England women's national football team
|Association||The Football Association|
|Head coach||Hege Riise (caretaker)|
|Most caps||Fara Williams (172)|
|Top scorer||Kelly Smith (46)|
|Current||6 (18 December 2020)|
|Highest||2 (March 2018)|
|Lowest||14 (June 2004)|
| Scotland 2–3 England |
(Greenock, Scotland; 18 November 1972)
| Hungary 0–13 England |
(Tapolca, Hungary; 27 October 2005)
| Norway 8–0 England |
(Moss, Norway; 4 June 2000)
|Appearances||5 (first in 1995)|
|Best result||Third place (2015)|
|Appearances||8 (first in 1984)|
|Best result||Runners-up (1984, 2009)|
The England women's national football team has been governed by the Football Association (FA) since 1993, having been previously administered by the Women's Football Association (WFA). England played its first international match in November 1972 against Scotland. Although most national football teams represent a sovereign state, as a member of the United Kingdom's Home Nations, England is permitted by FIFA statutes to maintain its own national side that competes in all major tournaments, with the exception of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament.
England have qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup five times, reaching the quarter-finals on three occasions; in 1995, 2007, and 2011, finishing third in 2015 and fourth in 2019. They reached the final of the UEFA Women's Championship in 1984 and 2009.
The success of the men's national football team at the 1966 FIFA World Cup led to an upsurge of interest in football from women within England. The Women's Football Association (WFA) was established in 1969 as an attempt to organise the women's game. That same year, Harry Batt formed an independent English team that competed in the Fédération Internationale Européenne de Football Féminine (FIEFF) European Cup.:43 Batt's team also participated in two FIEFF World Cups held in Italy (1970) and Mexico (1971).
Following an UEFA recommendation in 1972 for national associations to incorporate the women's game, the Football Association (FA) rescinded its 50-year ban on women playing on English Football League grounds. Shortly after, Eric Worthington was tasked by the WFA to assemble an official women's national team. England competed in its first international match against Scotland in Greenock on 18 November 1972, 100 years to the month after the first men's international. The team overturned a two-goal deficit to defeat their northern opponents 3–2, with Sylvia Gore scoring England's first international goal. Tom Tranter replaced Worthington as long term manager of the women's national football team and remained in that position for the next six years.:94
1979–1993: Progress under Reagan
Martin Reagan was appointed to replace Tranter in 1979.:100 England reached the final of the inaugural European Competition for Women's Football, after beating Denmark 3–1 on aggregate in the semi-finals. Despite resolute defending, including a spectacular goal line clearance from captain Carol Thomas, the England team lost the first away leg 1–0 against Sweden, after a header from Pia Sundhage, but won the second home leg by the same margin, with a goal from Linda Curl. England lost the subsequent penalty shootout 4–3. Theresa Wiseman saved Helen Johansson's penalty but both Curl and Lorraine Hanson had their spot kicks saved by Elisabeth Leidinge.
At the 1987 European Competition for Women's Football, England again reached the semi-finals but lost 3–2 after extra time against holders Sweden, in a repeat of the previous final. The team settled for fourth, after losing the third place play-off against Italy 2–1. Reagan was sacked after England's 6–1 quarter-final loss against Germany at UEFA Women's Euro 1991, which left them unable to qualify for the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup. John Bilton was appointed as head coach in 1991 after Barrie Williams's brief tenure.:103–104
1993–1998: FA involvement
In 1993, the FA took over the running of women's football in England from the WFA, replacing Bilton with Ted Copeland as national team manager.:105 England managed to qualify for UEFA Women's Euro 1995, having previously missed out on the last three editions, but were beaten 6–2 on aggregate over two legs against Germany. Reaching the European semi-finals granted England a place at the World Cup for the first time. The team advanced from the group stage of the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup in Sweden, but lost out again to Germany 3–0 in the quarter-finals.
1998–2013: Development under Powell
Hope Powell became the team's first full-time head coach in June 1998, succeeding her former coach Copeland. The European Championship expanded in 1997 to eight teams and moved from a biennial event to a quadrennial one. England qualified via the play-offs for the 2001 competition held in Germany, despite recording their biggest loss (away against Norway 8–0) during qualification, but did not advance past the group stage. England automatically qualified as hosts in 2005, but again did not make it to the semi-finals.
