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ginations and headlin

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    March 29, 2020 9:15 PM CDT

    As Wayne Rooneys milestone 100th cap at Wembley last Saturday and his three goals in two matches, edging him ever close to Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time England scoring record, have captured English footballs imaginations and headlines of late, over this same time frame, the English women’s team have quietly, and rather assuredly, gone about their business some 100-plus miles outside of London, all climaxing, come Sunday morning our time, in a rather monumental moment for women’s soccer in England - in fact, make that for English soccer itself. The venue is Wembley Stadium. The occasion is a rather prestigious friendly between two footballing nations with rather large designs on the FIFA Women’s World Cup head in Canada next summer. The current European champion Germans will put their second-place FIFA ranking on the line against England, who just in early August, throttled fifth-ranked Sweden 4-0. That match was played in rather unfashionable Hartlepool in front of a crowd of less than 5,000. Some three months later, a 55,000-capacity Wembley Stadium crowd will be in full voice in what will be the first women’s match in the home of football since the US beat Japan in the final of the London 2012 Summer Olympics. You’ll remember that occasion where, following the final whistle confirming gold for the US, shortly after we, and what seemed to be the entire nation, witnessed the extraordinary pictures as the Canadian flag was hoisted to those world famous Wembley rafters when we picked up that rather famous bronze medal. A defining moment, which was not only one of the greatest moments for Canadian soccer but one our entire nation will always look back on rather fondly - deep Canadian pride and tears of immense joy in equal measure. However, that was then and Sunday will most definitely be England’s moment. No one could have dared to imagine when the English FA announced the friendly fixture, that more than a month before the kick-off, they would announce a sell-out. All 55,000 tickets having been snapped up by a crowd whipped up into a fever pitch-like frenzy for women’s soccer.The FA could have sold another 20,000-plus, but as long planned major transportation works are scheduled for London this weekend, together with the police, it was decided to cap Sunday’s attendance at that 55,000 mark. To put this figure into a much clearer perspective, in September Wayne Rooney and his world famous cast of BPL stars could only muster a crowd of 40,000 for a Wembley international against Norway. Following yet another abysmal World Cup campaign, the appetite for the England team is reaching an all-time low. So disastrous was their World Cup that their ranking dropped from a credible 10th to 20th in the FIFA rankings. Meanwhile, the English women’s team has climbed above even us, as they sit in seventh spot currently. Want to run the perfect World Cup qualification campaign, Roy? Just have a look at how England set about qualifying for next summer: Played 10, won 10 - England hit the back of the net an incredible 51 times whilst only conceding a solitary goal over those 10 matches. Only the Germans compiled the better record in qualification for a World Cup where UEFA will have eight nations competing. Seven of those places have already been decided, with the eighth and final berth to be decided when Italy and the Netherlands go at it over the dreaded two-leg playoff. The first leg will be played in the Netherlands on Saturday with the return fixture next Thursday. England have their sights set on going at least one better next summer than how they performed at Germany 2011, where they went out rather cruelly on penalties to France in the quarterfinals - the semi-final stage, where, most surprisingly, the then-world champion Germans also came unstuck to Japan. Sunday’s match at Wembley between England and Germany is sure to be hotly contested. Bragging rights will certainly be on the line. An English victory would catapult the profile and prestige of women’s soccer close to that probe that recently landed on a comet out in distant space. England, though, is fully aware of the daunting task that lays ahead Sunday afternoon at Wembley Stadium against a team they are yet to beat. A pair of scoreless draws back in 2007 is the closest they have come against Germany, a six-time European and two-time World Cup champion. If England need any further inspiration or motivation they just need to look towards one of English footballs most inspiring of players and someone, come next summer, you’ll become rather familiar with in Fara Williams. Williams, who picked up her record-breaking 130th-international cap in August’s triumph over Sweden in August, lived for over six years as a homeless person. Yes, you read that correctly - the break-up of her family was reason why. Football would be Williams’s saviour - as the girl who was born a stone’s throw away from Stamford Bridge and grew up a huge Chelsea fan - spent her days on the street and her nights in a variety of London’s homeless shelters throughout this awful period of her life. If you think last season’s BPL was exciting as it came down to the wire in the final match, then in the Women’s Super League title race was even more mouth-watering. Three clubs had chance of the title going into the last game of the season. Williams’s club, Liverpool, needed both clubs above them, Chelsea and Birmingham City, to experience final day fixture blues. And that they duly did. Chelsea lost, Birmingham drew and, thanks to a Williams penalty, Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners and with it were crowned FAWSL Champions. England have been preparing for Sunday’s match, which falls a day shy of the 13th-anniversary of Williams’s England debut at St. George’s Park Football Centre, the national training centre where Roy Hodgson’s squad also prepared ahead of last Saturday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia. Opened just over two years ago at a cost of £120 million ($215 million), St. George’s is home to all 16 national teams for both men and women and is set in over 300 acres of plush English countryside, 130 miles to the north of Wembley Stadium - the very same place where, last Saturday, Williams was special guest taking in the Euro 2016 qualifier from the comfort of the Royal Box. As Wayne Rooney was before the match on the occasion of his 100th cap, Williams was honoured on the pitch at half-time for becoming the most-capped player in women’s football for England. On Sunday afternoon, she gets chance down on the pitch along with her teammates, brimming with confidence, to finally overcome those über-successful Germans. With 55,000 cheering England on from the Wembley stands, the match has all the ingredients to go down as one of the