Simply 17 days after the Ladies’s World Cup ultimate in Sydney, the brand new European season begins throughout the continent tomorrow with a set of important winner-takes-all qualifiers within the premiere membership competitors, the UEFA Ladies’s Champions League.
With the beginning of the Ladies’s Tremendous League nonetheless 4 weeks away, eyebrows have been raised on the scheduling of such vital video games so quickly after the tip of the Ladies’s World Cup. The Spherical 1 qualifiers which occur this week contain 41 of the home champions from round Europe plus among the next-best groups from the continent’s sixteen strongest leagues, like former European champions Arsenal, who completed third in England final season.
Talking in Might, when the prospect of Arsenal having to play this match appeared sure, their coach Jonas Eidevall pointed to the choice of FIFA to schedule the Ladies’s World Cup so late within the alloted window reserved for the finals suggesting that “we will not change the variety of video games, however we are able to change the place the event is performed in the summertime. That’s the place they’re doing issues higher on the lads’s facet.”
Seven Arsenal gamers have been within the squads of Australia, England and Sweden who all performed on the ultimate weekend of the month-long World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Nonetheless, all seven gamers – Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Alessia Russo, Amanda Ilestedt, Lina Hurtig and Stina Blackstenius – returned to coaching at London Colney final week and have been included among the many squad registered for his or her Champions League qualifier away to Swedish staff Linköping FC.
Additionally included for the primary time in ten months is the BBC Ladies’s Footballer of the 12 months, Beth Mead. The highest scorer and Participant of the Event on the UEFA Ladies’s Euro final 12 months, Mead ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in her proper leg on November 19. It was an damage that led to her lacking the rest of the membership season and the Ladies’s World Cup. Nonetheless, she has now resumed full coaching and appears set to return to first-team motion this week.
The presence of three of Sweden’s bronze medal winners on the World Cup – Hurtig and Blackstenius are former Linköping gamers – along with Arsenal’s Swedish head coach Jonas Eidevall has added native curiosity to a tie already laden with significance for each golf equipment. At present second within the Swedish league, the Damallsvenskan, the match will probably be Linköping’s first within the UEFA Ladies’s Champions League in 5 years.
As of final week, 6,100 tickets have been bought for the 7,400-capacity Linköping Enviornment. The most important-ever attendance for a ladies’s Champions League match in Sweden was for the 2003 ultimate first-leg between native rivals Umeå and Fortuna Hjørring when 7,648 have been in attendance on the Gammliavallen stadium.
4 years later, Arsenal attracted a crowd of 6,265 to the identical venue once they took on Umeå within the first leg of the 2007 ultimate. Alex Scott scored the one purpose which finally gained the title for the North London facet. That is still the one event on which an English facet has gained the UEFA Ladies’s Champions League, then generally known as the UEFA Ladies’s Cup.
Exterior of the ultimate, the largest-ever crowd for a ladies’s Champions League match in Sweden was set again in 2015. Then 5,976 attended the Spherical of 16 tie between KIF Örebro and Paris Saint-Germain on the Behrn Enviornment.
The Linköping Enviornment additionally hosted 4 video games on the UEFA Ladies’s Euro in 2013, together with all three matches involving England. A document 7,448 watched the quarter-final between France and Denmark, gained by the Scandinavians on a penalty shoot-out.
Arsenal and Linköping have beforehand met as soon as within the competitors. In 2011, the 2 groups drew twice in a two-legged quarter-final. The 2 targets scored by Arsenal in Sweden edged the Londeners into the following spherical on the now defunct away-goals rule.
In contrast to then, tomorrow’s recreation is a one-off cup tie as a part of a four-team mini-league. The winners will meet the winners of Wednesday’s different qualification tie between Paris FC and Kryvbas Ladies of Ukraine on the identical Linköping Enviornment on Saturday.
The eventual victors will course of to Spherical 2 of qualification in October. The 5 winners of these ties will be a part of eleven home champions within the profitable group stage of the UEFA Ladies’s Champions League starting in November.