Wembley ladies head to Germany with high hopes.
England ladies manager Hope Powell has announced the 21 players who will compete in the Women’s World Cup Finals in Germany later this month.
Powell’s side have been drawn in Group B alongside Mexico (June 27), New Zealand (July 1) and Japan (July 5).
There is a healthy mix of youth and experience in the squad, which has an average age of 26, and includes 13 players who featured in the 2007 tournament.
Sophie Bradley, Dunia Susi, Claire Rafferty, Steph Houghton and Ellen White will all make their debut in a senior international tournament.
The FA WSL is well represented with 16 players; Arsenal and Everton provide four each, Lincoln Ladies and Birmingham City each have three players and one apiece from Chelsea and Bristol Academy.
The remaining five players ply their trade in the WPS league In America.
Faye White and Fara Williams have both been included in the 21 despite the duo nursing injuries over the past few weeks.
England qualified for the Finals after topping their qualification group unbeaten and defeating Switzerland in a two-legged play-off late last year.
The 21 players who will fly to Germany on June 19 have amassed an incredible 1041 senior international caps between them, an average of 49 caps per player.
In 2007, England were entering unchartered territory as not one of Powell’s squad had played in a World Cup before.
Now, though, a large group of players can call upon their experiences from China, where the Three Lions were eliminated by USA at the quarter-final stage.
“It was a very challenging decision, but a challenging decision in a positive way,” Powell said of her squad selection.
“The standard of top-level women’s football in this country has definitely improved and we are in a better place now in terms of players than we have ever been.
“I have got a really talented bunch of players to choose from and this choice has been made even more difficult in recent times by the emergence of some of the younger players who have come to the fore and have done really well.
“They deserve an opportunity to be part of something really great, which is what this World Cup will be.
“I asked my assistant coach [Brent Hills] and my goalkeeping coach [Keith Rees] to name their 21-player squads, separately, and interestingly all three of us picked exactly the same 21.
“I think that confirms what we’ve all been seeing in the last few months with how well the players have been doing.”
“We can use the experiences we had in China – and in Finland at the Euros – to our advantage,” Powell added. “The build-up to this World Cup has been really good.
“The players have matured well, a lot of them now know what it’s like to play in a World Cup and I’m hoping those factors will help us perform.
England’s FIFA Women’s World Cup squad in full:
Karen Bardsley (New Jersey Sky Blue), Rachel Brown (Everton), Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy)
Sophie Bradley (Lincoln Ladies), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Boston Breakers), Casey Stoney (Lincoln Ladies), Dunia Susi (Birmingham City), Rachel Unitt (Everton), Faye White (Arsenal)
Anita Asante (New Jersey Sky Blue), Laura Bassett (Birmingham City), Jess Clarke (Lincoln Ladies),Steph Houghton (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Everton), Fara Williams (Everton), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal)
Eniola Aluko (New Jersey Sky Blue), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers),Ellen White (Arsenal)