke of England’s chances ahead of this summer’s tournament saying: “Yeah, I think everybody wants to stay fit and wants to keep firing to give themselves the best chance to be involved in the summer.”
In the draw for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, England has been placed in Group B with Denmark, China, and the Group B playoff winner which will be either Senegal, Haiti, or Chile. Williamson knows that going all the way is a tough ask for any nation competing saying: “It’s a World Cup, it is not going to be easy. Every game presents new challenges, but for us potentially people that we don’t come across that often.”
Ahead of the World Cup, England has a busy schedule in 2023 as the Lionesses have the Arnold Clark Cup in February against Italy, Belgium, and South Korea, and then they have the UEFA/CONMEBOL Finalissia against South American champions Brazil at Wembley Stadium in April.
You throw in one or two World Cup warm-up games too and that is five or six games before the opening game against Denmark on 28th July, Williamson knows to be the best you have to play the best saying: “Ahead of a World Cup you want to play good teams.
“You want to get the best competition to see where you are really at, obviously, you want to win those games. But it is more about prep, where can you get better, and where are you already great. And that game at Wembley is another occasion for women’s football ahead of what should be an incredible summer, I hope it sells out and sets the tone for the summer.”
It will be interesting to see just how far the Lionesses can go next summer, all we know is it is going to be a great year for women’s football.