Qualification for the World Cup changed for the 1999 edition. European qualifiers were introduced, so that teams no longer needed to rely on advancing to the latter stages of the European Championship. England qualified unbeaten for the 2007 World Cup in China, winning Group 5 in the European qualifiers and recording their biggest win (away against Hungary, 13–0) in the process, ending a 12-year hiatus from the competition. After coming second in their group, they advanced into the quarter-finals to face the United States but lost 3–0.
In May 2009, central contracts were implemented to help players focus on full-time training without having to fit it around full-time employment. Three months later, at the European Championships in Finland, England marked their return to the recently expanded 12-team competition by reaching the final for the first time in 25 years. They advanced from Group C to the quarter-finals by virtue of being the top third-placed team, beating both the hosts and the Netherlands in the knockout stage on the way to the final. There they lost 6–2 to reigning champions Germany.
England reached their third World Cup in 2011, having won Group 5 and their play-off 5–2 over two legs against Switzerland. In Germany, they topped Group B – ahead of eventual winners Japan. England were paired with France in the quarter-finals, with the match ending in a 1–1 draw. England had taken the lead with Jill Scott's chip, only to have Élise Bussaglia equalise with two minutes remaining. After extra time ended in stalemate, they lost the ensuing penalty shootout 4–3. Karen Bardsley had saved Camille Abily's initial penalty but misses by Claire Rafferty and Faye White sent England out of the competition.
2013–2017: Sampson era
Welshman Mark Sampson succeeded Powell as England manager. England qualified for their third successive World Cup in August 2014 with a game to spare, winning all ten matches and topping Group 6. England played their first international match at the new Wembley Stadium, home to the men's national team, in a friendly against the reigning European champions Germany on 23 November 2014. England had not played Germany since their heavy defeat in the European Championship final five years earlier. They lost the match 3–0, marking the 20th attempt at which England had failed to record an official win over Germany.
At the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada, England lost their opening group game to France but won their remaining group games against Mexico and Colombia, easing through to the last 16 to play 1995 champions Norway. A 2–1 win set up a meeting with hosts Canada in the quarter-finals. Despite facing not only a strong Canadian team but a capacity partisan crowd at BC Place in Vancouver, England progressed to the semifinals of the Women's World Cup for the first time in their history with another 2–1 win, which also marked the first semifinal appearance by any England senior team since the men reached the last four of the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Playing reigning World Cup holders Japan in the semi-finals, England conceded a penalty kick, which Aya Miyama converted past Karen Bardsley. Japan then conceded a penalty as Yuki Ogimi clipped Steph Houghton and Fara Williams slotted it past Ayumi Kaihori to level the game. However, in the last minute of the game, Laura Bassett scored an own goal to send Japan through to the final. England eventually finished in third place by beating Germany 1–0 after extra time after a Williams penalty, their first time beating their archrivals in the women's game. It marked the best finish for any England senior team since the men's team famously won the 1966 World Cup as hosts.
England qualified for the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 in the Netherlands and won all three of their group games at the tournament. England beat France 1–0 in the quarter-finals before meeting hosts and eventual champions, the Netherlands. In the semi-finals, England conceded three goals without reply and were knocked out of the tournament.
In September 2017, Sampson was sacked from his role as manager by the FA after evidence of "inappropriate and unacceptable" behaviour was uncovered during his tenure at Bristol Academy. The FA in January 2019 agreed to pay a "significant" financial settlement to Sampson, on the week his claim for unfair dismissal was due to be heard in court. He was replaced by Phil Neville, who had played at Manchester United – including in their 1999 treble winning season – and Everton and been capped by the England men but had never before held a high-profile managing job.
2018–2021: Neville era
After being appointed manager, Neville's first games in charge were at the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. In their first game, England defeated France 4–1, then drew 2–2 against Germany. They went into the final game against the United States with the opportunity to win the tournament, but lost 1–0. Second place was the highest England had finished at the SheBelieves Cup.
England continued with World Cup qualification in 2018. On 6 April they drew 0–0 against Wales. After the qualifying games in June, England and Wales were guaranteed the first two spots in qualifying Group 1, and England's 3–0 win against Wales in August 2018 saw them clinch the group and qualify for the World Cup finals.
