It’s official – the Great Britain women’s football team will be showing up at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after finishing the World Cup as one of Europe’s top 3 teams. The qualification comes after England defeated Norway and secured a ranking that fulfilled an agreement made between the home nations in October, which stated that there would be a Team GB in the Tokyo Olympics as long as England was able to make substantial winning progress.
Apparently, England’s manager Phil Neville has announced that he and his staff plan to manage the team, but there haven’t been any official designations for the coaching staff yet. However, it would make perfect sense to have Phil running the show considering it was his women’s team that pulled off the recent Olympic qualification.
Qualification Depended on England but Team GB Is Bigger
While the October agreement put the burden of winning on England’s team, the team that will be heading to the Olympics next year will consist of players from, not only England but also Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. England’s recent victory over Norway secured it a spot in the final four at the World Cup, while the United States beat France on Friday to become the only non-European team remaining in the women’s tournament.
Heading to Japan is a Big Milestone for Women’s Football in Great Britain
According to coach Neville, fielding an Olympic team in Tokyo will be a massive success for the women’s football scene in Great Britain. Unlike the men’s side which has a 23-year-old age limit, there are no age restrictions on the women’s teams, allowing for a more diverse pool of talent. Since this is the first time that we’ll be seeing a a women’s Team GB in the Olympics, it marks a momentous occasion for female football players and fans across the nation.
There Will Be 12 Teams but Only 6 Have Secured Spots Thus Far
While there will be a dozen teams competing at the Olympics in 2020, as of now we only know who half of them will be. The list currently includes Great Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, and Brazil. The remaining spots are going to be filled by the winners of the North American, Central American, Caribbean, African, and Asian groups. The defending champions Germany won’t be attending the 2020 Olympics after losing the quarter-final game to Sweden. However, the men’s Germany team will still be attending the European Under 21 Championship alongside France, Spain, and Romania.
England Brought it Home Down to the Game
It is worth noting that Team GB would not have been eligible to make the 2020 Olympics if they had not defeated Norway to secure a spot in the top four teams at the World Cup. Even if they had made it to the semi-finals alongside Germany, they would have still been ineligible to make it to Tokyo next year.
Thus, fans should be grateful for the team’s hard-fought effort against Norway and the teams that were defeated leading up to that point. This streak of excellent play certainly represents the most valiant effort put forth by any UK women’s football team in recent memory, and certainly as far as the world stages is concerned. When you think about how high the stakes were for that match against Norway, one has to stop and applaud England’s women’s team for their nearly perfect streak of play throughout the World Cup.
Keeping the Team Sharp for Next Year
Phil Neville and his staff definitely have their jobs cut out for them considering the preparations for the Olympics will begin within the next couple of weeks. The team will need to play a long series of scrimmages and practice games to stay on top of their game until the commencement of the 2020 Olympics, which won’t be until July 24th of next year.
With a full year of time to prepare, the team should only get better, but then the team dynamics could change somewhat when introducing players from Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. That being said, it will be interesting to see if coach Neville shows favour to players from the England team, seeing as how it was the squad that secured this opportunity for the women’s football fans in the UK.