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England Women 0-0 Czech Republic Women

Sub edited by Cameron Owens

Lucy Bronze, a star, leader, and figure head of English football since she bounced onto the international scene in 2013. A story of willingness and determination demonstrates what it takes to become an England great such as Bronze. Speaking in an interview earlier this week she pointed out, ‘‘I was told at 20 years old that I wouldn’t play past 27.’’ This came after suffering as many as four knee injuries as a child. With Bronze claiming her 100th Cap against opponents Czech Republic there was a clear statement of intent within the game not only with the inclusion of the taking of the knee but also it saw the #LetGirlsPlay movement take centre stage. A movement focused on the women’s game getting the female youth into football. The scheme was plastered all around a tightly packed American Express Stadium as flags and banners were passed out by organisers; the half time show continued the support with T-shirts bearing the #Letgirlsplay phrase shot into the crowd with well manned air cannons.  

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The #LetGirlsPlay campaign is driven on the increase in girls’ football that is played in Schools, with it currently concluding that only ’64 percent of schools in the United Kingdom currently offer football in PE lessons for girls’, with their hope for the campaign leading to ‘75 percent by 2024’. This want for inclusion with girls and football will only be made even stronger due to recent European success. Referring to now England Regular Chloe Kelly poking home England’s first trophy since 1966 in the form of the 2022 European Championship. Furthermore, with the likes of Lucy Bronze it provides an inspiring role model for young girls wanting to get into football. Her story holds a real attitude that no one can tell me what I can and can’t do, evidently in her story through the way she was told she would have retired by age 27; however, she still parades the pitch at an elder 30 years old having played for the likes of Man City and Olympic Lyon while currently holding her own at Spanish giants FC Barcelona. A tale fit of inspiring young ladies that need to take the leap into football and not listen to what certain people may tell them in the regard of what PE time should partake for girls. 

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For many the #LetGirlsPlay movement is a really key statement to modern sport with England newbie Lauren James being a firm supporter. James, an Arsenal academy graduate; has broken onto the Women’s Super League stage earning herself a start in last night’s game against the Czech Republic which saw her operate the left-hand side and threatening constantly towards the Czech near post. However, with England unable to score throughout the 90 minutes the game came to a rather underwhelming conclusion leaving fans with hour long train cues and anticipation of what could have been.  

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The fight against racism continued as the England players took the knee in unity before tonight’s kick off; however, the Czech Republic women stayed standing foreshadowing perhaps a lack of unity. Begging the question that everyone should show they stand against racism through the symbol of the knee. While also the need for more female inclusion was made paramount so that everyone could see displaying a real drive by the FA to provide more equality when talking in terms of football opportunity for girls in education. It make the point that sporting events in the modern day are not just simply events showcasing sport instead they focus on the limitations and problems that lurk between the lines of a simple game.  

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The England versus Czech Republic game saw the England women winless for the first time since February when they last drew with Spain. it’s also the first time that the England women have not scored in a game since that same game which saw them held to a goalless encounter during the Arnold Clark Cup. The AMEX played host to a game lacking a clear need for composure with sloppy touches and passes flying out of play throughout Tuesday nights’ proceedings. A game where the missing Leah Williamson was clearly missed not only for her captaincy and leadership but also for the calm she provides at the back with centre-back partner Millie Bright. It was also upfront where England struggled to convert; chances were in thick supply; however, the end product was far from showing. Striker Alessia Russo was another missing from the England squad through injury; her striking being an integral part in England’s success at this previous summer’s tournament.  

After such a Performance England Gaffer Sarina Wiegman will have questions to answer considering how dominant her side were when they played the USA this past Friday night, A stronger team in terms of rankings and current form. Last night’s draw could definitely be seen as a setback in terms of England’s World cup preparation for 2023 as it showed a clink in the armour in terms of squad depth arguing that without some of the named above that were missing this past night England can seem flustered and lazy in front of goal without the right models around the team. However, with the beauty of friendlies it could have simply been a case of trying out a new plan for Wiegman where she has learnt what does and doesn’t work for team. Overall, this night displayed a level of new opportunity as Lucy Bronze grew ever further into an England great, while another player could be on the brim of stardom through Lauren James. These two players being at different stages of their careers really demonstrates just how far young girls can come when they take up football drawing on the importance of the #LetGirlsPlay movement in terms of the development of the women’s and youth level football. 

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June 2024