Pep Guardiola hailed the stylistic brilliance of women's football as England prepare to face Germany in the Euro 2022 final.

The Manchester City boss is recognised as a coach who encourages technical excellence, having been brought up through the Barcelona system and taken the teachings with him.

As head coach of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and latterly City, Guardiola has nurtured teams through innovation, looking for his players to produce a possession-based game.

There has been fluidity and intensity at the core of his teams, and the end result has been the emergence of some of football's most entertaining, highly skilled teams of the modern era.

He recognises excellence when he sees it, and Guardiola believes it is coursing through the women's game at present.

Sunday's final is set to be played in front of a full house at Wembley, with the tournament having already smashed previous European Championship attendance records.

"Well I think they deserve all the credit, women footballers around the world, how they rise, how they are doing incredibly good, so they deserve what they are getting," Guardiola said.

"Before, years ago, there was maybe not the media, maybe it was not being followed like it is, and it has happened because they are doing incredible things in the style, the way they play."

Given his previous Bayern allegiance, Guardiola is reluctant to pick a winner, even though a number of England's squad play for City's women's team, including Ellen White, Lauren Hemp and Keira Walsh.

Germany have won the Women's Euros eight times previously, while England have yet to be champions.

"Before, I was working in Germany, I want the best for both [teams]," said Guardiola, whose City team will face Liverpool in the Community Shield in Leicester on Saturday.

"Of course, we want a good final. England can play a good game, and it's a big success for both national teams to get to the final. Of course both will want to win it, at an incredible scenario at Wembley.

"I think the crowd will be completely full and hopefully they can enjoy a good game and the best team wins. Congratulations. It's so nice for England – arriving at the final is a big achievement."

Manchester City will welcome Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium in the Women's Super League.

The match will take place over the weekend of December 10-11, when the Premier League will be on a mid-season break due to the men's World Cup, taking place in Qatar.

It will be the third time the Etihad has hosted a City women's game, after a 2014 clash with Everton and a derby against United.

That match, in September 2019, was won 1-0 by the hosts and drew a then-WSL record crowd of 31,213 supporters.

The news comes on the back of the success of the Women's European Championship, which has taken place in England throughout July.

England take on Germany in Sunday's final at Wembley Stadium, with UEFA anticipating a record crowd at the ground for a match at the Women's Euros. 

More than twice as many fans have attended this year's tournament than the previous competition in 2017.

England star forwards Beth Mead and Ellen White will be rivals on the opening weekend of the Women's Super League season after Arsenal were handed a testing trip to Manchester City.

Mead hit a hat-trick and White scored twice as England thrashed Norway 8-0 in their second Euro 2022 group match on Monday evening. However, eyes are already turning towards another WSL campaign, which begins on the weekend of September 10-11, as Arsenal and City look to dethrone three-peat champions Chelsea.

As well as Mead, Arsenal have England captain Leah Williamson and Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema among their rich player pool, while White is joined in City's ranks by the likes of England winger Lauren Hemp, former Lionesses skipper Steph Houghton and Jamaica striker Khadija Shaw.

Arsenal finished second in the table last year, a point behind Chelsea, with City third. Chelsea begin their quest for a fourth consecutive title when they host West Ham, while Manchester United travel to Tottenham, Everton host Leicester City, Brighton and Hove Albion welcome Aston Villa, and promoted Liverpool journey to Reading.

The penultimate round on the weekend of May 20-21 could be pivotal in determining the destiny of the title as Chelsea tackle Arsenal and City make the short trip to United for the Manchester derby.

Arsenal finish at home to Aston Villa a week later, City host Everton and Chelsea travel to Reading. Liverpool and Manchester United also go head-to-head on the final weekend.

Kelly Simmons, the Football Association's director of the women's professional game, said: "We really want to capture the momentum generated from the Women's Euros this summer, which will significantly help us take this league to the next level."

England's Ellen White insists she is relishing the pressure of leading the line at the Women's Euro 2022, but she knows she must improve her goalscoring form to keep her place in Sarina Wiegman's team.

White is England's all-time leading goalscorer, netting 50 times in 108 international appearances since her 2010 debut.

