The Women’s World Cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand featuring 19 Chelsea stars in action – sometimes playing against each other.
Matches are being split between BBC and ITV, but the time difference means that games are live in the UK between 6am and noon. It all builds up to the final in Sydney at 11am our time on 20 August.
The 19 members of the Chelsea Women squad in action will represent nine different countries, while many former Chelsea players will also be appearing.
There are five Chelsea stars in the Lionesses’ team, including England’s new captain Millie Bright, who played in a warm-up game behind closed doors last week to assess her fitness.
Also featuring will be new Blues signing goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, as well as Jess Carter, Niamh Charles and Lauren James, the 21-year-old striker and fans’ favourite who has been nursed back to full strength by Chelsea manager Emma Hayes and played a critical role in last season’s club successes.
Sarina Wiegman’s players begin their campaign this Saturday (22 July) in Brisbane against Haiti at 10.30am (UK time).
Meanwhile, Blues star forward Sam Kerr was due to play her first match for Australia on Thursday (20 July) against the Republic of Ireland.
Other Chelsea international favourites to watch include a trio of Canadians – Jessie Fleming, Kadeisha Buchanan and new signing Ashley Lawrence (a 28-year-old former PSG defender whose experience will make up for the loss of former club captain Magda Eriksson).
They are in the same group as Ireland and Australia, so Buchanan and Kerr will face each other on Mon 31 July at 11am in Melbourne.
There are also three Blues in the German squad, who face Morocco on Monday (24 July, 9.30am). Mellie Leupolz and keeper Ann-Katrin Berger are joined by a new face, Sjoeke Nusken, a 22-year-old midfielder who arrives at Kingsmeadow from Eintracht Frankfurt as part of Emma Hayes’ big squad shake-up.
The evergreen Guro Reiten and Maren Mjelde represent Norway, having played their first tie this Thursday (20 July) against co-hosts New Zealand.
Sweden includes ex-Blue Magda Eriksson, and current keeper Zecira Musovic as well as Johanna Kaneryd. Sweden start their tilt at the world title in Wellington, New Zealand, on Sunday 23 July against South Africa.
Defender Aniek Nouwen (currently on loan at AC Milan) plays for the Netherlands (first game Sunday 23 July, 8.30am v Portugal) while Eve Perisset is Chelsea’s sole representative in the French squad. France take on Jamaica, also on Sunday, at 11am.
Also keep an eye on the Japan squad, where teenage striker Maika Hamano (currently on loan to a Swedish team) will line up against Zambia on Saturday morning (22 July).
Ring any bells?
Other former Blues that will ring bells with Chelsea Women fans include: Pernille Harder (Denmark), Drew Spence (Jamaica), Ali Riley (New Zealand), Ji So-Yun (South Korea), Jonna Andersson (Sweden), Beth England (England) and Ramona Bachmann (Switzerland).
Next Chelsea matches
Chelsea play Roma in a friendly at Kingsmeadow on Sunday 3 September at 8pm. Tickets for home matches this season start at £10 (£5 juniors/seniors), with cup games a fraction cheaper.
The first Women’s Super League fixture of the new season will be played at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 1 October, against Spurs. Kick-off is at 5.30pm. Then it’s Man City away on 8 October, West Ham at Kingsmeadow on 15 October and Brighton at Kingsmeadow on 22 October.
In all, Chelsea Women plan four league games at Stamford Bridge in the new season: Spurs (1 October), Liverpool (19 November), Man U (21 Januray) and Arsenal (17 March). Major Champions League matches will also be shifted from Kingsmeadow to Stamford Bridge.
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