With only national teams on display throughout the world during this international break, all the stories were focused on the various qualifying matches and friendlies being played.
USWNT 3-0 China
The first of the USWNT’s double header against China saw them run out as three-nil winners against their opponents. Sophia Smith and Lindsey Horan got on the scoresheet, while a sterling performance by Trinity Rodman was capped off with a goal for herself as well.
The game at DRV PNK Stadium Fort Lauderdale also saw Jenna Nighswonger and Olivia Moultrie earn their first caps for the senior national team, Interim head coach Twila Kilgore continues to manage the team until next summer, where Emma Hayes will then step in, and so far Kilgore’s tenure has turned out to be a victorious one.
Nichelle Prince continues to shine for Canada
Nichelle Prince has become Canada’s most potent attacker. After a poor showing at the World Cup which saw Canada exit at the group stage, a revamped outfit with Prince and Adrianna Leon as the focal points, is paying off for the Canadians. Whether it’s in a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2, having Leon and Prince in particular up top has worked for Canada.
As of the time of this post, Prince has picked up three goals in five games, helping Canada qualify for the Olympics after their two-legged win against Jamaica. She followed up her performance against Jamaica with a stand out day against Australia in Langford, British Columbia. For so long, Christine Sinclair has been Canada’s saviour but with them preparing to say goodbye to a player that has been vital for their program, Bev Priestman has been looking to others to step up once Sinclair is gone. Prince has answered the call.
Changes to the UWCL
UEFA announced that there would be changes to the current format of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. From the normal group stage and then knock-out rounds, the competition will instead be six rounds of home and away games, in knockout competition.
Starting in the 2025/26 season, 18 teams will compete in the league stage, two more than presently take part in the group stage format. In addition to the previous season’s Women’s Champions League winner, and the domestic champions of the three top-ranked national associations, who qualify directly in the current format, the champions of associations ranked 4-6 and the runners-up of associations 1 and 2 will access the league stage directly.
Four more teams will join via the Champions qualifying path and five from the League qualifying path, which is extended to include, two new teams, the runner-up of the association ranked 17 and the third-placed team from the seventh-ranked association for the first time.
Caroline Seger retires
Another stalwart in the women’s game announced her intention to hang up her boots this past weekend. Caroline Seger, who has been synonymous with Sweden, made her decision to leave the sport after the end of this international window. Seger leaves the sport with multiple trophies at club level and also a few high with Sweden as well.
Many had thought that if Sweden had won Gold at the Tokyo Olympics, Seger would’ve said her goodbyes then but it seems as though she wanted to play in one more World Cup (this summer) before ending her career as a professional player.
England pulled off a strong comeback against the Netherlands in the UEFA Women’s Nations League which keeps their Olympic hopes alive. Meanwhile, in the same competition, a defeat to Switzerland saw Sweden fail to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in their history.