She finished as the joint-top goalscorer as England reached the 2019 Women's World Cup final, matching United States duo Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan with six strikes and taking the Bronze Boot, but has struggled on the domestic front recently.

White only netted four goals in 22 WSL appearances for third-placed Manchester City in the 2021-22 season and spurned several decent openings in England's 1-0 win over Austria on Wednesday.

She registered four shots totalling 0.49 expected goals in the Lionesses' Old Trafford opener, both match-high figures, but failed to find the net.

Yet White was bullish when asked whether her lack of goals was affecting her, telling a media conference: "No, I'm excited to be part of this England team.

"We've got some great talent, competition, and I'm loving every minute of playing for this team.

"Ultimately, my job is to score goals, of course. We've got some great wingers in this team and midfielders, backline, everyone. 

"I've got to be in the right place at the right time and hopefully, all the training I've done, [I] will help the team any way I can.

"I think there's always pressure to keep that number nine role. We've got some phenomenal talent, and it's super competitive, and I think that's really healthy, throughout the whole squad really.

"I think that's an amazing part of this team. We have 23 players that are so talented, and every single day in training it's super competitive and pushing each other and wanting each other to do well. I think it's a good headache for Sarina.

"She's super supportive and really helped with movement in and around the box, and the vision – she's been amazing on that front."

England take on Norway at Brighton and Hove Albion's AMEX Stadium on Monday and could clinch a spot in the knockout stages with a win, depending on the result of Northern Ireland's clash with Austria.

Meanwhile, White also offered her take on the team's request to Nike to change the colour of their white shorts due to concerns over players' periods, highlighting the importance of such conversations taking place in public.

"I think it's a really great conversation to have," she said. "We play football, we are on our periods, and definitely there has been feedback with Nike about the kit. 

"Our kit is lovely, but at times, when you are on your period, you do worry a little bit about that.

"It's important we are talking about it and made aware of what we can do to help support women when they are on their periods. It's a great conversation and one we need to continue to have really."

England star Lucy Bronze has called time on her Manchester City career after a second stint with the Women's Super League outfit.

Bronze, who won FIFA's The Best Women's Player Award in 2020, is set for a crucial role with her country when England host the European Championship in July.

The Telegraph reported last week that 30-year-old Bronze has received offers from clubs in the United States and is considering a move to a team on the west coast.

She has been spending time in California this week, according to pictures posted on her Instagram account.

City said in a statement on Thursday: "Manchester City can confirm that defender Lucy Bronze will depart the club at the end of her current contract this summer.

"The defender will bring the curtain down on her second spell at the Academy Stadium and five years altogether in sky blue next month, having made 111 appearances and scored 14 goals."

Bronze has been a league and Women's FA Cup winner with City, but her greatest run of success came in a three-year spell at Lyon, where she helped the French giants land the Champions League three times.

Scotland midfielder Caroline Weir is also leaving City, the club said this week, while versatile forward Georgia Stanway has agreed to join Bayern Munich.

Chelsea have been crowned champions of the Women's Super League after beating Manchester United, edging out nearest challengers Arsenal.

Emma Hayes' side went into the final day of the season top of the table, a point ahead of the Gunners and knowing that a win would seal their third consecutive league title.

There were nerves at Kingsmeadow on Sunday after goals from Martha Thomas and Ella Toone either side of Erin Cuthbert's equaliser had given United a 2-1 lead at half-time.

However, two goals from the Football Writers' Association's women's player of the year Sam Kerr and another from Guro Reiten in the second half sealed a 4-2 victory, clinching the title for the Blues.

Kerr's second was an appropriately stunning effort for the occasion, with the Australian lobbing United goalkeeper Mary Earps with a turn and volley from almost 30-yards to make sure of victory.

Arsenal did their bit by winning 2-0 away at West Ham, but it was not enough for Jonas Eidevall and his team.

United's defeat and Manchester City's 4-0 win at Reading also meant the latter finishing third ahead of the Red Devils, sealing the final Women's Champions League spot.

Reggae Girl Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw was one of two Manchester City players who have been shortlisted for April's FA Women’s Super League Player of the Month Award.

Reggae Girlz striker Khadija Shaw scored four goals to help Manchester City Women secure a 7-2 hammering of Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Women’s Super League at the Manchester City Academy Stadium on Saturday.

