The Week in Women's Football: Annual review of UEFA Champions League qualifying group stage – Part Two

This week, we present part 2 of our annual review of the Qualifying Group Stage of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. This week, we look at 7 of the 15 groups from the first-round last month (Groups 9-11 from the Champions Path and Groups 1-4 from the League Path), including results and a roster review—particularly for those teams eliminated—and some interesting team and player news. (See Part 1 of our review from last week: The Week in Women’s Football: Annual review of UEFA Champions League qualifying group stage – Tribal Football).

2022-23 UEFA Women’s Champions League Round 1—Part 2

Champions Path

Group 9

Semifinals

Dinamo-BSUPC (BLR) 5 vs Lokomotiv Stara Zagora (BUL) 0 DEBUTANTS

St. Pölten (AUT) 7 vs Ljuboten (MKD) HOSTS 0 DEBUTANTS

Third Place Game

Lokomotiv Stara Zagora (BUL) 5 vs Ljuboten (MKD) 1

Group Final

St. Polten (AUT) 3 vs. Dinamo BSUPC (BLR) 0

In the group stage semifinal on August 18, Isabelle Meyer (34—who was capped by Switzerland at the full level from 2010-2012, has played in Germany for years and won the last two Austrian titles with St. Polten) and Lainie Fuchs (18—a current Austrian international who has played full internationals in World Cup Qualifying both last year and this year) both scored braces in St Polten’s 7-0 win over host side Ljoboten of North Macedonia.

Dinamo, in their 5-0 win over Lokomotiv Stara Zagora in the other semifinal, was led with braces from Belarusian international midfielder Viktoria Valyuk (20), who has played with three sides in the Premier League Women in Belarus and has scored 21 goals in 17 games this season—fourth in the league—and Anna Pilipenko (33), who has also played with Russian sides and has 10 goals in 15 matches this season for Dinamo in the regular season.

In the third-place match on August 21, veteran Romanian international striker Laura Rus led Lokomotive in their 5-1 win with a brace. Rus has played for clubs in Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Iceland (in 2021 with Tindastoll), Korean Republic, Italy, Spain and now Bulgaria.

In the Group Final on August 21, former Austrian U-19 international Melanie Brunnthaler (21) scored a brace in St. Polten’s 3-0 win over Dinamo of Belarus. Over the first stage weekend, St. Polten’s two German goalkeepers, Luisa Palmen (20 and Carina Schluter (25)—the latter who joined this summer from Red Bull Leipzig—each had a shutout.

Dinamo BSUPC of Belarus had only one Eastern European import this season—Ekaterina Ulasevich of Russia—in her second season at the club after a spell at Neman in Belarus; she played for years at home with a variety of clubs in the Russian league and had a spell in Turkey. Belarus sides typically always brings in imports from Africa and Dinamo kept their same four from last year:

  • D Claudia Dabda (21) Cameroon, who is in her third year with the Belarus club and had 5 goals last season in 24 Belarus Premier League Women’s games; this season she has 1 goal in 12 games. She was capped at the U-17 level.
  • D Lebohang Ramalepe (30) South Africa; she played in the 2019 WWC in France and has two goals in 11 games this season in the Belarus league.
  • M Colette Ndzana Fegue (22) Cameroon, who is a full international who played with her country in the Olympic Games Intercontinental Playoffs against Chile last year. She has two goals in 12 games in the Belarus League this season.
  • M Nadege Cisse (25) Ivory Coast; a full international who played in her country’s Women’s World Cup debut in 2015 in Canada and has been with Minsk from 2018-2020 before joining Dinamo this season. She has 3 goals in 13 league matches this season.

WCL debutants in 2021-22 Lokomotiv Stara Zagora of Bulgaria had five players from Ukraine, two from Romania and one each from Moldova, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus; the latter two are forward Maria Baska (21) from Greece, who played at Omonoia FC in Cyprus last season and before that at Akadimia Elpides Karditsas in Thessalia, Greece, and Cyprian international forward Marinella Panayiotou (26).

