Women’s football has come a long way over the last year, and the England Ladies’ invitation to take part in the first ever SheBelieves Cup in America is true testament to that.
The Lionesses are in Tampa, Florida preparing for their opening match against World Cup winners USA on Friday, which will undoubtedly be a difficult first fixture for them.
If that wasn’t trying enough, they will go straight from the game to fly to Nashville, where they will meet European champions Germany on March 6, followed by a final game against France on March 9.
Here are three reasons you should be staying up to support the Lionesses in their SheBelieves campaign:
Back the underdogs
England are the clear underdogs here as they face the world’s top three sides, kicking off against top-ranked USA at 12:45am on Friday morning. It will be one of England’s biggest challenges, and this tournament will be a chance to show that they belong amongst the best.
They’ve defied the odds before, though, coming away with bronze medals round their necks after an impressive World Cup performance, and that’s proof enough that they can give their opposition a run for their money here. And at odds of 7/1, Mark Sampson’s side offer plenty of value.
Recent form offers positives
In their most recent clash with the USA, England lost 1-0 on home soil after Alex Morgan headed the winner for the visitors. However, England had a goal controversially disallowed due to a dodgy offside call, and the fans were left feeling robbed of a draw.
Prior to this, England defeated the USA 2-1 at home, earning just their third victory against them.
It’s not just against the USA either that England have impressed. You only have to go as far back as the World Cup last year in Canada to note the history these women have made.
The Lionesses achieved the best performance by a senior England side since the 1966 World Cup winning team, defeating Germany for the first time to ensure they finished the tournament in third place.
Fara Williams and Eniola Aluko are both set to make their 150th and 100th appearances for England during the tournament.
Williams is England’s most capped player of all time, currently on 148 caps, whilst striker Aluko sits on 98, and Mark Sampson will no doubt look to give them the milestones they so deserve during their spell overseas.
With all three of England’s games being shown live on the BBC this is the perfect opportunity to throw yourself into the action.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing