News and Views
Fran Kirby Wins Bronze At Women's World Cup 2015
07 July 2015
By Alex Bower
One month ago the Women's World Cup kicked off in Canada with our hopes resting on an England team ranked 6th in the world. Fifty-two matches later and the competition has come to an end, with England finishing third overall and as the top European side at the competition. It has been a performance that has surprised many around the world, but also one that has excited a nation.
Viewers have stayed up in their millions to cheer on the "Lionesses" throughout the World Cup and in the process the players have helped to inspire the country. England's third-place finish is the best World Cup performance by a senior England side since 1966, an achievement for everyone involved to be immensely thrilled about.
From a Reading perspective, one person to be especially proud of is Fran Kirby. The 22-year-old striker, who celebrated her birthday whilst on England duty, featured on several occasions for her country and helped them progress through the tournament.
Of the seven matches England played at the World Cup, Kirby featured in four of them and played a total of 232 minutes. Kirby made an appearance as a substitute against France in England's opening match and went on to start against Mexico, Colombia and Norway. It was against Mexico, however, that she really made a name for herself.
In her first start of the tournament, and her first ever world finals start, Kirby threatened from the off with her pace and dribbling skills. It was in the second half, however, that she made a lasting impact on the game and got the breakthrough in the seventieth minute. When the ball came to Kirby outside the box, she took on four Mexican players before slotting the ball past the keeper and into the net off the post. England's number 22 displayed a huge amount of composure to cut inside her opponent before placing her shot perfectly.
England went on to win the game 2-1, with a latter England goal coming from Karen Carney. It was Kirby who took the plaudits at the end of the match, as she was rewarded for her efforts with the Live Your Goals Player of the Match award and the title of "Mini Messi" from coach Mark Sampson. As the only player in the England squad from the second tier of the Women's Super League, Kirby demonstrated what a talented individual she was on the world stage on every given opportunity.
Kirby has now returned to England as part of a team that has made history, with a third-place medal and Player of the Match award in tow. If rumours are to be believed, Kirby's recent performances have impressed and drawn the attention of Chelsea Ladies who are working on a deal to sign the England star. As one of the biggest teams in English football in this country, and current WSL 1 leaders, it may be too much to turn down should it come to fruition.
Her focus for now, however, will be back with the Reading FC Women squad who are currently top of the league and whose season restarts on Saturday. The Royals take on Durham at Farnborough FC on Saturday 11th July so if you can make it, it would be great to have a large crowd there in support of our Royals and the women's game as a whole.
NEXT GAME: Reading FC Women v Durham- Saturday 11th July. Kick-Off 6pm at Farnborough FC.
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