Ian Herbert: There is now real hope that England can catch up with the USA in time for next year’s World Cup

The New York Times said on Sunday that Homecoming Football – a “satirical anthem that England fans chant every time their team receive a title” – was blaring from the speakers at Wembley. One writer noted that “everyone, you wouldn’t be surprised, knows the words by heart.”

The $64,000 question for the new European champions now is whether they can reach the Holy Grail and beat the United States at the World Cup next summer.

This is very important. Legendary Brandy Chastain, USA’s top scorer in the 1999 World Cup final that saw the match explode in the US, was what Chloe Kelly conjured by whipping her shirt after scoring the winning goal against Germany on Sunday.

The Women’s Super League begins on September 10 with live matches on BBC and Sky Sports

Megan Rapinoe, the American game’s ultimate celebrity, tweeted “Outrageous. Fantastic after Ella Tone’s goal. However, Toone’s club and fellow countryman Alessia Russo refused to renew Manchester United’s contract ahead of the European Championship, as there is still a sharp feeling within the English women’s game that the facilities Not close to what it might be.

No one is calling for the equal pay that Rapinoe and her teammates have struggled for on the field, but players still describe Premier League clubs paying lip service to the idea of ​​equal facilities and support structures. This was the reason why Casey Stoney left United in 2021 and is now managing in San Diego.

Many feel the same frustration at the academy level, where there is evidence of under-18 girls training in the previous season’s kit, while the boys ran out on the last line, and there is no change of outfit for some academy girls when they train. the rain. This would be unimaginable in the United States.

The relatively amateurish spirit at many WSL clubs explains why Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal have won everything in sight. A New York Times report during the Euros highlighted that most WSL clubs do not employ a single full-time female scout – outsourcing to clients instead.

England lifted the 2022 Women's European Championship after beating Germany 2-1 in the final

England lifted the 2022 Women’s European Championship after beating Germany 2-1 in the final

Substitute Chloe Kelly scored the lion's winner in extra time at Wembley

Substitute Chloe Kelly scored the lion’s winner in extra time at Wembley

Tottenham assistant coach Vicki Gibson had to travel around the Euro matches in search of potential players. Domestically, Germany and France have many years ahead. This is why Georgia Stanway City left for Bayern Munich.

However, there is an increasing level of complex thinking within the English ladies’ game about how to develop the big players technically. Tommy Walsh, Everton’s academy director for six years, has developed ideas on how to apply a training dimension to what makes a female footballer different from a male – including her speed.

“There is a 20 percent difference in terms of how quickly males can cover the ground compared to females,” Walsh says. If you play from behind and make a mistake, the male can recover more quickly.

Nobody is demanding the equal pay that Megan Rapinoe fought for in the courts

Nobody is demanding the equal pay that Megan Rapinoe fought for in the courts

If the player who wins that spin is trained to see the opportunity, and to get the ball into the penalty area instead of taking an unnecessary pass, this is a real opportunity. It’s getting into the mindset that these transitions, even at the highest levels, tend to happen four or five times in the game.

Statistically, there are far more goals scored in the women’s in-area game and far fewer assists – which are set aside – coming from wide areas. Walsh believes coaches can adapt their playing styles to take advantage of them.

He is among many who argue that it is no coincidence that the two teams competing in the final were run by women who are simply not trying to implement a homogeneous training method. If more men entered the Women’s Super League with more money being offered, it would be a mistake to copy tactical strategies.

The view from within the game is that the England squad under Sarina Wiegman is now physically comparable to the United States.

The view from inside the game is that the England squad that Sarina Wigman now plays is physically comparable to the United States

The view from inside the game is that the England squad that Sarina Wigman now plays is physically comparable to the United States

It was their inferiority in this division that saw them lose to the United States in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, although three years of elite clubs’ approach to strength, conditioning and nutrition has changed the picture.

“The fact that you’re a professional, you train every day and not have to juggle that with another job has changed everything,” says Everton defender Gaby George, whose friendship with Kelly goes back to his time at the club.

Director Phil Neville warned after the defeat to the United States that “the train must continue to move forward at a rapid pace. If you are not standing still. If you are standing still, people will overtake you.”

Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh were frustrated after losing the World Cup semi-finals to the United States in 2019

Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh were frustrated after losing the World Cup semi-finals to the United States in 2019

However, it is the US team that is most in danger of being overrun now. Rapinoe, 37, and Alex Morgan, 33, pass the baton and the next generation may take time to fall asleep.

Although they just defeated Canada to win their CONCACAF Championship and secure a place in the 2024 Olympics, they don’t display the same indomitable strength. The heavy defeat to Sweden in the Olympics, and to Canada in the same competition, created uncertainty for coach Vlatko Andonovsky, who has witnessed at least three Euro matches.

Given the very physical aspect of England’s final against Germany, it is important that some in the US feel the Europeans are ahead of them in the darker arts – not part of the college environment that built US power.

Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle celebrate after the former's goal in the semi-final with England

Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle celebrate after the former’s goal in the semi-final with England

Of course, England will bear the brunt of the expectations that their European champion status carries, although Wigman has said she is willing to help with that.

They are a little used to this fame in their clubs, but it will now take it to another level. Some will manage it well, others will need support. It will take time.

The home game in England may take time to catch this wave, but Wigman appears to be the primary asset as her team chases down the ultimate challengers.

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