North Macedonia champions Ljuboten also qualified for the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the first time and had two Serbians on the WCL roster:

  • Angejela Milovanovic (23)
  • Sanja Ratkovic (26)

Ljuboten also had three imports from Brazil:

  • Defender Maysa Delgado (27)
  • Forward Priscila Edite Silva (24), who joined Ljuboten after a year with Bahia at home
  • Forward Tcheury (28), who won a Copa Libertadores Femenine in 2017 with Audax of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Group 10

Semifinals

Breznica Pljevlja (MNE) HOSTS 2 vs Spartak Myjava (SVK) 3 DEBUTANTS

Bye to final: Vllaznia (ALB)

Third Place Game

None

Group Final

Vllaznia (ALB) 1 vs Spartak Myjava (SVK) 0

Breznica of Montenegro had a 2-0 lead at the 20th minute mark but debutants Spartak Myjava of Slovakia fought back for a 3-2 win, with 18-year-old Laura Retkesova—a Slovakian U-19 international—scoring twice, with her second goal being the winner with five minutes to play.

In the Final on August 21, Kosovo youth international Jehona Hala (21) scored just before the half time break to send the Albanians onto the second stage. Vllaznia has been in the Women’s Champions League every season since 2011-12 (except for 2018-19) and in 11 campaigns have made the Round of 32 only once in 2019-20. This is the second consecutive season that they have made the second round and they have a chance to make history if they should advance to the round of 16 next month.

Breznica Pljevlja had a roster entirely with players from Montenegro except for three imports from Serbia.

Spartak Myjava used an all-Slovakian side except for two imports from the Czech Republic.

Group 11

Semifinals

Brann (NOR) 1 DEBUTANTS vs ALG Spor 0 (TUR)

Bye to final: Spartak Subotica (SRB) HOSTS

Third Place Game

None

Group Final

Spartak Subotica (SRB) 1 vs. Brann (NOR) 3

As we saw in Group 1 in the Shelbourne versus host side Pomurje (see last week’s column: The Week in Women’s Football: Annual review of UEFA Champions League qualifying group stage – Tribal Football), where a fourth minute goal was all Shels needed to advance to the Final, Brann received a fourth minute goal from Maria Brochmann (29) of Norway and that was all the only scoring they required against ALG Spor (1-0) in a successful first ever WCL match. Brann was previously known as Sandviken until the 2021 season.

In the Final on August 21, Rakel Engesvik (23), who has 5 goals in 17 league matches this season in her third season with Brann/Sandviken, and Australian international Tameka Yallop (21) scored four minutes apart to put the Norwegians up 2-0 by the 25th minute. In the 55th minute, Brochmann extended the lead to 3-0 before Serbian international forward Tijana Filipovic (23) pulled one back for Spartak, but that 3-1 scoreline held up until the end of the match.

ALG Spor of Turkey had a number of imports, particularly from Africa:

  • Defender Glory Adumbu Ogbonna (23) Nigeria
  • Midfielder Rose Bella (28) Cameroon
  • Midfielder Marlene Yav Kasaj (19) Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Forward Ruth Kipoyi (24) Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Forward Mariem Houji (28) Tunisia, who played with her country in the 2022 WAFCON this summer.

Others imports included:

  • Midfielder Rosa Mino Martinez (23) Paraguay, who was with the side as this summer’s Copa America Femenine, and has played her club ball primarily in Brazil and Portugal before her move to Turkey, where she is in her second year at ALG.
  • Goalkeeper Jovana Petrovic (20) Serbia

Spartak Subotica of Serbia had two forwards from Ghana—both returnees from last season and three Americans—who were all new changes from their three Americans for last year’s WCL:

  • Defender Jessika Cowart (22) was born in the U.S., played at the University of Washington in Seattle but plays internationally with Philippines, who qualified earlier this year for the 2023 WWC; she has played for the California Storm in the WPSL and Caykur Rizespor of the Turkish Women’s Football Super League.
  • Midfielder Sydney Staier (23), ex-University of Maryland.
  • Midfielder Jelena Sever (22), ex-University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

For their duo from Ghana, Sandra Owusu-Ansah has played in the 2014 and 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups for her country as well as at the 2018 U-20 Finals in France. She transferred to Spartak from Supreme Ladies in Kumasi for this season. Midfielder Alice Kusi (27) has been capped by the full Ghana national team and played at the U-20 WWC finals in 2014.