Shaw, who now has eight goals in 15 matches this season in the WSL, scored her goals in the 3rd, 12th, 57th and 61st minutes to help her Manchester City team move to third in the table with 41 points from 20 matches.

“The team looks to me to score goals so to get four today is an unbelievable feeling,” Shaw said in a post-match interview.

The other City goals came from Caroline Weir in the 16th, Alex Greenwood in the 68th and Lauren Hemp in the 69th minute.

Chelsea currently leads the WSL with 50 points from 20 matches followed by Arsenal with 46 points from 19 matches.

Jamaican striker Khadija Shaw scored her fourth goal of the season to help Manchester City Women secure a 2-0 win over West Ham Women in the FA Women’s Super League (WSL) on Saturday at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.

Shaw scored in the 63rd minute after England international Georgia Stanway opened the scoring in the eighth minute.

After the result, Shaw’s Manchester City Women find themselves fourth in the WSL table with 35 points from 18 matches, the same as Manchester United Women who are ahead of them in third on goal difference.

Chelsea Women lead the league with 41 points from 17 matches while Arsenal Women lie second with 40 points from 17 outings.

Shaw will next be in action for the Reggae Girlz on April 9th and 12th when they take on the Cayman Islands and the Dominican Republic in CONCACAF Women’s Championship Qualifying.

Jamaica Reggae Girl, Khadija Shaw, didn’t find the back of the net but Manchester City Women ended the streak of Chelsea Women to claim the Women's League Cup on Saturday.

The win was the first in three years for the sky blues who had to come from behind to claim the title.  Chelsea took the lead through Sam Kerr in the first half, but a furious rally from the Citizens in the second turned the game on its head.   After the interval Caroline Weir arrived late in the box with a tidy put away to pull the team’s level.

Nine minutes later, the travelling City fans, although fewer in number, had cause to celebrate again as Ellen White turned in the second from close range.

Weir put the match out of reach with another fine finish which flew into the top corner.  The trophy was the team’s first since they won the FA Cup in 2020.  The win also represented the first in four attempts against Chelsea this season, after losing both league meetings and a rescheduled 2021 FA Cup semi-final in October.

 

Khadijah Shaw got a belated birthday president on Thursday when she scored in Manchester City Women’s 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur to secure a place in the final of the WSL Continental Cup where they will face champions, Chelsea.

In the semi-final encounter played at the Academy Stadium Jess Park put City up 1-0 in the 21st minute before Shaw doubled the lead in the 27th after she tapped into an empty net after Caroline Weir’s shot took a deflection following a terrific run from Lauren Hemp.

Shaw, who celebrated her 25th birthday on Monday, January 31, actually had a chance to open the scoring when she surged into the box early in the game but she shot past goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer but wide of the far post.

Hemp sealed the victory in the 71st minute to send City into the final set for March 5.

 

England star Georgia Stanway became Manchester City's record scorer at the age of 23 as she came off the bench to hit a hat-trick in an 8-0 Women's FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest.

Stanway, who played for Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics, has played in a wide range of positions during her City career and opened her goals account as a 16-year-old in 2015.

The attack-minded former PFA Women's Young Player of the Year showed her quality after Gareth Taylor introduced her for the second half against third-tier outfit Forest, who staged the visit of the Women's Super League giants at the City Ground.

Stanway's first strike in the 50th minute moved her level with fellow England star Nikita Parris' total of 62 goals for City, before she took the record outright in the 71st minute. Barrow-born Stanway netted again in stoppage time, rounding off the scoring as City strode through to the fifth round.

City boss Taylor said afterwards: "I’m so pleased for her because she's showing real hot form at the moment, and she's been great to work with, particularly her attitude and application to try new positions and affect the play wherever she plays. I'm really delighted for her today."

Ellen White rescued Manchester City in a fierce derby as the England striker hit a landmark goal to secure a 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

Staring at a fourth successive defeat in the Women's Super League, City trailed and were down to 10 players after Georgia Stanway's red card.

But White was on hand to slot in her first goal of the season after 79 minutes, when Jess Park's thumping strike was pushed against the crossbar by Mary Earps.

