A positive start for England’s women both in the World Netball Championships and FIFA Womens World Cup have raised the prospect of a double celebration for these under-celebrated sports. In a summer not dominated by mens football and the disappointment of last years last 16 knockout, the womens team have gone one better by qualifying for the quarter finals, while England Netball’s positive start suggests they could rival the main favourites in Singapore this time round.
Hope Powell’s women started their group slowly with a tough draw against Mexico then a nervy win over New Zealand, but then a shock win over world ranked no 4 side Japan to top their group. Wearing the cricket style England football shirt, which is soon to be replaced by Umbro, the three lions now need to beat France to reach the final 4 and would then be among the favourites to win the world cup for the first time.
Elsewhere in Singapore, England Netball showed off their new red and white netball dress for the group games of the World Netball Championships, getting high scoring wins against opponents Malawi, Barbados and Malaysia. While winning the group is expected of England they are showing the kind of form that could see them upset the odds against tournament favourites Australia and New Zealand.
Our sporting stories all to often involve a great deal of build up and disappointment – See last weeks showing at Wimbledon – but perhaps the early promise and general lack of media hype around these sports can help our teams to concentrate on some great success stories.