Beth Mead refusing to give up on 2023 Women’s World Cup as ACL rehab continues

England forward Beth Mead has insisted that there will be no final decision on whether she will be selected for the 2023 Women’s World Cup until May as she refuses to give up hope of missing the tournament due to the ACL injury she suffered in November.

Mead picked up the season-ending injury during a WSL game for Arsenal against Manchester United, with ACL recovery typically anywhere from six months to a year or more depending on the specifics.

Fully recovering in time to help the Lionesses conquer the global stage after winning Euro 2022 last summer was always likely to be a race against the clock. What’s more, it seemed to be a race that Mead was losing when England boss Sarina Wiegman admitted only last week that current plans and preparations do not include the 27-year-old, who was named best player at the Euros.

“She is not in our plans right now, but if a miracle happens, we’ll see,” Wiegman said.

Mead has now revealed that she was called for a meeting with the Lionesses coach recently to have what she described a ‘transparent’ chat about the situation, including a friendly reminder that her England career will long continue even if she doesn’t make it to Australia and New Zealand.

“We were on the same page. My motivation in my rehab is to get as close to going to the World Cup as I possibly can. It gives me a target. That is still my target. I put that across to her and she was happy with that,” Mead explained in an interview with The Telegraph.


“I’m doing really well. I’m going to continue working hard and she will revisit it in May. That’s when a decision will be made,” adding that Wiegman’s recent public comments were intended to ‘keep the pressure off’ her recovery efforts.

“It’s not given me a solid no, but she hasn’t said yes either. She is preparing for a World Cup without me, but I could still be picked. And miracles do happen. I’ve certainly not given up. She has not given up on me going either. Not yet. I’ve been given a glimmer of hope. I’m a realistic person. I know it’s going to be extremely hard. But you give me a glimmer of hope and I will take it.”

Mead’s partner and Arsenal teammate Vivianne Miedema appears to have already made a decision about her own World Cup availability after also suffering an ACL injury a month later.

The Netherlands star said twice within weeks of sustaining the injury that she wasn’t expecting to be fit in time for the summer and reiterated that position during a television appaearance on Sunday.

“No hopes. I’m definitely going to miss the World Cup, which is hard,” Miedema explained on live BBC Two coverage of Arsenal’s WSL win over Manchester City. “But I hope to be back for the beginning of next season. That’s my focus right now and I need to be realistic.”

Discussing her recovery, she added, “It’s going good. Really slow, but it’s little steps.”

Chloe Kelly; Lauren James

Chloe Kelly & Lauren James are both options on England’s right / Michael Steele/GettyImages

If Mead ultimately isn’t available for World Cup selection, which still seems the more likely scenario at this moment in time, England do have other options in the right-sided forward role that she has thrived in at international over the past few years.

Chloe Kelly, who scored England’s extra-time winner in the Euro 2022 final, is the obvious choice. The Manchester City star didn’t start any of the games at that tournament but came off the bench in every game and plays the role at club level.

Since Euro 2022, Wiegman has brought new wide forwards into the fold, including Chelsea star Lauren James. The 21-year-old has become a regular fixture for the Lionesses this season and is enjoying a phenomenal campaign in the WSL and Champions League. Although a different type of player, along with Kelly, she is probably the most likely replacement for Mead in the starting XI.

Jess Park, on loan at Everton from Manchester City, and Brighton’s Katie Robinson are two other wingers that have continued to be called up this season. However, both are arguably more creators than goalscorers compared to the likes of Mead, Kelly and James.

Ella Toone is more typically known as a ‘number 10’ but is also capable of playing on the right and could do so in tighter games should Wiegman move ball-playing centre-back Leah Williamson into midfield alongside Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway for greater protection. – ChatGPT autoblogging and content curation plugin for WordPress

USWNT & CanWNT jerseys for 2023 Women’s World Cup unveiled

The United States and Canada are just two of the nations that Nike have unveiled new home and away jerseys ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup this coming summer.

The North American pair will be among the favourites to go far in the tournament, with the USWNT back-to-back reigning champions with a new generation of talented players, and the CanWNT the current Olympic champions from 2021.

