My memory of England’s women’s team in the Olympics was when Canada jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and England, at home, had no response. Hope Powell, as the game wore on, seemed quietly frustrated but made, to my eyes, no substantive adjustments and the game faded accordingly as Canada held off England relatively easily to advance to the semi-final.
Now, in their next major tournament, the UEFA Women’s Euro Championship, which is currently on in Sweden, England has lost to Spain and tied, today, Russia, the lowest ranked team in the tournament. England needed a last minute goal to avoid defeat.
Hope Powell has been coaching the England women’s team for fifteen years. Players are said to be frustrated with player selection. At a time when money is flowing more than ever into the women’s game in England via both the FA (directly to the national team) and the Women’s Super League (tied to existing men’s professional teams, many in the EPL) and with qualifying for the 2015 Women’s World Cup coming up next year, it’s safe to say that if England don’t beat France in their next game and are eliminated at the group stage, Powell’s position will come under review. Also safe to say there’s a good chance that review will end up with her being removed.
Which begets the question…who would replace her?
Perhaps England will look for a charismatic native son with a proven track record at the international level. Someone who has shown he can overachieve by motivating female players to play beyond their abilities when it matters most?
You can be sure that if the job for the England women’s team comes up, John Herdman will be on the top of the FA’s list of candidates. And as an Englishmen with a young family who is now seeing that the plan to reinvent Canada into a possession-based team that can compete and beat the world’s best is suffering from a lack of depth that will not be rectified before 2015, he may well be tempted, understandably, to take that job.
If you’re a fan of the Canadian women’s national team and believe that John Herdman is the reason for their recent success, you should maybe be hoping for an upset when England take on France on July 18.