England’s World Cup odyssey points to bright future of sustained success | England women’s football team

After England’s European Championship win and defeat of the USA in a friendly in October, confidence was overflowing looking towards the World Cup. The Lionesses appeared strong enough to seriously challenge for football’s biggest prize.

The loss of the Euro 2022 Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner Beth Mead with an anterior cruciate ligament injury that would almost certainly end her World Cup dream was a blow, but one that could be taken; the depth was there. Then came knee injuries to the captain, Leah Williamson, another ACL, and magical No 10 Fran Kirby. All that remained of…

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