England women make history

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Some people are saying that the big football event in this country this weekend is happening tomorrow afternoon when the England women will make history when they host Germany at Wembley.

The female game in this country has progressed so much over the past ten years, and this is perhaps the biggest game the England women have ever played, despite it being a friendly.

Why?

The England women have never played at Wembley before, so this game is creating history and showing how far the women’s game has come. There will also be the most ever spectators at a women’s game in this country, with 55,000 tickets sold before the Football Association had to cap ticket sales because of engineering works on the London Underground tomorrow.

A record crowd for a women's international is expected at Wembley
A record crowd for a women’s international is expected at Wembley

It almost doubles England’s previous largest crowd, which was 29,092 at the Etihad Stadium for a Euro 2005 victory over Finland, whilst it is likely the tally could beat some of the recent men’s games at the national stadium.

Since returning from their first-round exit this summer, Roy Hodgson’s side’s games – against a series of low-profile minnows – have failed to capture the public’s imagination.

The crowd for the friendly game against Norway in September (40,181) was the lowest for an international since Wembley reopened in 2007.

The 55,990 people who watched Roy Hodgson’s side beat San Marino 5-0 in a European Championship qualifier last month could also be surpassed by the women’s crowd against Germany, who are ranked second in the world.

Karen Carney is set for her 100th cap in this historic game
Karen Carney is set for her 100th cap in this historic game

The rising attendances for women’s matches reflect a surge in interest in the game, with an increasing number of games shown on television.

The thrilling, improbable climax to the Women’s Super League season in October, in which Liverpool Ladies won the title on goal difference despite starting their final match in third place, may have helped.

The women’s national side, despite qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Canada with a 100 per cent win-record, betray some familiar weaknesses, however.

As with the men, their performance has consistently disappointed at major tournaments.

Their then coach, Hope Powell, was relieved of her duties in 2013 following her side’s disastrous performance at the European Championships in Sweden.

Steph Houghton scores for Team GB at Wembley at the 2012 Olympics
Steph Houghton scores for Team GB at Wembley at the 2012 Olympics

England finished bottom of their group with a solitary point after recording defeats against Spain and France, and a draw against Russia.

Germany, England’s forthcoming opponents, won the tournament, their eighth European Championships. They have also won the World Cup twice. England’s women have never won a major tournament.

The game will be the first women’s football match at Wembley Stadium since the 2012 London Olympic Games, when Team GB beat Brazil 1-0, thanks to current England captain Steph Houghton.

You can watch the historic clash live on TV tomorrow afternoon on BBC Two with kick-off at 3pm.

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