In the 2019 Women's World Cup in France, England won group D, beating local rivals Scotland and archrival Argentina to qualify for the knockout phase, before beating Japan. England beat both Cameroon and then Norway 3–0 to advance to the semifinal against United States in Lyon – the team's third straight major tournament semifinal. However, similar to the previous two tournaments, England once again failed to make the final, losing 2–1. Alex Morgan scored the winner after Ellen White had equalised following Christen Press' opening goal, while White had an equaliser ruled out by VAR and Houghton had a penalty saved by Alyssa Naeher. The team finished in fourth after losing the third place play-off to Sweden 2–1.
In the wake of the World Cup exit, England's form dropped as the Lionesses struggled in a series of friendlies to end the year including a 2–1 defeat by Germany at Wembley Stadium on 9 November 2019. The game set a new record attendance for an England women's match at 77,768, becoming the second-biggest crowd for a women's game on English soil after the 2012 Olympic final which was watched by 80,203 at the same venue. The poor run continued into 2020 as England failed to defend their title at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup in March. Losses to the United States and Spain made it seven defeats in 11 games, the team's worst stretch since 2003, mounting further pressure on Neville who admitted he was personally responsible for England's "unacceptable" form amid increased media scrutiny. In April 2020, Neville announced he would step down as Lionesses manager when his contract expired in July 2021. Originally his tenure would have extended to England's hosting of UEFA Women's Euro 2021, but the tournament was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in January 2021, he elected to resign early in order to take up the managerial position at Inter Miami. Having already agreed to appoint incumbent Netherlands manager Sarina Wiegman starting September 2021, Hege Riise was named caretaker manager until then. She oversaw a 6–0 friendly win over Northern Ireland in her first game in charge.
From 2021: Wiegman era
On 14 August 2020, the FA announced it had reached a four-year deal with incumbent Netherlands manager Sarina Wiegman who agreed to take over the team from September 2021, becoming the first non-British permanent Lionesses manager.
The England women's national football team has been known or nicknamed as "Three Lionesses" or "The Lionesses".
England matches at selected international tournaments, friendlies, Euro and World Cup finals are currently broadcast by BT Sport (exclude Euro and World Cup finals) and BBC respectively. Previously, the Euro and World Cup finals were broadcast by Channel 4 (Euro 2017 only) and Eurosport.
Results and fixtures
This list includes match results from the past 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.
- All times are listed in GMT except where noted.
Win Draw Lose Void or Postponed Fixture
|27 October 2020 Friendly||Germany||Cancelled||England||Wiesbaden, Germany|
|1 December 2020 Friendly||England||Cancelled||Norway||Sheffield, England|
|19:15||Cancellation||Stadium: Bramall Lane|
|23 February 2021 Friendly||England||6–0||Northern Ireland||Burton upon Trent, England|
||Stadium: St George's Park|
Referee: Lorraine Watson (Scotland)
|9 April 2021 Friendly||France||3–1||England||Caen, France|
|21:10 CET (UTC+1)||Report||Stadium: Stade Michel d'Ornano|
Referee: Sara Persson (Sweden)
|13 April 2021 Friendly||England||0–2||Canada||Stoke-on-Trent, England|
|19:15||Stadium: Stoke Ground|
Referee: Cheryl Foster (Wales)
|July 2022 UEFA Euro 2022 GS||England||v||A3||Brighton and Hove, England|
|Stadium: Brighton Community Stadium|
- As of 19 January 2021
|Manager (interim)||Hege Riise|||
|Assistant coach||Rhian Wilkinson|||
|Assistant coach (interim)||Kay Cossington|||
Statistics correct as of 13 April 2021
- Italics indicates a future appointee
|Martin Reagan||1979–1990||UEFA Euro 1984 – Runners Up|
UEFA Euro 1987 – Fourth Place
|Ted Copeland||1993–1998||UEFA Euro 1995 – Semi Finalists|
1995 FIFA World Cup – Quarter Finalists
|Hope Powell||1998–2013||169||85||33||51||50.3||UEFA Euro 2001 – Group Stages|
UEFA Euro 2005 – Group Stages
2007 FIFA World Cup – Quarter Finalists
UEFA Euro 2009 – Runners Up
2011 FIFA World Cup – Quarter Finalists
UEFA Euro 2013 – Group Stages
|Brent Hills||2006, 2013
|Mark Sampson||2013–2017||60||39||8||13||65.0||2015 FIFA World Cup – Third Place|
UEFA Euro 2017 – Semi Finalists
|Phil Neville||2018–2021||35||19||5||11||54.3||2019 FIFA World Cup – Fourth Place|
|Sarina Wiegman||From 2021||0||0||0||0||—|
- For all past and present players who have appeared for the national team, see List of England women's international footballers
- Caps, goals, and recent players may be outdated or incorrect, as the FA does not maintain a database of historical statistics.