For the United States, the abstract expressionism art movement that began in New York in the 1940s is the basis of inspiration for the new threads.

The white primary jersey features a drip-paint effect, serving to highlight the energy of the women’s national team. The blue secondary shirt, meanwhile, has a bespoke stars and stripes graphic print.

The USWNT will wear classic white & blue

The USWNT will wear classic white & blue / Nike

The Canada home jersey focuses on a bold evolution of the iconic geometric maple leaf design. Black accents and detail are brought into the design, with black shorts to be used rather than red shorts. The change kit is a much simpler design using the red and white of the national flag.

Black has been added to Canada's look for 2023

Black has been added to Canada’s look for 2023 / Nike

Any one of a number of countries could lift the Women’s World Cup trophy in 2023.

The United States will always be among the favourites owing to their history at the tournament, both recent and historic, and have produced a new generation of outstanding talent as many veterans of the 2015 and 2019 campaign retire or step away.

England, as reigning champions of Europe after last summer’s Euro 2022, now have the belief that they can win major tournaments after previously falling at semi-final hurdles. There will also be eyes on the likes of France, Germany and Sweden from Europe.

Canada have never reached the final of a World Cup but showed their international merit in 2021 with a gold medal at the Olympics. This could also be the last chance on the global stage for legendary top scorer Christine Sinclair, who will turn 40 in June.

Australia should also not be underestimated, especially on home soil. The Matildas are yet to really make their mark on the World Cup stage but have a number of world class players ready to go. – ChatGPT autoblogging and content curation plugin for WordPress

England home & away kits for 2023 Women’s World Cup revealed

England will be wearing two brand new Nike kits at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, a classic white home shirt and an eye-catching blue away jersey.

The home kit is described as a ‘chalky’ colour inspired by the architecture of the original Wembley Stadium built in the early 1923, now a century ago.

There is also a nod to the Lionesses of 1984 in the colour scheme, with the white shirt with blue accents and blue shorts reminiscent of the kit worn by the first England women’s team assembled for an official major tournament – they finished runner-up in the inaugural European Championship.

England have adopted a blue away strip to complement classic white home jersey

England have adopted a blue away strip to complement classic white home jersey / Nike

The Lionesses have notably worn all-white kits in recent years. But following consultation and feedback from the players last summer over concerns relating to wearing white shorts while on their period, a decision to incorporate darker shorts has been made.

That is also reflected in the technology featured in the kit, with the ‘pro’ version of the shorts making use of Nike Leak Protection. The kit is made from Nike DRI-FIT ADV technology, which is the sporting giant’s latest advanced performance material innovation engineered for the body in motion. 

The blue away shirt features a bold geometric pattern and a colour fade that is also a nod to the original Wembley architecture. It is a notable but exciting change for Lionesses players used to wearing more traditional red England change strips.

England's stars will be big draws at the World Cup

England’s stars will be big draws at the World Cup / Nike

The ninth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off on 20 July when co-hosts New Zealand face Norway in Auckland’s Eden Park.

Fellow co-hosts Australia will kick-off shortly afterwards against Republic of Ireland in Sydney.

For reigning European champions England, the tournament starts two days later when they face first-time qualifiers Haiti in Brisbane. The Lionesses will then go on to face Denmark on 28 July and China on 1 August to conclude the group stage.

The tournament’s knockout stages start from 5 August, with the final scheduled for 20 August at Sydney’s Stadium Australia. – ChatGPT autoblogging and content curation plugin for WordPress

Camp Nou redevelopment hit by uncertainty

Barcelona are hoping to complete their renovation of Camp Nou in 2025, with the newly redeveloped stadium the centre-piece of the club’s wider ‘Espai Barça’ project.

Some of the work is already ongoing and the Blaugrana are planning to play home games next season at the city’s Olympic Stadium in Montjuic during the more invasive aspects of work.

The idea was to return to Camp Nou at reduced capacity in 2024/25 while the remaining work was carried out, but then reap the financial reward of a state of the art home and venue once the project is complete. However, the timeline has been revised and completion will be during 2025/26.