League path:

Group 1

Semifinals

Paris FC (FRA) 3 vs Servette FCCF (SUI) 0

Glasgow City (SCO) HOSTS 1 vs Roma (ITA) DEBUTANTS 3

Third Place Game

Glasgow City (SCO) 0 vs. Servette FCCF (SUI) 1

Group Final

Paris FC (FRA) 0 vs. Roma (ITA) 0 (4-5 on penalties)

On August 18, Roma provided all the scoring in their 3-1 win over Glasgow City, including an old goal for the Scottish side, and a brace from Italian international forward Benedetta Glionna (22), who scored 5 goals in 18 matches last season—her first at Roma after moving from Empoli, where she scored 10 goals in 18 matches in 2020/21.

Also, in the Group semifinal on August 18, Clara Mateo (24) scored twice and Servette put the ball through their own net in Paris FC’s 3-0 victory. A full international for France, Mateo is in her sixth season at the club and scored 11 goals in 22 games last season and 13 in the same number of games in 2020/21.

In the third-place match, for the second WCL season in a row, Servette defeated Glasgow City. Last year Servette defeated City (3-2 on aggregate) in the Second Qualifying Stage, but in this year’s third place match, new signing Maria Korhonen (24) of Sweden scored for the Geneva side in the 92nd minute for the winner (1-0). She scored 21 goals in 23 matches for Aland United during the 2021 season, who Servette also defeated in the 2021-22 WCL (1-0) in Finland in the First Round Final.

In the Final on August 21, Roma advanced to the next round over Paris FC, after a 0-0 tie, on penalties (5-4).

Paris FC previously entered the UEFA regional club championship as Juvisy, reaching the 2012/13 semi-finals. Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie (21) of Nigeria is in her third season with the club and was on Nigeria’s WAFCON squad this summer, won the regional title in 2018 and played in the U-20 WWC in 2018 and U-17 WWC in 2016 as well at the 2019 WWC in France.

Paris FC had two Swiss midfielders on their WCL roster:

  • Eseosa Aigbogun (29), starting her fifth season with the club and who came from Turbine Potsdam
  • Coumba Sow (27), who is in her fourth season at the club and won 5 titles at home in Switzerland

Paris’ offense is led by long-time French international stars Gaetane Thiney (36), who had 2 goals in 13 matches (1 in the playoffs) with NJ/NY Gotham FC in 2021 and then 3 goals in 11 matches for Paris FC last season, and Ouleymata Sarr (26), who had 8 goals in 17 regular season matches last season.

The head coach at Paris FC is Sandrine Soubeyrane (48), who coached the French national team U-17 side before joining the club in 2018 and won two leagues title with Juvisy (now Paris FC) as a player and had 18 goals in 198 internationals for France as a player.

Servette had 16 imports on their 2022-23 WCL squad list, including five from France, three from Portugal, three from Spain, two from Italy and one each from Sweden and Chile—defender Laura Aros (17)—and Spanish born but Polish youth and senior international forward Natalia Padilla-Bidas (19). Portugal’s international goalkeeper Ines Pereira (23) played at this summer’s Women’s EURO in England is still an incredibly strong force at the back for Servette, as she was last season when Servette made the Group of 16 round in the Women’s Champions League.

Glasgow City’s ten imports included:

  • Defender Claire Walsh (27) Republic of Ireland
  • Defender Meikayla Moore (26) New Zealand
  • Defender Erin Greening (25) U.S.
  • Midfielder Dilan Bora (20) Turkey
  • Midfielder Kinga Kozak (19) Poland
  • Midfielder Peyton Perea (25) U.S.
  • Forward Monica Monsivais (34) Mexico
  • Forward Clare Shine (27) Republic of Ireland
  • Forward Emily Whelan (19) Republic of Ireland
  • Forward Priscilla Chinchilla (21) Costa Rica

From CONCACAF, Priscilla Chinchilla of Costa Rica was such a revelation in last season’s WCL games and was the Scottish League Player of the Year in 2021-22 and is starting her third season with the club; she helped the national side qualify for their second ever Women’s World Cup Finals this summer in CONCACAF qualifying. Monica Monsivais played with BIIK in Kazakhstan in 2015 and since then has been playing at home for Monterrey in the Liga MX Feminine before going back to Europe to join City. Peyton Perea spent three seasons on the roster of the North Carolina Courage after playing collegiately at Wake Forest University and spent a short time in Spain and is in her first season with City. Erin Greening played at the University of Colorado and played with the Orlando Pride in 2019 and Klepp in Norway in 2021; she signed with Glasgow City on August 1 of 2022.

