Williamson World Cup hopes dashed as Arsenal confirm ACL rupture

By Sports Desk April 21, 2023

England captain Leah Williamson will miss the World Cup after it was confirmed she has ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament.

Williamson suffered the injury during Arsenal's 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in the Women's Super League on Wednesday after catching her studs in the turf at Leigh Sports Village.

With the World Cup starting on July 20, Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman will need to consider her other options at centre-back without Williamson, who helped lead her country to European Championships glory on home soil last year.

A statement from Arsenal on Friday confirmed the diagnosis, saying: "We can confirm that Leah Williamson suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in our Barclays Women's Super League match against Manchester United on Wednesday night.

"Leah was substituted in the first half of the game at Leigh Sports Village and underwent further assessment on Thursday to determine the extent of the injury.

"Leah will now begin a period of rehabilitation and is set for an extended spell on the sidelines. She will undergo surgery in due course.

"Everyone at Arsenal will be supporting Leah closely throughout the journey ahead and we would ask that her privacy is respected at this time."

It is the same injury sustained by Williamson's club and country team-mate Beth Mead in November, with Mead in a race against time to make it back in time for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Reacting at a press conference, boss of Arsenal's WSL title rivals Manchester City, Gareth Taylor, said: "It's obviously not good for Leah or for Arsenal or for England as well."

Taylor backed Williamson to come back strongly, saying: "She's young, she's capable enough of recovering," and pointed out the injury was "very similar to what happened with Chloe [Kelly] two seasons ago", with the striker able to return to action and hit England's winner in the European Championship final against Germany last July.

Related items

  • Martinez lauds Portugal hero Conceicao after Euro 2024 drama in Leipzig Martinez lauds Portugal hero Conceicao after Euro 2024 drama in Leipzig

    Roberto Martinez lauded Francisco Conceicao as Portugal's much-needed hero after the Porto forward snatched a 2-1 victory over Czechia in their Euro 2024 opener.

    Portugal seemed set for a disappointing draw in their first match at the tournament after Robin Hranac's own-goal cancelled out Lukas Provod's second-half rocket on Tuesday.

    Yet Conceicao scored just two minutes after being introduced from the bench, sparking wild celebrations as Martinez's men escaped their first Group E test by the skin of the teeth.

    Having only introduced Conceicao in the 90th minute, Martinez hailed the impact of the 21-year-old on his first competitive appearance for his country.

    The Portugal boss told reporters: "He deserves it. He always works with one eye in front of the goal, he sniffs out goals.

    "He was the fireworks we needed today."

    Portugal completed 368 passes in the first half of this match, their most in a single half of football at the European Championship finals on record (since 1980), without finding any reward.

    That dominance turned into frustration when Provod cannoned in the opener after 62 minutes, only for Portugal to be bailed out by new hero Conceicao in Leipzig.

    Yet Martinez was not overly disappointed with his team's efforts.

    "There are some points to evaluate, not from a tactical or physical point of view – we had 18 shots and 13 corners," the former Belgium head coach added. 

    "We won because we showed values ​​of resilience, will and belief, from a dressing room that wants to give everything for Portugal. For a coach, it's the best."

    Conceicao's winning strike came just 111 seconds after being introduced and marks the fastest such goal at the tournament since Ferran Torres, for Spain against Slovakia in June 2021 (41 seconds).

    The Porto youngster admitted nerves played a part before his heroics took over.

    "Of course there are, I suffer a lot inside and I try not to show it," Conceicao said.

    "I have to be calm, that's what I tried to do and I knew the time could come to enter."

    Vitinha also impressed in a controlled midfield showing for Portugal, though acknowledged his side must improve.

    "Fortunately, we equalised and we believed until the end we could turn the match around," the Paris Saint-Germain player said.

    "We need to do better but this was the first game. Everybody was enthusiastic but sometimes we were a bit hasty."

  • Portugal 2-1 Czechia: Conceicao's last-gasp heroics salvage Seleaco on Ronaldo's landmark outing Portugal 2-1 Czechia: Conceicao's last-gasp heroics salvage Seleaco on Ronaldo's landmark outing

    Francisco Conceicao proved the hero on his first competitive start for Portugal after his stoppage-time winner snatched a 2-1 victory over Czechia in their Euro 2024 opener.

    Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in the European Championship's 64-year history to appear in six editions, but his landmark moment was overshadowed by a glimpse into Portugal's future.

