Is football coming home, or are they coming home? England aim to begin their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign with a bang this Saturday as they face Haiti at Brisbane Stadium. The European Champions are expected to make short work of the World Cup debutants in their first competitive fixture since their Finalissima victory in April. The Lionesses have been winless since, and doubts about their chances of glory this summer have begun to creep in. Sarina Wiegman will hope to build momentum with victory over Haiti in what is expected to be a comfortable group stage for England.
England have changed significantly since their victory over Germany in the final of the European Championships last July. Four key players in the starting eleven from that day at Wembley are no longer options for Wiegman this summer – Ellen White announced her retirement from football within a month of the final, Beth Mead remains injured after her ACL surgery and captain Leah Williamson is also out with the same injury. Fran Kirby is also out of the squad due to a knee problem. Jill Scott, who started from the bench in last year’s final, has also since retired from football. It presents a significant challenge to Wiegman’s side in their quest to bring football home again.
While England grapple with life at the summit of football, Haiti can enjoy life in their first major tournament with expectations of their success low. Les Grenadiéres arrive in Brisbane on Saturday to begin their fight out of a group most would consider impossible for them to progress from. In their most recent tournament, the Haitians lost all three of their group stage matches at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Women’s Games. With some of the world’s best competing in their group, their chances of progression are seemingly non-existent. However, could this work in their favour to make them a surprise package in this unpredictable tournament?
The Brisbane Stadium, also known as The Cauldron, will play host to the first ever encounter between these two countries. England will be making their sixth FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance this summer with the objective of becoming only the second team after Germany to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup as the reigning European Champions. With history and experience on their side, victory for England seems a certainty – but do Haiti have what it takes to pull of an early shock?
Both sides have mostly fit and available squads for Saturday’s fixture. There were whispers of concern for both Millie Bright and Lucy Bronze, but Sarina Wiegman has confirmed that the duo will both be available.
England: Earps; Carter, Greenwood, Morgan, Bronze; Walsh, Toone, Stanway; Hemp, Russo, Kelly
Haiti: Théus, Louis, Joseph, Limage, Surpris; Pierre-Louis, Jeudy; Mondesir, Louis; Dumornay, Borgella
Where can I watch?
Kick-off at Brisbane Stadium is scheduled for 10:30am UK time on Saturday, 22nd July 2023. The coverage will begin at 9:40am on ITV 1 and ITVX. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not- we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.