The tap-in means White has now scored against all 17 clubs she has faced in the WSL, netting against more different sides in the league than any other player.

She has previously played for Arsenal, Notts County and Birmingham in the competition, which began in 2011.

This season's WSL title is already probably beyond City, the 2016 champions, and they entered Saturday's derby six points behind United after just four matches of the 22-game campaign. Injuries to the likes of FIFA Best Women's Player winner Lucy Bronze and Steph Houghton have left their ranks depleted, and both were absent again.

Stanway was dismissed after 35 minutes when her dangerously high boot caught Leah Galton high on the thigh in midfield, but City snatched the lead three minutes later when Khadija Shaw headed in a cross from the left by Demi Stokes.

City's run of three defeats was their worst in the WSL, and a fourth was on the cards when Lucy Staniforth's backheeled flick for a 72nd-minute equaliser was followed by Alessia Russo firing hosts United ahead.

At that stage, United were on course for their first win over City in the WSL, having previously managed just one point from three games.

The tussle at Leigh Sports Village had another twist in store though, and White, who had replaced Shaw just before the hour mark, showed her poacher's instinct to tuck away the loose ball after Earps saved from Park.

 

City star Lauren Hemp told the BBC: "The fight and determination throughout the whole game was top drawer. I'm so proud of how we've turned it around this week. It just shows how together the team is and hopefully this will be the turning point.

"We showed the quality this team has and that we deserved to put on a show. That's what you want in Manchester derbies, and we did it justice. I'm so proud of the team."

City boss Gareth Taylor wanted a win but said: "It was a roller coaster and when you're potentially staring at a loss at 2-1 down, I think you have to say reluctantly it's a fair point."

Kevin De Bruyne has retained the men's PFA Players' Player of the Year award, matching the achievement of Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry.

Belgium star De Bruyne saw off competition from Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes, Tottenham's Harry Kane and three of his Manchester City team-mates – Ilkay Gundogan, Ruben Dias and Phil Foden, who scooped the Young Player of the Year accolade.

Foden had been nominated for the young player prize alongside fellow England internationals Declan Rice, Mason Mount, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bukayo Saka and Mason Greenwood.

De Bruyne's win in voting for the Professional Footballers' Association main prize sees him match Ronaldo and Henry, greats from United and Arsenal who are the only previous players to have won the award in back-to-back seasons.

"The fact that the players chose me for this award means that I've done really well. You want to win all the trophies with the team, and this is probably the most important one as an individual trophy in the league," De Bruyne said.

"To be voted for by your competitors... that means a lot.

"When you have these things, you can show your kids and say, 'Look! This is what Daddy did when he was younger.'"

Only three Premier League players created more chances in the competition in 2020-21 than De Bruyne (80) – Fernandes (95), Mount (87) and Jack Grealish (81) – though all of them made more appearances than the 29-year-old.

De Bruyne crafted 19 big chances – defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player would reasonably be expected to score – with only Fernandes (20) managing a higher total.

The City playmaker scored six goals and created a further 12 in the Premier League. In that regard, he was below his expected goals estimation (9.26), but some way above his expected assists of 6.21. Ten of his assists came from passes in open play, with two from set-pieces.

On average, De Bruyne created 3.6 chances per 90 minutes, more than any of those who made the PFA's final list.

 

Foden, meanwhile, made fewer league appearances than any of his competitors for the Young Player of the Year award, and also tallied the fewest minutes (1,613).

However, his nine goals put him two ahead of the haul that Greenwood – his nearest challenger in that regard – managed, with his five assists second only to Alexander-Arnold.

Indeed, when calculated per 90 minutes, Foden averaged 0.5 goals and 0.28 assists, ranking him top among those in the frame for the award, while he also attempted more dribbles (4.18) with the highest success rate (2.83).

Another City player to scoop an award was Lauren Hemp, who took the women's Young Player of the Year prize.

Chelsea and England forward Fran Kirby won the women's Players' Player of the Year award after a prolific campaign for Emma Hayes' side in the WSL and Women's Champions League.

Saturday had seen more awards sent City's way, with Pep Guardiola named the Premier League's Manager of the Season winner, while Ruben Dias took the league's own Player of the Season prize.

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