A team representing Great Britain has never participated in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament before, with the 2012 edition being the first time any side from the home nations has taken part. The England women’s national team has made great strides in recent years, reaching the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007 and 2011 as well as finishing runners-up in the 2009 UEFA Women’s Championship. However, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have yet to make an impact on the international scene.
Fresh from a promising 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where they were denied a place in the final four after a penalty shoot-out against France, England currently remain in the top ten of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking. Experienced coach Hope Powell was delighted to be put in charge and will be banking on home support to aid her team. The March edition of FIFA’s ranking system saw both Scotland and Wales reach all-time highs, 21st and 45th respectively, while Northern Ireland are outside the top 50.
Decisions are still to be made on the make-up of the Great Britain squad, with several players from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales expressing an interest in being included. Scotland’s record goalscorer, Julie Fleeting, has ruled herself out of contention but compatriot for both club and country, Kim Little, has insisted she will “definitely play” if selected for the tournament. Several others have suggested their desire for a call-up with Wales’ Jess Fishlock and Gwennan Harries, and Scotland’s Jennifer Beattie and Ifeoma Dieke, among others in contention. Having written to every player who was under consideration, Powell revealed at the beginning of 2012 that she had not received any rejections.
Facts and figures
Gillian Coultard, Pauline Hamill, Kelly Smith
Alex Scott (defender), Jill Scott (midfielder), Fara Williams (midfielder)
Great Britain qualified automatically as the host nation.
The numbers game
100 – Hope Powell’s current England squad features three players who have made more than 100 international appearances in Casey Stoney, Rachel Unitt and Fara Williams.