Espai Barça has been in the pipeline for years, first approved in a vote by club members in 2014. With the first designs produced in 2016, it has already been heavily subjected to delays due to the impact of Covid-19 and the club’s well publicised financial strife.

But an extensive report from The Athletic has detailed the problems that the project has faced and continues to face.

Although the name of Josep Maria Bartomeu has become tantamount to a dirty word around Barcelona, the former president appeared to have an €815m project ready to go by the time his term in office came to an end.

Successor Laporta, who had wanted to redevelop Camp Nou during his first stint as president without success, subsequently put his own stamp on things upon returning to office in 2021 that took the proposed cost to €1.5bn.


Securing the financing for that level of cost has proven enormously difficult, especially with the changes to the plans potentially meaning that the new stadium will secure less future revenue than previously expected. As recently as March, Laporta claimed that the financing is in place, but that Barcelona are still working to try and ‘improve the term’s of that loan.

All those originally hired to work on the redevelopment, including architects, engineers and consultants are no longer involved, with many having left or been sacked. There is also concern that some of those hired more recently to oversee things lack the relevant experience for such a large and increasingly complicated project.

Barça had been granted a permit by the city council this time last year to start preliminary work. But further approval was still needed and, with the changes to the plans, there has had to a new consultation process. The club are still lacking the necessary permits and the current plans are drawn from the work of as many as four different architectural firms.

To makes matters even worse, Real Madrid’s redevelopment of the Bernabeu seems to be going well and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. Barça may be ahead on the pitch right now, but behind the apparent chaos behind the scenes is hard to ignore.


Southampton’s Operations and Sustainability Manager Caroline Carlin and LWFC supporters club founder Jo Goodall join Shebahn Aherne to have football’s climate conversation about what football clubs are doing to reduce their carbon footprint. Pledgeball’s Heather Ashworth also gives an update on the Pledgeball League table.

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast! – ChatGPT autoblogging and content curation plugin for WordPress

Premier League clubs monitoring Brandon Vazquez

European teams are currently monitoring FC Cincinnati figure Brandon Vazquez after a recent rise in Major League Soccer, 90min understands.

Crystal Palace, Everton and Bournemouth are among those keeping a close eye on Vazquez, sources have told 90min. Promotion contenders Sheffield United, Norwich, and Middlesbrough and Scotland’s Rangers have scouted the player as well. 

The consensus between teams is that Vazquez would be well suited to English football due to his physical stature and style of play. However, reports from Sky Germany have also linked the player to Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach in recent weeks.

Vazquez has been a subject of interest ever since an impressive 2022 Major League Soccer campaign, after recording 18 goals and eight assists in 33 appearances to become a Golden Boot contender. Given his numbers, Liga MX giants Chivas de Guadalajara submitted an offer for Vazquez but the club declined said advances.

The player later explained that after several conversations with the MLS club, he wasn’t ready to “let go” and move on. 

“But sitting down with Cincinnati, and having the conversation of where I am with the team, and what we’re trying to do in the league, we’re trying to win a championship and I think it’s very possible this year with the team that we have. I love the fans that we have, I love the city, the training ground, the coaches, my teammates, everything is so special and I wasn’t ready to let go of that just yet,” he said exclusively to 90min in January. 

But now, with the transfer window fast approaching, it seems the player is considering a potential move abroad. 

“Of course, my whole life I’ve always wanted to go to Europe,” he said in another interview. 

“And for sure, that’s the next step that I want to take. But nothing’s for certain, so I know I just have to keep doing my job here at Cincinnati, and if that’s what’s meant to happen, then it’ll happen. But for now, I’m just focused on improving myself every single day.”

As the 2023 MLS campaign progresses, Vazquez will likely continue to impress. He’s managed one goal and one assist thus far, to inspire FC Cincinnati to top of the Eastern Conference table with 14 points in six games and a record of 4W-2D-0L. 

His club success has also propelled Vazquez to the US men’s national team, recording one goal in two appearances for the American side. – ChatGPT autoblogging and content curation plugin for WordPress