Caps and goals are correct as of match played 13 April 2021 against Canada.
The following players have also been called up to the England squad within the last 12 months.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|GK||Hannah Hampton||16 November 2000||0||0||Birmingham City||v. Northern Ireland, 23 February 2021|
|DF||Steph Houghton (captain)||23 April 1988||121||13||Manchester City||v. Northern Ireland, 23 February 2021|
|DF||Abbie McManus||14 January 1993||18||0||Tottenham Hotspur||Training camp, November 2020|
|DF||Grace Fisk||5 January 1998||0||0||West Ham United||Training camp, November 2020|
|MF||Lucy Staniforth||2 October 1992||16||2||Manchester United||Training camp, November 2020|
|MF||Laura Coombs||29 January 1991||2||0||Manchester City||Training camp, November 2020|
|MF||Katie Zelem||20 January 1996||0||0||Manchester United||Training camp, November 2020|
|MF||Izzy Christiansen||20 September 1991||31||5||Everton||v. Germany, 27 October 2020|
|FW||Ebony Salmon||27 January 2001||1||0||Bristol City||v. Northern Ireland, 23 February 2021|
|FW||Rinsola Babajide||17 June 1998||0||0||Liverpool||Training camp, November 2020|
|FW||Lauren James||29 September 2001||0||0||Manchester United||Training camp, November 2020|
|FW||Alessia Russo||8 February 1999||1||0||Manchester United||v. Germany, 27 October 2020 INJ|
|Carol Thomas (née McCune)||1976–1985|
Most capped players
Bold names denote a player still playing or available for selection.
Bold names denote a player still playing or available for selection.
Carol Thomas was the first player to reach 50 caps in 1985, before retiring from representative football later that year, having amassed 56 caps. Fara Williams holds the record for England appearances, having played 172 times since 2001. She overtook previous record holder Rachel Yankey in August 2014, in a friendly against Sweden. Yankey had passed Gillian Coultard's 119 record England women caps in September 2012, in a European qualifying match against Croatia, and Peter Shilton's 125 record England international caps in June 2013, in a friendly against Japan.
Kelly Smith has scored the most goals for England, with 46 over a 20-year international career. She surpassed Karen Walker's record of 40 goals in September 2010, in a World Cup qualifying play-off against Switzerland.
FIFA World Cup
England have qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup five times (1995, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019) and failed to qualify for three competitions (1991, 1999, 2003). The England team reached the quarter-finals on three occasions, losing out to Germany in 1995, the United States in 2007 and France on penalties in 2011. In 2015, however, England earned the bronze medal for the first time, under Mark Sampson, by beating Germany in the third place play-off.
|World Cup finals record|
|1991||Did not qualify|
|1999||Did not qualify|
|2023||To be determined|
- *Draws include knockout matches decided by penalty shoot-outs.
