As the calendar year comes to a close, FIFA completes their final international matches. NWSL international players took part in 2021 European Championship and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers. Also China PR hosted the Yongchuan International Women’s Football Tournament and several other friendlies took place with NWSL players. Some players have changed NWSL sides, been released or will pursue other opportunities.
2021 Euro Qualifiers and Friendlies
Scotland traveled to Albania for their only qualifier of the break. Orlando Pride forward Claire Emslie opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Emslie’s goal turned out to be the match-winner as Scotland cruised to a 5-0 win. Utah Royals FC defender Rachel Corsie logged a full 90 minutes serving as captain. Scotland held firm in second position, four points behind Finland with two games at hand in Group E.
Republic of Ireland
North Carolina Courage midfielder Denise O’Sullivan played a full 90 minutes in a match against Greece. Ireland held a slim 1-0 lead until Greece scored the equalizer into the final minutes of injury time. The draw left Ireland in second position in Group I, five points behind Germany with a game at hand. Greece pull within 3 points of Ireland from a win and the draw.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sky Blue FC backup goalkeeper Didi Haračić traveled to Israel with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Haračić got off to a rocky start allowing a goal in the third minute but three unanswered goals completed the 3-1 comeback. Bosnia and Herzegovina stay in third position in Group B due to wins by Italy and Denmark.
Switzerland have got off to a perfect start in 2021 Euro qualifying. Having not conceded a goal in Group H, Switzerland are tied with Belgium for top spot. Portland Thorns FC forward Ana Crnogorčivić contributed with a penalty kick goal in the 65th minute against Romania. The goal was Switzerland’s third of the match resulting in a 6-0 final score. Belgium beat Lithuania to stay even on points with Switzerland to top the group. Crnogorčivić’s contract was not picked up by Portland and was put on waivers.
In front of a record crowd of 77,768 at Wembley Stadium, England hosted Germany in their first friendly of the break. Reign FC Jodie Taylor and Houston Dash Rachel Daly started on the bench and were substituted in the 73rd minute. Germany would ultimately take the lead on a 90th minute goal and earn a 2-1 victory. Three days later England would travel to Czech Republic for their second friendly. Taylor would not make the trip to Czech Republic due to injury. Again Daly started on the bench then would be subbed on in the 76th minute. England claimed the 3-2 victory on a snowy night.
2020 Tokyo Olympic Qualifiers
Cameroon - Africa
Defender Estelle Johnson of Sky Blue FC returned to Cameroon’s squad for a two-legged Olympic qualifier against Ivory Coast. Johnson would play all 90 minutes of both matches. The first match in Ivory Coast ended in a scoreless draw. Cameroon scored on a late penalty kick in the second leg to earn a 2-1 aggregate scoreline and advance to the CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament final. Cameroon will face Zambia in a two-legged final where the aggregate winner advances to next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo. The runner-up must face Chile in a two-legged playoff to qualify for the Olympics.
Yongchuan International Women’s Football Tournament
Brazil vs Canada
Orlando Pride forward Marta and North Carolina Courage midfielder Debinha got starts for Brazil. Captain Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC), Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride), Rebecca Quinn (Reign FC), Sophie Schmidt (Houston Dash) and Lindsey Agnew (Houston Dash) got starts for Canada. Brazil would take this match 4-0 with Marta contributing an assist. Portland Thorns FC midfielder, Andressinha would be substituted for Debinah at halftime. Sinclair was replaced at halftime while Houston Dash forward Nichelle Prince made her return from injury at the 59th minute.
China PR vs New Zealand
New Zealand Football Ferns were shutout by host China PR by a 2-0 scoreline. Defender Katie Bowman of Utah Royals FC and Reign FC Rosie White got starts for New Zealand. Both would be substituted out in the second half. White came out in the 63rd minute while Bowman in the 70th minute.
Canada vs New Zealand (3rd place match)
Canada would bounce back to take the third place match 3-0. Sinclair opened the scoring on a 35th minute header and is two goals away from breaking Abby Wambach’s international goal scoring record. Sinclair would be substituted out in the 83rd minute. Stephanie Labbé (North Carolina Courage) and Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash) got starts while Zadorsky and Schmidt got starts as well. Chapman and Zadorsky were replaced at halftime. Prince came on in the 42nd minute and Agnew came in late at the 83rd minute. Labbé recorded her eighth clean sheet of the calendar year to tie a Canadian Women’s National team record.
China PR vs Brazil (Final)
Marta and Debinha would get the start in the tournament final. Andressinha was substituted late in the match. The match would end scoreless and went straight to penalty kicks. China PR had a 4-2 lead on Brazil’s fourth penalty kick when Andressinha missed the net giving China PR the win. Marta and Debinha were not chosen on the in the shoot-out.
Australia vs Chile
Sam Kerr, formerly with the Chicago Red Stars now with Chelsea FC Women, lead the Westfield Matildas against Chile in two friendly matches. The first was held in Sydney on November 9 and the second in Adelaide on November 12. Lydia Williams (Reign FC), Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns FC), Claire Polkinghorne (Houston Dash), Steph Catley (Reign FC), Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride), Chloe Logarzo (Washington Spirit), Caitlin Foord (Portland Thorns FC) and Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC) all got the start for Australia. Kerr would score both goals in the 2-1 win. Amy Harrison of the Washington Spirit replaced van Egmond in the 69th minute. Raso collected a yellow card in the 71st minute and was replaced shortly after in the 75th minute.
In the second match, Kerr picked up an assist in the 23rd minute which proved to be the match winner. Alanna Kennedy of the Orlando Pride made her return to the starting XI after serving a red card suspension in the Women's World Cup. Williams, Carpenter, Polkinghorne, Catley, Logarzo, Harrison and Foord all got their second start. Polkinghorne was substituted out at halftime. Raso got to see the pitch in the 63rd minute while Harrison was replaced by van Egmond in the 65th minute. Kennedy was replaced after limping off in the 76th minute due to kicking a Chilean player on her follow through. Logarzo would earn a yellow card in the 19th minute. Williams made a great save off a free kick header in the box that held Chile off the board, earning a clean sheet.
Sky Blue FC midfielder Raquel Rodriguez was called-up for a friendly against the United States Women's National team in Jacksonville, Florida. The USWNT dominated the matching winning 6-0. Rodriguez logged 87 minutes before being replaced. Costa Rica recently qualified and are in Group A of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.