Group 2

Semifinals

FC Minsk (BLR) 2 vs Slovácko (CZE) 1

Breidablik (ISL) 2 vs Rosenborg (NOR) HOSTS 4

Third Place Game

Breidablik (ISL) 3 vs. Slovacko (CZE) 0

Group Final

FC Minsk (BLR) 0 vs Rosenborg (NOR) 1

On August 18 in the semifinal round, Rosenborg built a 4-0 lead by the 47th minute as Norwegian international forward Emilie Nautnes (23) scored twice. She is in her first season with the club and has 4 goals in 16 regular season games after moving from Lillestrom, where she played for three seasons. Breidablik pulled back two goals within three minutes by the 70th minute mark but could get no closer for the final 4-2 scoreline.

In the third-place match, Breidablik defeated Slovacko 3-0 with all three goals coming from Iceland youth international Helena Halfdanardottir (21), who had not scored in 6 league games to date this year.

In the Group Final, Nautnes scored the only goal in the 72nd minute to send the hosts to the next round and Minsk out of the competition with a 1-0 win. Rosenborg joined fellow Norwegian side Brann in the second round.

FC Minsk of Belarus had three Russian imports in their side. In addition, they had Regina Out of Nigeria (26) with 1 goal I2 games this year and 6 goals in 20 games last year; she has played for her country in Olympic Games Qualifiers last year and played at home with Edo Queens and Rivers Angels. Forward Darija Dukic (26) of Montenegro plays for the national side and won a championship with Vllaznia in Albania in 2017-18.

Surprisingly, Minsk’s Kenyan import Wafula Nekesa (23) who had 31 goals in 15 games league games, did not play in the UEFA matches or league matches in August. Minsk is in a close battle for the league title, sitting 3 points behind fellow WCL side Dinamo Dinamo-BGU (49 points vs. 46 points which each playing 17 games and 10 games left in the season).

Slovácko of the Czech Republic had three players from Slovakia and midfielder Hailey Bicknell from the U.S. (24), who played at Niagara University and with ASA Tel Aviv in Israel.

Iceland’s Breidablik had four imports on their WCL roster:

  • GK Eva Persson (26) Sweden
  • Midfielder Taylor Ziemer (24) Germany
  • Midfielder Anna Petryk (24) Ukraine
  • Forward Melina Ayers (23) Australia, who was on loan from 2021-22 A-League Women Champions Melbourne Victory for the summer season

Bredablik made the Group of 16 round last season in the Women’s Champions League.

Group 3

Semifinals

Ajax (NED) 3 vs Kristianstad (SWE) 1

Fortuna Hjørring (DEN) HOSTS 0 vs Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) 2

Third Place Game

Fortuna Hjorring (DEN) 2 vs. Kristianstad (SWE) 3

Group Final

Ajax (NED) 2 vs. Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) 1

Eintracht Frankfurt knocked Fortuna Hjorring, the long-time power from Denmark, out of the chance for a Group of 16 berth with a 2-0 win, as Slovenia international forward Lara Prasnikar (24) scored in the 15th minute. Prasnikar scored 11 goals in 22 Frauen Bundesliga games for Eintracht in the 2021-22 campaign. Fortuna put the ball into their own net three minutes later for all of the scoring.

In the other semifinal on August 18, Kristianstad had the lead from the 19th minute thanks to Canadian international Evelyne Viens’ goal, until around the hour minute mark, after which Ajax scored three times for the win.

Kristianstad was the team snatching a late win in the third-place match on August 21 as Fortuna Hjorring looked home and dry after Romanian international defender Maria Ficzay (30) scored in the 66th minute for a 2-1 lead. Midfielder Amanda Andradottir has only one league goal in 16 games in her first season with Kristianstad after moving from Valerenga in Norway but scored a crucial equalizer in the 73rd minute. Then Canadian Olympic Gold Medal winner defender Gabrielle Carle (23) scored with five minutes left in extra time and the 115th minute goal held up as the winner. Carle has two regular season goals for Kristianstad this year. Kristianstad currently stands in third place in the Swedish league with 39 points from 18 games, one point behind Linkoping and six points behind Rosengard.