more magnificent moments for English football. This in a stadium, which will always mean so very much for our women’s team and for all those who contributed to one of the most famous medals in Canadian Olympic history. Noel.Butler@BellMedia.ca @TheSoccerNoel on Twitter Wholesale Red Wings Jerseys. Spieth again showed game well beyond his 20 years with a 9-under 63 on the North Course, giving him a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink going into the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open. Detroit Red Wings Gear. - The Pittsburgh Pirates plan on keeping promising left fielder Starling Marte playing alongside National League MVP Andrew McCutchen for years to come. https://www.cheapredwings.com/.com) - The Carolina Hurricanes placed defenseman John-Michael Liles on injured reserve Tuesday. Custom Detroit Red Wings Jerseys.A. Happ is coming off his first start of the year, a win at Philadelphia Monday. The former Phillie allowed three hits in five scoreless frames of a 3-0 triumph. Stitched Red Wings Jerseys. The lightning strike was in the parking lot of Crew Stadium on Saturday night, but its not known if the off-duty lieutenant was struck directly, Columbus Fire Department Battalion Chief Tracy Smith said. The firefighter, identified as Lt.Time to go to work. After four months of everyone telling you how good you are, the transition of now proving how good you are begins. Yes, the contract still has to be signed and a residence found, but in a matter of 30 days for those drafted in the first round of this years NFL Draft, expectations will be high, as now you have to prove your worth. As always, it was an interesting process at Radio City Music Hall with limited drama and more logic than risk. The logic began early with with Jadeveon Clowney and Greg Robinson going #1 and #2 to the Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams, respectively. Blake Bortles at #3 was a surprise, but then again the Jacksonville Jaguars have serious quarterback developmental problems, so this was a need pick more than a move for the best available player. Where the draft became interesting was when the Buffalo Bills moved up to take Sammy Watkins out of Clemson. As an organization, I doubt they will regret the move 365 days from now, as Watkins is about as sure as you can get (barring injury, of course). When you look at the Bills right now, and this is despite the trade earlier today of Stevie Johnson to the San Francisco 49ers, Watkins and Robert Woods make for a solid tandem at wide receiver. Add CJ Spiller at running back and EJ Manuel has a lot to work with. And all four are similar in age , that age being young . A #1 pick in 2015 is a lot to give up, but Watkinss ability to take a short pass and make it into a major gain is phenomenal. A good aggressive move by the Bills. The next 3 picks (Khalil Mack to the Oakland Raiders , Jake Matthews to the Atlanta Falcons and Mike Evans to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) were expected. But then how about the Cleveland Browns? Justin Gilbert at corner to work in tandem with Joe Haden, also a first-round pick, was a bit surprising, but getting Johnny Manziel buy trading up four spots with the Philadelphia Eagles was smart, Draft day football. So the Browns created a top cornerback and a new quarterback and will have two first-rounders in 2015 with the Bills pick. Nice day of Draft strategy for Cleveland. I think Manziel will do well in the NFL. Kyle Shanahan will be his offensive co-ordinator and personal coach and that is significant in that it was Shanahan who coached Robert Griffin III in Washington. Whatever developmental mistake he made, if any, in Washington, he will not make in Cleveland with Manziel. The next seven picks had reason and thought about the until # 16 with the Dallas Cowboys. Now Zack Martin from Notre Dame will be a solid player, but Dallas allowed the third-most points in NFL history last year, so it did not make sense to draft a guard/tackle with their first. Yes, their center and last years first-rounder, Travis Frederick, was outstanding lastt year, but there were glaring needs ignored.dddddddddddd The Pittsburgh Steelers beat Dallas to the Ryan Shazier pick one spot before and he was a player who Dallas wanted, but Calvin Pryor and CJ Mosley went to the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens with the next two picks! Both would be instant starters in Dallas. This one made no sense unless Zack Martin is a star very soon. Another team that made a good move was the New Orleans Saints with Brandin Cooks. They traded up with the Carolina Panthers and took the player who most emulates Darren Sproles, who is now an Eagle. Sean Payton is a master designer of both physical football on offence and speed football the next series. Cooks is a speed element that, in the Mercedes Superdome, could be difficult to contain. Pick #23 by the Kansas City Chiefs was pretty smart too. Dee Ford of Auburn fell off the evaluation radar completely as the Draft came closer to happening. He is a good speed rusher and now the Chiefs have three of them on their Roster. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos because of the pass rush in this years Super Bowl and the Chiefs took notice. Maybe the biggest risk/reward draft pick was #29 by the New England Patriots. i dont know much about Dominique Easley, a defensive lineman out of Florida, other than that he has had two ACL surgeries. If you are unfortunate to have a third, it is tough to remain explosive as your main body part is wearing out. I am sure the Patriots investigated his health intensely, but it is a risk, especially when you consider Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, that I am surprised they would take. Finally, Mike Zimmer and his Minnesota Vikings had a good day. Anthony Barr at # 9 out of UCLA could be a star on the horizon and then trading up with Seattle to get Teddy Bridgewater was also smart. The fans at Radio City Music Hall gave Bridgewater a standing ovation for a quarterback who lives for his mothers heath and dropped hard after his pro day. It will be really interesting to see how he does and, if he does well, it will put into dispute the emphasis on physical skills versus football skills coming out of college. He is in a great situation as Mike Zimmer will improve the defence, Adrian Peterson will be Adrian Peterson and with Phil Loadholt at right tackle and Matt Kalil at left tackle, Teddy Bridgewaters in-pocket skills will be supported. Bridgewaters coach by position is Norv Turner, who is responsible for Troy Aikmans success and Alex Smiths best year in San Francisco. Its a nice place to be. The first round is over in the NFL Draft and you know every team will say they got precisely what they wanted. We know thats not the truth, but with six more rounds to go, there still is optimism for all involved . Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '