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Christen Press thinks element of the unknown could benefit GB at Olympics

The USA women’s football star admits the United States face a tough challenge to stay at the summit of women’s football.

Christen Press (centre) scored for the United States against England at the Women’s World Cup (Richard Sellers/PA)
Christen Press (centre) scored for the United States against England at the Women’s World Cup (Richard Sellers/PA)

By George Sessions, PA

United States Women’s football international Christen Press says Great Britain could benefit from an element of the unknown in the 2020 Olympic Games.

England’s success at the World Cup in France this summer, where they reached the semi-finals, led to Team GB being resurrected for next year’s competition in Tokyo.

After featuring seven years ago in the London Olympics, the four home nations were not expected to come together again, but they will in less than 12 months’ time.

If they can gel quickly under the stewardship of England Women’s head coach Phil Neville, they could challenge USA for the gold medal according to a current World Cup winner.

Press, an ambassador for international charity Grassroot Soccer, told PA news agency: “I think Great Britain will be a very interesting opponent. The only opponent that you will never face before the Olympics.

“It is a special case that raises a lot of challenges obviously for the team, but also for opponents in terms of scouting and understanding the group dynamic.”

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USA’s Christen Press says Great Britain could be a threat at next year’s Olympics (John Walton/PA)

Although Neville will lead Team GB next summer he has come under scrutiny since the World Cup, with England currently on a poor run of form.

Including a 2-1 defeat to the United States in the last four in Japan, the Lionesses have lost five of their last eight games.

But Press believes England Women and the game itself is on the rise due to investment in the sport.

“I think the women’s game internationally is growing so quick and it’s always going to be our duty to do what we have to do to stay on top. It’s going to be a really hard challenge,” Press said.

“Across the world, federations are pouring more resources into women’s teams, which is fantastic, and England is actually at the top in terms of the investment in their domestic league and it shows in their international play.”

Press, who this month scored her 50th goal for her country, was in London on Thursday to show her support for Grassroot Soccer.

The international charity hosted a fundraising gala to help them continue to support over two million young people in 50 countries.

“I make a point of trying to come out for this gala every year and I think there are a lot of ways to create chance,” Press said.

“As a member of the board, we had a great discussion this week about making sure each contact we have with Grassroot Soccer is impactful and meaningful.

“But then in order to be able to reach so many people, you have to have money and a really important part of charity is fundraising.

“It is amazing they bring us all together in such a celebratory way, but this is just about helping people who need it the most.”

PA

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