Prince William has been called out over a decision to skip the World Cup final – the first in history by England’s women.
Prince William and Rishi Sunak have scored an own goal by deciding to skip the women’s World Cup final.
The Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister are to miss the match in Sydney, Australia, despite it being the Lionesses’ first appearance in the final.
William sent an apology to coach Sarina Wiegman and her team ahead of tonight’s showdown with Spain, sitting alongside daughter Charlotte, while confirming they would not be attending.
“Lionesses, I want to send you a huge good luck for tomorrow,” he told them.
“We’re sorry we can’t be there in person but we’re so proud of everything you have achieved and the millions you’ve inspired here and around the world. So go out there tomorrow and really enjoy yourselves.”
A smiling Charlotte then added: “Good luck, Lionesses!”
Fans were quick to point out the poor look for William, who is the president of the Football Association.
“Get on a plane to Australia asap, YRH – you would if the men’s team reached a World Cup Final… so why not for the women?” asked broadcaster Piers Morgan.
THE HATED AND THE FETED: WORLD CUP FINAL’S TALE OF TWO COACHES
By Jamie Pandaram
There could not be more contrasting paths to the World Cup final for Spain and England, whose coaches are viewed at opposite ends of the spectrum yet on the cusp of glory.
Sarina Wiegman, in charge of the Lionesses, is so feted that she is now being considered as the first woman to coach the England men’s team when Gareth Southgate steps down from the role.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Jorge Vilda was the subject of a player mutiny and is viewed as a pariah by many Spanish stars and fans.
Complaints from players last September included that they were not allowed to close their hotel room doors until midnight, and had their bags searched by staff.
Fifteen players wrote a confidential letter of complaint to the Royal Spanish Football Association citing a lack of professionalism and health concerns.
Instead of addressing these concerns, the Federation castigated the players and publicly backed Vilda, this revealing the drama within the camp.
The 15 players were Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentey, Ona Batlle, Patri Guijarro, Mapi Leon, Sandra Panos, Claudia Pina, Lola Gallardo, Ainhoa Moraza, Nerea Eizagirre, Amaiur Sarriegi, Lucia Garcia, Leila Ouahabi, Laia Aleixandri and Andrea Pereira. Three other players, Alexia Putellas, Jennifer Hermoso, and captain Irene Paredes, didn’t send emails but supported their teammates.
Only eight of the 15 players who complained made themselves available for the World Cup team. Three made the final cut – Bonmati, Caldentey, and Batlle – along with Putellas, Hermoso and Paredes.
“The support of Luis Rubiales, the president of the federation, and everyone at the federation, means so much and will always stay with me, as well as that of my family because they have suffered this year,” Vilda said after his team’s 2-1 semi-final win over Sweden.
“At the end of the day it has been a learning process, and I think it has made all of us stronger.
“Now we can file it away and put it behind us and think about the future, and think that we deserve to be where we are.
“Everyone involved in Spanish football deserves this, all those who have been working so hard for so many years, from the players to the clubs and to the federation.
“I am proud of the team, we are so happy, but we have a final ahead of us still.”
Players have been openly hostile towards Vilda throughout the campaign.
Despite the internal ructions, and despite their shock 4-0 loss to Japan in the pool stages, Spain has made its first decider in the Women’s World Cup.
Waiting on the other side is England and their beloved Wiegman – who was the last woman coach left in the semi-finals.
Wiegman’s tactics have been brilliant this far, seeing England win all their matches and knock over hosts Australia last Wednesday with a physical possession-based game and sharp counter-attack.
She has already taken the Lionesses to triumph in last year’s European Championship, and is on the cusp of becoming the first England manager to win a World Cup since Alf Ramsey won the men’s tournament in 1966.
It’s no wonder English Football Association chief executive, Mark Bullingham, revealed this week that Wiegman is being considered to coach the men’s team next.
“People always say it is the best man for the job or the best Englishman,” Bullingham said. “Why does it have to be a man?
“I think our answer is always: ‘It’s the best person for the job.’ We think Sarina is doing a great job and hope she continues doing it for a long time. I think Sarina could do anything she wants in football.
“It’s the best person for the job, if that best person is a woman, then why not? You analyse the pool for any job at that particular time and do I think there’s a really strong diverse pool of both men and women for any big national job? No, I think the talent pool is small for both actually. But I don’t like the mindset that it has to be a man.”
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