England are not favorites today, they go into the match the underdogs with the bookies.
In truth, there is probably some sentimental money on England making the true spread wider. It would surprise me if England won today.
The reasons for this aren’t much talked about. Spain are generally talked of as a better team. England hang on threads, Spain’s vast superiority to other teams on their side of the draw is little mentioned.
But here is where England can dream. The last time they played Spain, in Brighton, they won despite being the worse side. Andy Young , who was there with his daughter Rosie, texted me that England were being played off the park and yet they won.
“Finding a way to win”
That’s another fine phrase that has become a footballing cliche! But England’s lionesses have won a lot of games they shouldn’t have lately, including that infamous performance against Nigeria.
The injuries, suspensions and retirements , that have transformed our starting 11 since last summer, mean that this is not the team that “experienced” winning the Euros. It is not the team that beat Spain in Brighton (against the run of play).
Somehow, England have found themselves in a final against most people’s expectations. “Finding a way to win” is actually a mixture of guts and Kylie – “they should be so lucky”.
I hope to be proved wrong.
I will be on Lady Lucy , relying on 3/4 g from Hambledon to Shiplake as I try to follow the match. I don’t expect to England to win, I expect them to get beat in 90 minutes and I’m prepared for all the “they were never skilled enough” punditry that will follow.
England are in catch up mode, we have not invested big- over time – in women’s football as they’ve done in the US, Scandinavia, France and Spain. Which is why I think the Lionesses are second rate in terms of footballing talent.
But if England win (and if they so much as score) expect to hear the horn of Lady Lucy a tooting hard!
I will clear the diary on the morning a winning England team parades the world cup through the streets of London, I will stand in Trafalgar Square or on the balcony of the National Gallery, I will cheer as loud as my old lungs will let me.
One statistic I hold close. In my lifetime- England have a 100% record in world cup finals. My head says no, my proud English heart says “yes”.
Remember this? pic.twitter.com/ypbtptYTrJ
— Henry Tapper (@henryhtapper) August 20, 2023