Why England’s Lionesses won’t be competing at the 2024 Olympics as Team GB
Despite England’s Lionesses beating Scotland 6-0 in the Women’s Nations League last night (5 December), Team GB’s women’s football team will not be competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
England’s Lionesses were the UK’s nominated side to play under the Team GB banner at the 2024 Olympics, because Sarina Wiegman’s squad is ranked higher than the other home nations: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Usually, Olympic qualification for European women’s football teams is decided using the World Cup, with the best-placed squads earning a spot.
This year, however, European qualification is via the inaugural Women’s Nations League, with the two finalists in the tournament going on to play at the Games.
The Olympic host nation, in this case, France, automatically have a place, but because they won their group, the third-best team also qualifies.
The Lionesses suffered heartbreak despite their win at Hampden Park, in Scotland, narrowly missing out on qualification after Dutch midfielder Damaris Egurrola scored two injury-time goals – including one in the 95th minute – to beat Belgium 4-0 and finish top of League A Group 1 on goal difference.
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Wiegman, who would have coached Team GB at the Olympics, felt the squad had “delivered” despite the heartache.
The manager added: “The team showed lots of character, we started really well. I thought when Lucy [Bronze] scored [England’s sixth goal in the 91st minute], ‘we’re going to get this’. Then The Netherlands scored, that’s how close it was.
“I was really proud of the performance, but we’re not through and it’s very disappointing.”
England’s failure is a major blow to Team GB after they won the 2022 Euros and reached the final of the World Cup in the summer. It also comes as a blow to LGBTQ+ representation in Team GB during next summer’s Olympics, with several out and proud LGBTQ+ Lionesses now set to stay home.
The Netherlands now go into February’s semi-finals along with the other group winners, Spain and Germany, as well as France.
Team GB women’s football squad has previously competed at the 2012 Olympics in London and 2020 Olympics in Japan, both times reaching the quarter-finals.
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