The Lionesses are finally back: 11 reasons to tune in to the Arnold Clark Cup this week
The Lionesses are about to kick off their first tournament since winning Euro 2022. Here’s what you need to know and why you should tune in.
We wouldn’t blame you if, knee-deep in what feels like an eternal winter, you’re having difficulty recalling the events of last year’s summer. So, allow us to refresh your memory. There was that time we collectively baked during the climate crisis-induced heatwave. The moment we realised that a heated home was about to become a luxury, as Ofgem announced an 80% rise in the price cap on household energy bills. And, in much, much happier memories, there was the time that football (finally) came home afterthe Lionesses won the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final.
It’s a win that will go down in history – and not just because it’s the first time an England football team has won a major trophy since 1966. There was the record-breaking attendance at Wembley stadium: 87,192 fans showed up to watch the team secure a 2-1 win against Germany. Then, there was Chloe Kelly’s iconic celebration after tapping in that magic winning goal. And, there’s the undeniable fact that women’s football – and women’s sport in general – has been catapulted into the fore. Post-Euro 2022 win, average attendances in the Women’s Super League increased by 200%. That’s no accident.
It has been a few months since we last got to cheer on our Lionesses. But, good news: the Arnold Clark Cup kicks off today, which means we’ve got a host of great games to look forward to over the coming week.
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What is the Arnold Clark Cup?
The Arnold Clark Cup is an invitational international tournament run and managed by the Football Association. It’s named after Scottish businessman and car retailer Sir Arnold Clark, whose company is the main sponsor.
Founded last year, the tournament hosts four teams. Each team plays the other once, securing three points for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss, and the team at the top of the table at the end of the tournament wins the cup.
Last year, the Lionesses beat Spain, Canada and Germany to the title. This year, they’re scheduled to take on Belgium, Italy and South Korea.
When are the Lionesses playing in the Arnold Clark Cup?
The Lionesses are playing three games across seven days. Here’s what the schedule looks like:
Thursday, 16 February
Italy v Belgium, Stadium MK, 16:45
England v South Korea, Stadium MK, 19:45
Sunday, 19 February
England v Italy, Coventry Building Society Arena, 15:15
Belgium v South Korea, Coventry Building Society Arena, 18:15
Wednesday, 22 February
South Korea v Italy, Ashton Gate, 16:45
England v Belgium, Ashton Gate, 19:45
Where can I watch the Arnold Clark Cup?
All of the games will be broadcast on ITV 4, except England v Italy, which will be broadcast on ITV 1.
Keen to catch a game in person (hard recommend)? Tickets are still available to purchase on the Arnold Clark Cup website.
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Who’s in the Arnold Clark Cup squad?
Mary Earps (Manchester United)
Sandy MacIver (Manchester City)
Emily Ramsey (Everton, loan from Manchester United)
Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)
• Millie Bright (Chelsea)
• Lucy Bronze (Barcelona)
• Jess Carter (Chelsea)
• Niamh Charles (Chelsea)
• Rachel Daly (Aston Villa)
• Alex Greenwood (Manchester City)
• Maya Le Tissier (Manchester United)
• Leah Williamson (Arsenal)
• Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)
• Laura Coombs (Manchester City)
• Jordan Nobbs (Aston Villa)
• Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich)
• Ella Toone (Manchester United)
• Keira Walsh (Barcelona)
• Katie Zelem (Manchester United)
• Lauren Hemp (Manchester City)
• Lauren James (Chelsea)
• Chloe Kelly (Manchester City)
• Jessica Park (Everton, loan from Manchester City)
• Katie Robinson (Brighton & Hove Albion)
• Alessia Russo (Manchester United)
• Ebony Salmon (Houston Dash)
11 reasons to tune into the Arnold Clark Cup
1. Relive a little bit of last year’s magic
Last year’s Euros had the whole nation giddy with excitement. Collectively, we basked in the thrill of cheering on the team through many a tough game, and watching them come out on top every time made it even sweeter. Right now, when dark evenings and icy temperatures have many of us experiencing a general lack of enthusiasm, some sporting camaraderie is exactly what we need. If time is on your side, grab some snacks and don your England shirt to cheer the women’s team on through their three games (and check out the WSL schedule to follow many of the Lionesses at their respective clubs year-round).
2. Get to know some new players
The Arnold Clark Cup squad looks a little different to the Euro 2022 squad. Ellen White and Jill Scott both retired last year and Beth Mead, who won player of the tournament and the Golden Boot, is currently recovering from an ACL injury she sustained in November of last year. We’ll be sad not to see some of our faves pounding the pitch, but we’re also excited to watch some of the new talent on the team.
Lauren James, a Chelsea forward, has unthinkably fast feet, and Manchester United’s Maya Le Tissier is the epitome of a defensive brick wall. Other players who weren’t in the Euro squad that we’re excited to watch include Ebony Salmon, Katie Robinson, Jessica Park, Niamh Charles, Emily Ramsey, Sandy MacIver, Jordan Nobbs and Laura Coombs.
3. Get an idea of what to expect at the FIFA Women’s World Cup
The Arnold Clark Cup is the perfect opportunity for manager Sarina Wiegman to experiment with player combinations ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer. Tuning into the three games over the coming week may give us a little peek into her plan of attack.
4. Possibly catch a Georgia Stanway screamer
Sorry, but did you see the screamer that midfielder Georgia Stanway scored in the Euro quarter-final against Spain? Or, the penalty she scored in the friendly against the USA at a sold-out Wembley last October? Needless to say, she’s hungry for goals and we’re excited to watch her get ’em.
5. And a Mary Earps super save
On the topic of impressive performances, keeper Mary Earps made countless impossible-looking saves at the Euros last year, including a jaw-dropper when the team played Sweden in the semi-final. We’re confident we can expect more of the same during the Arnold Clark Cup.
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6. Watch captain Leah Williamson play as part of the squad again
Captain Leah Williamson sustained an injury post-Euros last year, which saw her unavailable for games against the US, Czech Republic, Norway and Japan while she recovered. She’s finally back to full health and will captain the team throughout the Arnold Clark Cup.
7. See what tricks Alessia Russo has in her back pocket (or heel)
Need we remind you of Russo’s preposterous backheel goal against Sweden in the Euro 2022 semi-final? If it’s anything to go by, we’re looking forward to watching the forward demonstrate some more tricks during this upcoming tournament.
8. See if Millie Bright wins the Golden Boot for a second year running
In an unlikely – but very enjoyable – turn of events, defender Millie Bright won the Golden Boot at the 2022 Arnold Clark Cup by scoring against Canada and Germany. Will she nab the title again? Who’s to say – watch and find out.
9. Guess where Rachel Daly might play
Although Rachel Daly moonlights as a defender when she plays for England, for her club (Aston Villa) she plays as a forward and is currently the joint-top goal scorer in the WSL with 10 goals in 13 games. With Ellen White retiring and leaving the number 9 role unassigned, we’re all curious to know whether Daly will remain a defender for the Arnold Clark Cup or whether she’ll be up front. Either way, she’s a credit to the team.
10. Support women’s sport
What better way to get behind women’s sport than to, y’know… engage with it? Increased viewership will only help to propel women’s football further and help players to access the kinds of facilities and support they need to play at their best. Do us all a favour and stick the TV on, please.
11. Possibly see the Lionesses secure a second win on the trot
The Lionesses were victorious at the 2022 Arnold Clark Cup, beating top teams Canada, Spain and Germany to the title. Will they win the title two years on the trot? Tune in to find out.
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