Barclays Women’s Super League players shine at the World Cup

Lauren James celebrating one of her goals against China

Several Barclays Women’s Super League players are still chasing FIFA Women’s World Cup glory after a dramatic group stage in Australia and New Zealand.

England, Sweden and Japan all head into the knockout stages with 100 per cent records, though early exits for top ten sides Germany, Canada and Brazil have sent shockwaves across the footballing world.

With knockout action set to get underway on Saturday, here’s a look at how Barclays Women’s Super League players at the World Cup fared for their nations across the opening two weeks of action.

Group A

An incredibly tense Group A saw Switzerland progress as group winners. They remain yet to concede after securing a 2-0 win over the Philippines and goalless draws against Norway and hosts New Zealand.

Arsenal’s Lia Walti was among their star performers in the group stage, starting all three matches so far alongside teammate Noelle Maritz.

Aston Villa’s Alisha Lehmann featured from the bench against the Philippines and New Zealand, while Tottenham’s Luana Buhler played the full 90 minutes against the former.

A Norway squad featuring several BWSL players fell to defeat in their opening match against New Zealand, but a draw against Switzerland and a 6-0 win over the Philippines saw them progress in second place.

Chelsea’s Guro Reiten and Arsenal’s Frida Maanum have featured regularly for The Grasshoppers, with Manchester City’s Julie Blakstad among the other BWSL players gearing up for the round of 16.

However, Switzerland and Norway’s progression means that a New Zealand squad featuring Tottenham’s Ria Percival and Aston Villa’s Anna Leat failed to progress.

Group B

Co-hosts Australia produced a stunning 4-0 win against Canada in their final group stage game to keep their tournament alive on home soil.

Several BWSL stars have proven key for The Matildas so far, with Manchester City’s Mary Fowler and Alanna Kennedy, as well as Arsenal’s Steph Catley, finding the back of the net.

West Ham ‘keeper Mackenzie Arnold has played every minute of Australia’s World Cup campaign so far, and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr and Tottenham’s Kyah Simon will be hoping to be fit for the knockout stages.

Olympic champions Canada were one of the biggest scalps of the group stages, a final round loss to the hosts sending them out of the tournament.

The likes of Chelsea’s Kadeisha Buchanan and Jessie Fleming, Manchester United’s Adriana Leon and Tottenham captain Shelina Zadorsky all exited the tournament after finishing third in their group.

While the Republic of Ireland, captained by Arsenal’s Katie McCabe, finished fourth, though McCabe scored her country’s first World Cup goal direct from a corner against Canada.

The Republic of Ireland were able to seal a first-ever World Cup point with a 0-0 draw in their final match against Nigeria, which saw Everton’s Courtney Brosnan pull off a wonder save.

Group C

Manchester City’s Yui Hasegawa has starred for Japan, with the 2011 champions one of the most impressive teams of the World Cup so far.

Japan have yet to concede a single goal Down Under with dominant wins over Zambia, Costa Rica and Spain seeing them flying into the knockout rounds.

Hasegawa will look to take her form into the round of 16 tie against Norway, with West Ham’s Risa Shimizu and Honoka Hayashi also featuring in their squad.

Group D

An England squad consisting of 20 BWSL players won all three group matches to progress to the knockout stages of a fifth straight Women’s World Cup.

Narrow 1-0 victories over both Haiti and Denmark were followed by a 6-1 win over China, with Sarina Wiegman’s side growing in confidence in Australia.

Chelsea’s Lauren James has impressed so far with three goals across the group stage, with Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly and Manchester United ‘keeper Mary Earps among many players to receive deserved plaudits.

Despite a loss to the Lionesses, Denmark are also still in the tournament thanks to victories over Haiti and China.

The likes of Arsenal’s Kathrine Kuhl and West Ham’s Emma Snerle both feature in the Danish squad, with hosts Australia up next

Group E

The Netherlands were the only Group E side to include BWSL players and looked in fine form as they reached the round of 16 as group winners.

Comfortable wins for the 2019 runners-up over Portugal and Vietnam, as well as a 1-1 draw versus USA, ensured they reached the knockout stages in style.

Arsenal’s Victoria Pelova and Manchester City’s new signing Jill Roord have both impressed, while Aston Villa fans have had the chance to watch strong performances from new ‘keeper Daphne van Domselaar.

Group F

A Jamaica squad featuring three BWSL players have provided one of the biggest stories of the tournament, remaining unbeaten to progress at the expense of Brazil out of Group F.

Tottenham ‘keeper Becky Spencer has won particular praise, receiving the Player of the Match award for her display in the decisive 0-0 draw against Brazil in the final round of group matches.

Spencer’s domestic teammate Drew Spence has also featured regularly while Manchester City’s Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, who was sent off towards the end of an opening 0-0 draw versus France, came back to help her team over the line.

After wins against Brazil and Panama, it was a France side also featuring three BWSL players that went through as group winners.

Aston Villa’s Kenza Dali made a particularly significant impact, with Chelsea’s Eve Perisset and West Ham’s Viviane Asseyi also in their squad.

Group G

A Sweden squad featuring a trio of Arsenal players cemented their title credentials with three wins from three in an impressive group stage campaign.

Stina Blackstenius and new signing Amanda Ilestedt both scored as the Olympic silver medallists saw off South Africa, Italy and Argentina, with Lina Hurtig also in their squad.

And there is plenty more BWSL interest in their squad looking ahead, with Manchester City’s Filippa Angeldahl, Chelsea’s Zecira Musovic and Everton’s Hanna Bennison all present.

Group H

A Morocco side featuring Tottenham’s Rosella Ayane were perhaps the biggest surprise package of the group stage, bouncing back from a heavy opening defeat to progress at the expense of Germany and South Korea.

After a 6-0 loss to Germany in their opening match, Ayane and the rest of the Atlas Lionesses defeated South Korea and Colombia 1-0 to become the lowest-ranked team in the round of 16

Their 1-0 win over eventual group winners Colombia saw two-time champions Germany stunningly knocked out, with Chelsea duo Ann-Katrin Berger and Melanie Leupolz playing no further part.

A South Korea squad featuring Brighton’s Lee Geum-Min and Tottenham’s Cho So-hyun finished bottom of the group, their only point coming in a 1-1 draw against Germany which saw Cho open the scoring.

You can see some of the World Cup’s biggest stars playing in the Barclays Women’s Super League every matchday. Find out where you can see them play here.

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