TribalFooball.com talked to Canadian Women’s National Team head coach Bev Priestman on August 23 after she named her team for their internationals in Australia in early September. Kristianstad’s Carle and Viens were not brought into the squad and Priestman explained, “It’s nothing they are not doing.” She said that the Swedish league takes a two month break in the summer so they have not been playing as many games. “I told them what they needed to do to make the CONCACAF roster [neither made the roster for the Mexico finals—only Swedish-based goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo at Vittsjo was called in for the June Finals] and that hasn’t changed. [We] work with them on specific feedback. [For the Australia tour we] needed to assess some new players and some positional gams we need to look at. Priestman brought in potential debutants Clarissa Larisey from Glasgow Celtic—who has five goals this season in just three league matches in her second season with the club after playing in Iceland with Valur—and Sam Awujo, who played at the University of Southern California, at this summer’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, where she received two Player of the Match mentions. Priestman emphasized again that for the two players at Kristianstad’s that, “It is not what they aren’t doing.” The Nordic leagues do take a long summer break—as do many businesses in the far north of Europe—which plays into some national team call-ups at time, but Carle and Viens should have more opportunities with the Maple Leafs before the final rosters are determined for next summer’s Women’s World Cup.

In the Group Final, Chasity Grant (21) of the Netherlands scored early for Ajax in the 8th minute before Prasnikar tied it up for the German side around the hour mark, but Eshley Bakker (29)—who came on in the 83rd minute—scored the upset winner for Ajax in the 92nd minute for the win over Frankfurt. This is Bakker’s fifth consecutive season at the Amsterdam club.

Ajax’s squad was drawn entirely from the Netherlands, with no imports whatsoever.

Kristianstad in their second consecutive WCL season, is heavy with imports:

  • Goalkeeper Lina Loeck (22) of Germany has played in 18 games so far this season.
  • Defender Easther Mayi Kiht (25) of Cameroon but was born in Canada and played the past two years at Stade de Reims in France after one year at Metz and two at Montpellier. She played at the WAFCON Finals this summer in Morocco but played only for 3 minutes as a substitute in their opening game goalless draw with Zambia, after starting and playing most of the game in the 4-0 pre-tournament loss to France on June 25, coming off in the 78th minute.
  • Defender Gabrielle Carle (23) of Canada has 2 goals in 18 matches in the 2022 regular season.
  • Midfielder Sheila van den Bulk (33) of the Netherlands has 5 goals in 16 games this season.
  • Midfielder Amanda Andradottir (18) of Iceland
  • Midfielder Emma Petrovic (19) of Serbia in her second season with the club
  • Forward Delaney Pridham (24) of the U.S., who has 3 goals in 18 games and played at Santa Clara University in California
  • Forward Emelia Oskarsdottier (16) of Iceland
  • Forward Tabby Tindell (26) of the U.S. has 11 goals in 17 matches and played three previous seasons at second tier club Kalmar (promoted to the top flight for this season) scoring 19 goals in 2021 and 16 in 2020—both from 26 appearances each season.
  • Forward Evelyn Viens (25) of Canada, a full international moved from NWSL Gotham FC and played with Paris FC in France as well, with 11 goals in 14 games in 2020/21; she has scored 9 goals in 18 matches thus far

Their Coach is Elisabet Gunnarsdottier (45) of Iceland, who has coached at the club since 2009.

Fortuna Hjorring had nine imports—three from the U.S. and two from Australia’s A-League Women’s league, two from Romania and one each from Finland and Nigeria:

  • Goalkeeper Adelaide Gay (32) U.S.
  • Defender Angie Beard (24) Australia, back for her second year
  • Defender Maria Ficzay (30) Romania
  • Defender Tina Peltonen (27) Finland
  • Defender Janelle Cordia (35) U.S.
  • Midfielder Florentina Olar (37) Romania, who has two goals in three league games this year
  • Forward Omewa Joy Ogochuckwu (19) Nigeria
  • Midfielder Ashley Riefner (28) U.S., who has one goal in three games this season in her first season with the club, after transferring from Nordsjaelland in Denmark
  • Forward India Paige Riley (20) in her third season with the club and scored four goals in 20 games last season. She grew up in Australia but was born in Auckland and lived in New Zealand until the age of 12 and played with Brisbane Roar. She was capped by Australia in a friendly against the Republic of Ireland last year but recently declared for New Zealand and received her first cap for the Football Ferns in their 1-0 win over Mexico in Los Angeles on September 3.

Fortuna’s veteran Dane Camilla Kur Larsen has 2 goals in 3 league games this season.

Eintracht Frankfurt had four Austrian imports, and one each from Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland and Brazil—defender Leticia Santos (27) of Brazil. Frankfurt won four UEFA titles under their previous name of FFC Frankfurt.

