Women’s soccer weekly news: Sam Kerr fires Chelsea to stunning FA Cup win, USWNT announces its nominees for Female Player of the Year

Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas was named 2021 Ballon d’Or winner at a ceremony in Paris and FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup UEFA qualifiers wrapped up. Find out the winners in our footballing round-up.

By Chloe Merrell
Picture by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Records tumbled, history was re-written, and more end-of-year award nominees were announced in another jammed packed week for women’s football.

A dominant Chelsea coasted to victory over London rivals Arsenal in England’s delayed 2020 FA Cup Final, the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) announced its five nominees for Player of the Year and Spain’s Alexia Putellas claimed one of football’s highest honours by a landslide.

Elsewhere in the world of international soccer, UEFA concluded its third round of qualifiers for the 2023 Women’s World Cup and India suffered their third loss on the bounce in South America following a second half comeback by Venezuela.

Here's your weekly round-up.

Chelsea crush Arsenal 3-0 to lay claim to domestic treble in delayed 2020 FA Cup Final

Sunday (December 5) was an historic day for English football in more ways than one.

On the 50th anniversary of the first women’s FA Cup, the top two teams in this season’s Women’s Super League - Chelsea and Arsenal - met for the delayed 2020 final.

Buoyed by the ever-lethal pairing of Australia’s Sam Kerr and Great Britain’s Fran Kirby, Chelsea breezed to victory 3-0 at Wembley.

Kirby found the net early to gift the Blues an edge straightaway. Kerr then added a second in the 57th minute, before sealing the game deep into the second half.

There was an additional sense of poignancy about the occasion as on the very same day in 1921, England’s Football Association (FA) had banned women’s football from league stadiums. Some 40,000 fans at the match in London showed the growth of the game in recent years, as Chelsea won their first ever domestic treble.

Carli Lloyd leads U.S. Soccer nominees for 2021 Player of the Year awards

The nominees for 2021 US Female soccer Player of the Year award have been officially announced and all of the five selected by the USWNT featured heavily at this year's Tokyo 2020 Olympic tournament.

Veteran Carli Lloyd, who after the Games officially hung up her international boots, leads the way in experience with an astounding 316 caps. Returning nominee from 2020 Lindsey Horan makes the shortlist after clocking the most international minutes.

Alyssa Naeher, also selected for FIFA Best Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year competition, gets the nod after a stellar year featuring a standout save during penalties against the Netherlands in Japan. Rose Lavelle and Megan Rapinoe round off the group of five.

For the first time, the process of selecting the Female and Male Player of the Year, as well as the Young Female and Male Player of the Year awards will be opened up to fans. The fan vote will make up 15 percent of the overall tally, with the rest coming from national team players, coaches, media, and other parties.

READ MORE: Final whistle blows on career of USA soccer legend Carli Lloyd

2023 FIFA WWC UEFA Qualifiers: England’s Ellen White makes goal-scoring history

The third third stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup UEFA qualifiers concluded at the start of last week.

Across the 22 matches that took place, 125 goals were scored as Europe’s top footballing nations battled it out for a chance to play at the 2023 World Cup.

Two-time Olympian Ellen White carved out a slice of history as England romped to a 20-0 victory over Latvia. The super striker surpassed England women’s goalscoring record by sending a hat-trick past the goal keeper. White has now scored 47 goals for the Lionesses.

Elsewhere Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists Sweden maintained the 100 percent world cup qualifying record after banking a 3-0 win over Slovakia.

Here are the results from the final two days of qualifying:

  • Northern Ireland 9-0 North Macedonia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 Malta
  • Armenia 0-10 Norway
  • Azerbaijan 1-0 Montenegro
  • Bulgaria 1-4 Serbia
  • Kosovo 1-3 Albania
  • Turkey 3-2 Israel
  • Croatia 4-0 Moldova
  • Romania 0-5 Italy
  • Lithuania 0-7 Switzerland
  • Hungary 4-2 Ukraine
  • Cyprus 0-4 Iceland
  • Denmark 3-1 Russia
  • Slovenia 0-0 Greece
  • Sweden 3-0 Slovakia
  • Portugal 1-3 Germany
  • Republic of Ireland 11-0 Georgia
  • England 20-0 Latvia
  • Luxembourg 0-8 Austria
  • Belgium 4-0 Poland
  • Spain 8-0 Scotland
  • France 2-0 Wales

To see how the groups now look ahead of the fourth stage of qualifying click here.

Alexia Putellas receives Ballon d’Or Feminin 2021

Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas was awarded the Ballon d’Or Feminin 2021 at a star-studded event in Paris last Monday (November 29).

The midfielder, with 186 points, came out on top of a list that featured Vivianne Miedema Netherlands’ top scorer at the Olympics, Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Christiane Sinclair and her own Barcelona team-mate Jenni Hermoso.

Picking up football’s prestigious annual prize organised by France Football the 27-year-old said: “I want to thank my teammates. This is an individual award but it is unquestionably a team prize.”

2021 has been an exceptional year for the Spaniard who scored 27 goals, provided 19 assists and guided her team to their first ever Champions League title back in May.

Ballon d’Or Feminin 2021 top 10 finalists:

  1. Alexia Putellas - FC Barcelona Femeni (Winner): 186 points
  2. Jennifer Hermoso - FC Barcelona Femeni: 84 points
  3. Sam Kerr - Chelsea F.C. Women: 56 points
  4. Vivianne Miedema - Arsenal W.F.C: 46 points
  5. Lieke Martens - FC Barcelona Femeni: 40 points
  6. Christine Sinclair - Portland Thorns FC: 36 points
  7. Pernille Harder - Chelsea F.C. Women: 33 points
  8. Ashley Lawrence - Paris Saint-German Feminine: 26 points
  9. Jessie Fleming - Chelsea F.C. Women: 25 points
  10. Fran Kirby - Chelsea F.C. Women: 22 points

India lose 2-1 to Venezuela

Last but not least, India finished their tour of South America with a third straight defeat, this time at the hands of Venezuela.

Despite a stunning header from Dangmei Grace that saw the visitors go in front at half time, India struggled to negotiate the pressure being applied by their opposition after the break. On the 50th minute Venezuela’s Mariana fired a close-range shot to draw the scores level, before Barbara completed the comeback win with 10 minutes to go.

India will not have much time to dwell on the results of an international campaign that also saw them lose 6-1 to Brazil and 3-0 to Chile.

Up next for the nation will be hosting the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, beginning next month in January 2022.

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