|FIFA Women's World Cup matches|
|1995||Group stage||6 June||Canada||W 3–2||Olympia Stadion, Helsingborg|
|8 June||Norway||L 0–2||Tingvallen, Karlstad|
|10 June||Nigeria||W 3–2|
|Quarter-finals||13 June||Germany||L 0–3||Arosvallen, Västerås|
|2007||Group stage||11 September||Japan||D 2–2||Hongkou Stadium, Shanghai|
|14 September||Germany||D 0–0|
|17 September||Argentina||W 6–1||Chengdu Sports Center, Chengdu|
|Quarter-finals||22 September||United States||L 0–3||Tianjin Olympic Centre Stadium, Tianjin|
|2011||Group stage||27 June||Mexico||D 1–1||Volkswagen-Arena, Wolfsburg|
|1 July||New Zealand||W 2–1||Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion, Dresden|
|5 July||Japan||W 2–0||Impuls Arena, Augsburg|
|Quarter-finals||9 July||France||D 1–1 (3–4 p)||BayArena, Leverkusen|
|2015||Group stage||9 June||France||L 0–1||Moncton Stadium, Moncton|
|13 June||Mexico||W 2–1|
|17 June||Colombia||W 2–1||Olympic Stadium, Montreal|
|Round of 16||22 June||Norway||W 2–1||TD Place, Ottawa|
|Quarter-finals||27 June||Canada||W 2–1||BC Place, Vancouver|
|Semi-finals||1 July||Japan||L 1–2||Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton|
|Third place play-off||4 July||Germany||W 1–0 (aet)|
|2019||Group stage||9 June||Scotland||W 2–1||Allianz Riviera, Nice|
|14 June||Argentina||W 1–0||Stade Océane, Le Havre|
|19 June||Japan||W 2–0||Allianz Riviera, Nice|
|Round of 16||23 June||Cameroon||W 3–0||Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes|
|Quarter-finals||27 June||Norway||W 3–0||Stade Océane, Le Havre|
|Semi-finals||2 July||United States||L 1–2||Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Décines-Charpieu|
|Third place play-off||6 July||Sweden||L 1–2||Allianz Riviera, Nice|
England does not participate in the Women's Olympic Football Tournament, as the country does not have its own National Olympic Committee (NOC). Since England falls under the jurisdiction of the British Olympic Association, remit for an Olympic football team requires support from all four Home Nation associations. The Scottish Football Association (SFA), the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and the Irish Football Association (IFA) have all previously objected to the premise over fears that the team would erode the independence of their individual football associations. However, members of its team have played for the Great Britain women's Olympic football team at London 2012 having been granted automatic qualification as the host nation. The Home Nations once again agreed to a GB Women's team in time for Tokyo 2020 with England's result at the 2019 World Cup counting as the team's attempt to qualify. They qualified as one of the last three remaining European nations.
UEFA European Championship
England first entered the UEFA Women's Championship in 1984, reaching the final that year and in 2009. The team have reached the semi-finals on three other occasions (1989, 1995, 2017), but failed to make it out of the group stage in three other editions (2001, 2005, 2013). England did not qualify in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1997.
|1989||Did not qualify|
|1997||Did not qualify|
|2022||Qualified as hosts|
- *Draws include knockout matches decided by penalty shoot-outs.
- **Red border colour denotes tournament was held on home soil.
|1976 Pony Home Championship||Winners, group stage||1st||2||2||0||0||9||1|
|1969 Unofficial European Championship||Third place||3rd||2||1||0||1||5||4|
|1979 Unofficial European Championship||Semi-finals||4th||4||2||1||1||6||4|
|1981 Mundialito||Group stage||3rd||2||1||0||1||4||1|
|1990 North America Cup||Group stage||3rd||4||1||1||2||3||7|
|2002 Algarve Cup||Group stage||9th||4||1||0||3||8||12|
|2005 Algarve Cup||Group stage||8th||4||3||1||0||13||0|
|2007 Four Nations Tournament||Group stage||4th||3||0||2||1||3||0|
|2009 Cyprus Cup||Winners||1st||4||3||1||0||14||3|
|2010 Cyprus Cup||Group stage||5th||4||2||1||1||6||5|
|2010 Peace Queen Cup||Group stage||2nd||2||0||2||0||0||0|
|2011 Cyprus Cup||Group stage||5th||4||2||0||2||4||4|
|2012 Cyprus Cup||Group stage||4th||4||2||0||2||5||7|
|2013 Cyprus Cup||Winners||1st||4||3||1||0||12||7|
|2014 Cyprus Cup||Runners-up||2nd||4||3||0||1||7||2|
|2015 Cyprus Cup||Winners||1st||4||3||1||0||8||2|
|2015 Yongchuan International Tournament||Runners-up||2nd||2||1||0||1||2||2|
|2016 SheBelieves Cup||Group stage||3rd||3||0||1||2||1||3|
|2017 SheBelieves Cup||Group stage||3rd||3||1||0||2||2||3|
|2018 SheBelieves Cup||Runners-up||2nd||3||1||1||1||6||4|
|2019 SheBelieves Cup||Winners||1st||3||2||1||0||7||3|
|2020 SheBelieves Cup||Group stage||3rd||3||1||0||2||1||3|
- Sport in England
- Great Britain women's Olympic football team
- England women's national under-20 football team
- England women's national under-19 football team
- England women's national under-17 football team
- England men's national football team
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