It’s pack number five of the Leading the Line Got, Got, Need to Know Women’s World Cup Preview. This time round we have a double feature fromm the Japanese squad, talk Caribbean goalkeepers and are astounded by an Arsenal double winner. So without much further ado, let’s tear in.
Sticker 1: Yuika Sugasawa, Japan
Forward Sugasawa has spent her entire career in her homeland having played for Alberix Nigata and JEF United Chiba before moving to Urawa Reds in 2017 where she has found the net at a rate of a goal every second game this season. A member of the 2015 squad that finished runners up to the United States the forward found the net once in Canada during a group encounter with Cameroon. In Japan’s final warm up match against Spain she scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw and with a record of 18 goals from 63 international appearances she will be a useful component of Asako Takakura’s squad.
Sticker 2: Saki Kumagai, Japan
Lyon defender Kumagai sealed her place in Japanese football history when she scored the winning penalty as the Japanese shocked the United States in the 2011 final just months after one of the biggest earthquakes in history had decimated large parts of her homeland. A key part of the all conquering Lyon squad that completed yet another treble this season of league, cup and Champions League she was also nominated for the 2019 BBC Women’s Player of the Year. She has been a key part of the Japanese squad during their run of two consecutive World Cup final appearances and will again be key should her side make it three finals on the trot.
Sticker 3: Amanda Ilestedt, Sweden
Sweden’s lucky number 13 was a member of the Sweden u19 side that would go on to win the 2012 European Championships. She currently turns out for German side Turbine Potsdam and has 25 caps to her name after making her debut during a 4-1 victory against England in July 2013. The central defender has been involved in all three of Sweden’s games in the lead up to the tournament including starting the last two and will likely find her way into Peter Gerhardsson’s starting eleven.
Sticker 4: Vivianne Miedema, Netherlands
A double winner with Arsenal this season, she also ended the season as the WSL Top Goalscorer and Players’ Player of the Year adding to the back-to-back Frauen Bundesliga titles won with Bayern Munich prior to her move to North London. With an astonishing international goalscoring record of 58 goals from just 75 games, what’s even more remarkable is that the relentless Miedema is still only 22. If the Netherlands are to follow up their 2017 European Championship victory, in which the striker scored in every knock out round, then the form of Miedema will play a part in determining just how far Oranje will progress.
Sticker 5: Sydney Schneider, Jamaica
19 year old Schneider goes into the 2019 World Cup as Jamaica’s number one. Born in New Jersey she qualifies for the Reggae Girlz as both her mother and grandparents hail from the Caribbean Island although the goalkeeper wasn’t immediately receptive to the switch in nationality. She currently plays for US varsity side UNC Wilmington Seahawks where in 2017 she was only the second player in the team’s history to play every minute of a season. She made her debut at the 2018 CONCACAF Championships and will expect to have a busy summer with Jamaica who are one of the tournament underdogs in their debut appearance.
Packs Opened: 5
Doublers; 2 (Argentina Squad and Ettie)