Leah Williamson rates England's chances of winning 2023 Women's World Cup
England captain Leah Williamson has said there is ‘confidence’ within the squad about the Lionesses’ chances of bringing home the 2023 Women’s World Cup later this year.
Euro 2022 was a magical moment for English football fans last summer, with Sarina Wiegman’s team capturing the hearts of the nation at a record-breaking tournament on home soil.
Chloe Kelly’s extra-time winner against Germany at Wembley secured England’s first senior international trophy, for either men’s or women’s football, in 56 long years.
With the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand just over three months away, England will head Down Under as one of the favourites thanks to their status as reigning European champions.
The Lionesses have never been beyond the semi-finals of a World Cup before, finishing third in 2015 and fourth in 2019, but Euro 2022 proved to the current group of players that they can beat the best and instilled a belief in them as they now look to go global.
“Once you’ve won a tournament, you have a target on your back. But if we weren’t in that position, we would want to be,” Williamson said during an appearance on The One Show.
“For sure, we have confidence. But anything can happen so you just have to take it day by day.”
The World Cup will, however, be a very different experience. England do not have home advantage like they did at the Euros, meaning that only dedicated travelling fans and ex-pats already living out in Australia and New Zealand will provide visible support in stadiums.
But what they lose in some areas, Williamson suggests they might gain in others.
“It’s halving the advantage, I suppose. Wembley in the final of the Euros against the Germans, I would say that was a pretty big advantage to have 90,000 of our fans there,” she explained.
“So [the advantage] is definitely lost a little bit. But, at the same time, to stay in a bubble and stay away from the noise, it might be quite nice being on the other side of the world.”
Will England win the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
England have a great chance to win the World Cup for the first time.
Winning Euro 2022 was only the start of the journey rather than the culmination and Sarina Wiegman, who is 29 games unbeaten as manager and the newly crowned Best FIFA Women’s Coach for the third time, has a hungry and still relatively young squad at her disposal.
The experience and belief from actually winning a major tournament also means so much more than a team that hasn’t – like Spain or France, for example.
England have proven that they can go toe to toe with the best and come out on top, seeing off Spain, Sweden and Germany in the Euro knockout stages to lift the trophy. They have also beaten the United States since the summer to really underline their credentials.
The Lionesses will expect to win a favourable group containing Denmark and China, neither of whom are elite in the way they once were, and first-time qualifiers Haiti. Because of what they have already done, they won’t fear anyone in the knockout bracket either, even if that means facing the likes of Australia, Canada, Germany or Sweden before getting to the semi-finals.