These might not come out one day after another but I will get through all six packs before kick off in Paris on the 7th June that is a Leading the Line promise. So without much further ado let’s tear in to pack three of the week.
Sticker 1: Hayley Lauder, Scotland
This preview is being written on June 4th which just so happens to be the birthday of the versatile left sided Scotland midfielder. With the ability to play in midfield and also provide cover to Nicola Docherty at left back the Glasgow City stalwart is one cap away from claiming 100 for her national side. Having started her career with Edinburgh side Spartans she moved to Cyprus before spells in Finland and Sweden before returning to Scotland in 2014 to join the all conquering Glasgow side. Having made her debut in 2010 against Italy Lauder will add experience and adaptability to a Scotland squad with high hopes of making it out of Group D.
Sticker 2: Ilaria Mauro, Italy
Fiorentina striker Mauro will be one of a number of strikers in the Italy squad looking to provide coach Milena Bertolini with an alternative should Juventus star Cristiana Girelli not fire as expected. Despite having a three year spell in Germany under her belt it his the time spent in her homeland where she has been most successful, first with UPC Tavagnacco before moving to La Viola in 2016. Since then she has won the 2017 Coppa Italia and helped her side to a 3rd place finish in this season’s Serie A.
Sticker 3: Betsy Hassett
With over one hundred caps to her name well travelled midfielder Hassett will no doubt be key in the Football Ferns achieving their aim of making it out of their group. Having played in all seven of her countries World Cup fixtures since first making her debut in 2008 she has experienced the joy of group stage progression and the pain of an early elimination but her football travels across the globe and standing in the squad will ensure that New Zealand will at the very least have a calm head dictating play in the centre of the park.
Sticker 4: The Netherlands, SHINY!
I am pretty annoyed with myself. I’m heading over to France for a few days to catch some of the games and the fact that I dithered so long on The Netherlands group game against Cameroon that it is now sold out feels like a missed opportunity as Sarina Wiegman’s side have the components to be one of the most entertaining teams in the tournament. I mean how can they not be with the likes of Arsenal duo Danielle Van Donk and Vivienne Miedema supporting Barcelona forward Lieke Martens in attack but it’s not been a straight forward path to the Finals for Oranje.
They had to navigate the play offs after finishing second to Norway in Euro Qualifying Group 3 and whilst they comfortably saw off both Denmark and Switzerland to book their spot in the finals they then followed qualification up with a disappointing Algarve Cup where they lost to both Spain and Poland. Their warm up game results have been good though, in particular a 3-0 defeat of Australia in Eindhoven where a Dutch record crowd of over 30,000 was in attendance. Their opening tie against New Zealand could prove key to setting the tone for the reigning European Champions but on their day they can challenge anybody.
Sticker 5: Ingrid Syrsdtad Engen, Norway
Midfielder Engen is one of the emerging names in Martin Sjorgen’s squad as Norway look to build on their 2019 Algarve Cup victory. The Vfl Wolfsburg player, who is currently on loan to former club LSK Kvinner FK in her homeland, made her debut in the 2018 edition of the Portuguese tournament during a 4-3 defeat to Australia. Despite her tender years she has been lauded for her maturity by her coach and it was Engen who would score the key goal in a 2-1 victory over The Netherlands to assure Norway would maintain their record as a World Cup ever present since it’s inception in 1991.
Packs Opened: 3
Doublers: 1 (Argentina Squad)