A Long Time Coming

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (November 23rd 2014)

A Change is Gonna Come

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It;s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come”, sang the legendary soul singer Sam Cooke. Just 42 years ago Englandʼs womenʼs football team played their first international against Scotland at Greenock since the FAʼs 50 year-long ban on womenʼs football was overturned. Prior to that outrageous ban womenʼs football had been popular. Before the ʻWar to End All Warsʼ it had even threatened to eclipse menʼs football.

The ban had a seriously detrimental effect. Other nations had not stood still and there was now a lot of catching up to do as the lack of exposure, investment and development of infrastructure all took a heavy toll on the sport. The first international that England played was in Scotland, but that squad had trained at Wembley Stadium ahead of that match. That team captained by Sheila Parker, who was later inducted into the Hall of fame, never got to play a match on the famous turf.

Against the Odds

This afternoon – almost 50 years after Cooke was murdered – a seismic change will come to Wembley Stadium. History will be made and itʼs long overdue, as Englandʼs women will play at Wembley Stadium against European champions Germany in front of around 50,000 football fans. Five years ago England met Germany in the final of the European Championship, losing 6-2. Both teams have a very impressive record in qualifiers for next yearʼs World Cup.

Just five years ago the best English talent had to go abroad to develop their skills to the maximum. There was no professional league here. Lianne Sanderson is a classic example. She had the dedication and talent to become a professional footballer, but like Kelly Smith before her, she had to go to the USA where the sport was taken seriously.

She had played for both Arsenal and Chelsea before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. She also played in Spain before another stint in the USA. After that she returned to Arsenal, the club she started her life in football at, a better player, having benefited from a commitment to womenʼs football in the USA that was absent here at the time.

Now the Football Association has demonstrated that it is committed to womenʼs football. In 2010 the FA delivered a long-awaited promise – the Womenʼs Super League. Liverpool recently won the title after a nail-biting conclusion to the season. Sanderson has returned, helping to build that league and pass on what she has learned.

Making History

The challenges are immense. Television wasnʼt interested in womenʼs football at first, but that has changed. The first time they will play at the home of football, the BBC will cover the match live. Another piece of history will be made as Birmingham Cityʼs Karen Carney will receive her golden cap.

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Carney, like Sanderson, has come full circle – a journey that took her to Arsenal and then Chicago before returning to Birmingham. She won her first cap in 2005 – the youngest player given a debut by former manager Hope Powell. The winger has scored 14 times for England. She also played five matches for Great Britain during Londonʼs Olympic Games in 2012 including at Wembley against Brasil.

She will become only the seventh English female player to reach the landmark. She will join Gillian Coulthard, Kelly Smith, Casey Stoney, Rachel Unitt, Fara Williams and Rachel Yankey as Englandʼs female centurions. She will also be the youngest, aged just 27. Carney hopes that this afternoonʼs match will be the first of many at Wembley.

Coulthardʼs record of 119 caps was beaten by Yankey two years ago. Yankey is Englandʼs most capped player with 129, but she is over 200 caps shy of the most capped player ever, the USAʼs Kristine Lilley who appeared for her country a staggering 352 times.

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Three Lions Given Roaring Send-off to World Cup

ENGLAND World Cup Wembley Warm up: FT Jagielka 69′, 64′ Cahill, 32′ Sturridge ENGLAND 3-0 PERU. Three Lions’ confidence boosting win for BRAZIL

Kick off time at Wembley tonight

by RICHARD IV
@lmenin at the Wembley Stadium
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ENGLAND V PERU FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL
ENGLAND (4-2-3-1)
Joe Hart (Gk)
Glen Johnson, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Leighton Baines:
Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard;
Alan Lallana, Daniel Welbeck, Wayne Rooney;
Daniel Sturridge
Coach: Roy Hodgson
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PERU (4-2-3-1)
Raul Fernandez (Gk)
Christian Ramos, Alberto Rodriguez, Alexander Callens, Yoshimar Yotun;
Luis Advincula, Josepmir Ballon;
Jean Deza, Luis Ramirez, Ronaldo Cruzado;
Andre Carrillo
Coach: Pablo Bengoechea
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WEMBLEY. 15′ In the best stadium in the world is nil – nil so far. Good fresh football by Peru, heavy legs in the England side so far.

Up to the 16′ plenty of chances for the South Americans on the break. On the last one Joe Hart had to quickly and promptly come off his penalty box to intercept a dangerous ball through.
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18′ On the up side for the Three Lions had their wonder chance with Walbeck who just sthoot
wide from wide inside the box.

32′ GOOAAAL for ENGLAND. After the missed chance England kept the pressure on the Peruvian so on a thrown by Glen Johnson almost on the corner kick, Daniel Sturridge let the ball come inside eluding the marker, continued along the 18 yds line and then when at the beginning of the D shape lashed out a bended-dropping ball into the top corner.  The marvelous 87,000 passionate England crowds that filled up the best stadium in the world (Kaiser Franz Beckenbauer’s words) exploded in awe.
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34′. Rooney’s header just above the bar from a Gerrard free kick

44′ Colossal chance for Peru to equalize was Ramirez was freed  in front of Hart who bravely deflected in corner with a leg.

SECOND HALF
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64′ GOALL by ENGLAND. On the a corner kick Cahill after a few struggling with the opponents defenders managed to find himself on a ball dropping just above Welbeck’s head and to drove powerfully into the net.

69′ GOOAL for ENGLANd. Following another corner, the ball came into the hand of the Peru’s goalie who, disturbed by a team mate, lost the ball that dropped just on the path of Phil Jagielka who easily tapped in the empty goal.

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ENGLAND WORLD CUP WEMBLEY WARM UP: HT 32′ STURRIDGE ENGLAND 1-0 PERU KO 20.00

by RICHARD IV

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@lmenin at the Wembley Stadium

WEMBLEY. The best stadium in the world Nil – nil so far. Good fresh football by Peru, heavy legs in the England side so far.

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Up to the 16′ plenty of chances for the South Americans on the break. On the last one Joe Hart had to quickly and promptly come off his penalty box to intercept a dangerous ball through.
18′ On the up side for the Three Lions had their wonder chance with Sturridge who just shot  wide from wide inside the box.

32′ GOOAAAL for ENGLAND. After the missed chance England kept the pressure on the Peruvian so on a thrown by Glen Johnson almost on the corner kick, Daniel Sturridge let the ball come inside eluding the marker, continued along the 18 yds line and then when at the beginning of the D shape lashed out a bended-dropping ball into the top corner. The passionate England crowds that filled up the best stadium in the world (Beckenbauer’s words) exploded in awe.

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34′. Rooney’s header just above the bar from a Gerrard free kick

44 Luis Ramirez of Corinthians has great chance. Joe Hart sticks out a leg and concedes a corner. Great chance.

England lead 1-0 at half time. Peru have silenced a few critics!