    Conceicao was introduced after 90 minutes and scored just two minutes later, capitalising on a rebound to send Portugal level on points with leaders Turkiye, who beat Georgia 3-1 earlier on Tuesday in Group F.

    Robin Hranac's unavoidable own-goal had earlier cancelled out Lukas Provod's rocketed second-half opener before Conceicao announced himself on the international stage at the Leipzig Stadium.

    Roberto Martinez's team were the only side to win every qualifying game for this tournament, with a perfect 10 wins from as many matches, and dominated the first half of their opener without reward.

    Ronaldo almost marked his landmark appearance with a goal just eight minutes in but rushed an unmarked header in uncharacteristic fashion from Rafael Leao's whipped cross.

    Bruno Fernandes angled a deflected long-range effort narrowly over as the one-way traffic persisted, before the Manchester United midfielder's teasing ball just evaded the lunging Leao.

    Fernandes was again the architect when his delicate throughball found Ronaldo, who was denied by Jindrich Stanek's fantastic stop from point-blank range.

    The Czechia goalkeeper was on hand once more before the interval, parrying away another fizzing Ronaldo strike as these two sides were the first to be goalless at half-time at Euro 2024.

    Portugal completed 368 passes in that first-half onslaught, their most on record in a single half at the European Championships since records began in 1980, and little changed after the break.

    Ronaldo tested the hands of Stanek with a dipping free-kick just before the hour, though Portugal were stunned soon after when Provod cannoned into the top-left corner from the perimeter of Diogo Costa's area.

    Yet a response swiftly followed as Stanek parried Leao's downwards back-post header against Hranac, who could only deflect into his own net to level proceedings.

    Diogo Jota had a late finish ruled out by VAR after Ronaldo was adjudged offside before his rebounded finish, though Conceicao pounced from Pedro Neto's left-wing cross to snatch all three points.

    Substitute heroics save Ronaldo's landmark appearance

    Ronaldo already holds the record for the most appearances in European Championship history (26), though this outing marked another historic moment for the 39-year-old.

    Having featured at every Euros since his 2004 debut, Ronaldo is the first to go to six editions of the tournament, where his 14 goals make him the leading scorer in history.

    The former Manchester United attacker could not add to his tally here, and it was a familiar tale at the Euros for Ronaldo, who missed the 2016 final victory over France after his gut-wrenching injury.

    Eder stepped up as the extra-time hero on that occasion, and he was the last Portugal substitute to score at the Euros before Conceicao did so here.

    Conceicao's goal came just 111 seconds after being introduced and marks the fastest such goal since Ferran Torres for Spain against Slovakia in June 2021 (41 seconds) – what an introduction for the Porto man.

    Czech need more from Schick

    Patrik Schick scored five of Czechia's six goals at Euro 2020, becoming only the second Czech player to be the sole or joint-top scorer at a European Championship tournament – after Milan Baros at the 2004 edition (five goals).

    The forward has since lifted the Bundesliga title with Bayer Leverkusen last term, helping Xabi Alonso's side to an unbeaten league season with seven top-flight goals.

    Considering his record at the Euros and the 2023-24 trophy-winning campaign, Czechia may want more from their star striker – who was withdrawn on the hour after being cautioned and failing to manage a single shot.

    Yet with or without Schick, Czechia could have never prepared for Conceicao's late intervention. Ivan Hasek's side have now lost five straight games against Portugal and must bounce back when they face Georgia on Saturday.

  • Pep's helping hand – NBA Finals-winning Celtics coach Mazzulla reveals Guardiola's advice Pep's helping hand – NBA Finals-winning Celtics coach Mazzulla reveals Guardiola's advice

    Pep Guardiola's advice helped the Boston Celtics win the NBA Finals, so says Joe Mazzulla.

    The Celtics clinched the NBA title with a 106-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on Monday.

    That sealed a 4-1 series win for Boston, who won their 18th Championship, and first since 2008.

    And head coach Mazzulla revealed that Manchester City manager Guardiola, who was in attendance for Game 1 of the Finals, played a part in his team's success.

    "Dallas has one of the smartest defenses," Mazzulla said.

    "We had to be creative to counter them."

    "Pep helped me in transitions and how to move guys."

    Perhaps when he does eventually leave City, Guardiola might just try his hand in the NBA?

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.