Group 4

Semifinals

Real Madrid (ESP) HOSTS 6 vs Sturm Graz (AUT) 0

Manchester City (ENG) 6 vs Tomiris-Turan (KAZ) 0 DEBUTANTS

Third Place Game

Sturm Graz (AUT) 5 vs. Tomiris-Turan (KAZ) 1

Group Final

Manchester City (ENG) 0 vs. Real Madrid (ESP) 1

Real Madrid’s 29-year-old forward Esther Gonzalez scored four goals, three coming in the second half, to lead Real to a 6-0 win over Sturm Graz on August 18 in the semifinal. She played for Spain at the Women’s EURO this summer in England.

Jamaican forward Khadija Shaw scored Manchester City’s first two goals by the 21st minute in the other semifinal, with other goals coming from Lauren Hemp (England), Vicky Losada (Spain) and Deyna Casellanos (Venezuela) along with a Tomiris-Turan of Kazakhstan own goal, as they won by the same score over the Kazakhstan side.

In the third-place match on August 21, Julia Matuschewski (25)—a German native and long-time player in the two top leagues in Germany before joining Sturm this summer and has been capped at the full level by Poland—had a brace by the 21st minute in Sturm Graz’s 5-1 canter over Tomiris-Turan.

In the most notable game on August 21 among the Group Finals, Real Madrid dumped Manchester City out of the WCL again (repeating their Second Qualifying Round 2-1 aggregate win in 2021-22) as Scottish international Caroline Weir (27)—who left Man City for Real this summer after four seasons in Manchester and who scored 6 goals in 19 games last season—stuck a dagger into her former club’s continental club season with the only goal in the 15th minute, a stunning result for City, who had hoped to go far in this season’s competition. Weir astutely controlled a cross at her feet, calmly spun her marker on the penalty spot before firing the ball into the top corner past Ellie Roebuck in goal. City has now been knocked out of the Champions League by Spanish opposition for the fifth consecutive season.

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New Real Madrid signing Caroline Weir (#11) celebrates scoring against her former team Manchester City in the Group Stage Final on August 21 in the 2022-23 UEFA Women’s Champions League (Image courtesy of UEFA and 2022 Getty Images)

Sturm Graz of Austria had two imports from Germany and one each from Croatia, Kosovo and Poland. Forward Modesta Ukda (23) is a Kosovo international who has been with Sturm Graz for years and was born in Austria. Their German coach Christian Lang has been coaching the side since the 2017-18 season.

Man City are loaded with talent, with Laia Aleixandri (22) from Spain coming in this summer along with Venezuelan international Deyna Castellanos—(see our new signing review from this summer: The Week in Women’s Football: CONCACAF reflection; Arsenal keep Miedema; Man City sign Venezuela star Castellanos – Tribal Football)

Other imports included:

  • Defender Kerstin Casparij (22) Netherlands
  • Defender Leila Ouahabi (29) Spain
  • Defender Alanna Kennedy (27) Australia
  • Defender Julie Blakstad (20) Norway
  • Midfielder Haley Raso (27) Australia
  • Midfielder Vicky Losada (31) Spain
  • Midfielder Flippa Angeldal (25) Sweden
  • Forward Mary Fowler (19) Australia
  • Forward Deyna Castellanos (23) Venezuela
  • Forward Khadija Shaw (25) Jamaica

England 2022 Women’s EURO winners on City’s side included: goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck, defenders Alex Greenwood, Demi Stokes, midfielder Keira Walsh and forwards Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly, while Ellen White recently announced that she is retiring from the international and club game.

The debutants of Tomiris-Turan of Kazakhstan have taken after fellow country WCL powerhouse BIIK in bringing in a number of imports, unlike Okzhetpes, who last year had no imports and were shutout in their first qualifying group matches 4-0 by Arsenal of England and 4-0 by Lokomotiv Moscow of Russia in the third-place match. Okzhetpes’ imports included:

  • Goalkeeper Aitaj Sharifova (25) Azerbaijan
  • Defender Abigail Ashezi Sunday (21) Nigeria
  • Midfielder Aleksandra Popovic (23) Montenegro
  • Midfielder Gladys Arlin Equivel Villanueva (27) Chile
  • Midfielder Prisca Chilufya (23) Zambia
  • Forward Juliet Chinonso Sunday (24) Nigeria


Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women’s football. Get yours copy today.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey