Who are the Lionesses? Meet the Women’s World Cup 2023 players

They won the Euros in 2022 and now want to conquer the world

Who are The Lionesses as illustrated by a picture of some team members celebrating
(Image credit: James Whitehead/Anado Agency via Getty Images/Future)

Who are the Lionesses? If you're about to tune into the Women's World Cup 2023, meet the England team's key players as they set their sights on another coveted trophy. 

Since the England women's team won the Euros 2022 final against Germany 2 - 1, they have captured the nation's imagination. Not only this, but the win has been responsible for a surging interest in women's football. Celebrating their Euros win with a jubilant rendition of Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline , the historic victory has made the team and the likes of Golden Boot winner Beth Mead, household names.

Hailing a new beginning for the women's game and the whole team being honoured with the Freedom of the City, they're now on their way to the Women's World Cup 2023, in an attempt to add to their trophy cabinet. Here's everything you need to know about the Lionesses who finally brought football home, and want to bring it home again from Australia & New Zealand.

Who are the Lionesses?

The Lionesses is the nickname for the England women's national football team. Now governed by the Football Association (FA), the team was previously administered by the Women's Football Association (WFA). 

The team played its first international match in November 1972 against Scotland, and has since qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup seven times. They have reached the quarter-finals three times, and placed third in 2015 and fourth in 2019. 

England Women's manager Sarina Wiegman chose a blend of youth and experience while selecting the 2022 Euros team - this was the first England squad with an average age younger than 27 since the 2013 Euros, when England failed to progress to the knockout stages.

For the 2023 World Cup, the average age of the squad has fallen even lower, to 25.7 years. The freshly selected squad's first match in the World Cup 2023 takes place at Brisbane Stadium on July 22, where they'll face Haiti. 

In their qualifying rounds, the Lionesses won 2-0 against Austria in their final match, securing a place in Australia & New Zealand. Having previously defeated Luxembourg 10-0, the they ended with the best record in qualifying history, consisting of ten victories and 80 unanswered goals. 

Who is the England captain Millie Bright?

Millie Bright will be captain of the Lionesses throughout the World Cup 2023 as current captain, Arsenal's Leah Williamson, has been forced to miss the tournament due to injury. As well as representing England in the game, Millie plays as a defender for Chelsea. 

Bright has already represented England on the senior national team, and previously played in theunder-19 and under-23 national team squads. She also made the England national team squad at the last FIFA World Cup in France in 2019, playing in two of the three group matches, and the Quarter and Semi Finals. She was also part of the Euros 2022 winning squad. 

Millie Bright

(Image credit: Mark Pain/Alamy)

Who is the England women's team's goal keeper Mary Earps?

Manchester United goalkeeper Mary Earps, will be returning as goal keeper for the World Cup 2023, after a successful outing at the Euros. On May 31, Earps wrote on Instagram "Proud as punch to be selected for the World Cup @lionesses squad - big summer incoming, so excited & grateful!"

Earps has been in and out of the senior side of women's football for the past few years. She was part of the Euro 2017 training camp and was part of the squad for the 2019 World Cup; she has has played for five different clubs in the WSL, as well as German side Wolfsburg.  

England women's football team goal keeper Mary Earps

Mary Earps

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Who is the Women's team manager Sarina Wiegman?

England's Lionesses are currently managed by Sarina Wiegman, who succeeded Phil Neville in 2020. The 53-year-old will hold a place in football history, for her part in leading the Lionesses to their Euro 2022 win.

Wiegman hails from the Netherlands where she was called up to the national football team at 16-years-old. Two years later, she joined Kruikelientjes '71 - and won her first ever trophy in the form of the Dutch Cup.

In 2017, she became the head coach of the Dutch women's team - known as the Orange Lionesses - and the very same year, she and her side claimed the Women's Euro title which led to a host of awards for the manager.

She was named the Best FIFA Women’s Coach and also made a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau, which is a civil honour for special achievements in her native country.

Her endeavours and achievements on the world stage drew the attention of the Football Association (FA) who asked if Wiegman would take over for England, and she jumped at the opportunity.

When asked why she had decided to take the job, according to Chronicle Live, she replied, “Why not? I only want to work at the top. I wouldn’t be happy with any less.”

The lionesses' manager Sarina Wiegman

(Image credit: Naomi Baker/Getty Images/Future)

Who are the Lionesses' star players?

Lucy Bronze

Lucy Bronze, who plays in the number two shirt as a defender, is one of the most respected and decorated players of her generation. Lucy left Manchester City for a second time shortly before Euro 2022 to move to Spanish champions Barcelona. In June, Bronze won the Women’s Champions League for the fourth time, more than any other British player. In winning with Barcelona, she also became the first English player to win with two different teams. 

She was voted The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2020, adding to an existing host of major team and individual honours including the 2018 and 2020 BBC Women's Footballer of the Year. In 2019, she became the first English player to be honoured with the UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award. The 31-year-old defender has also declared coaching England a future ambition of hers.

Lucy Bronze playing football for the lionesses

Lucy Bronze

(Image credit: Alamy)

Georgia Stanway

Georgia Stanway, 25, spent the first seven years of her senior career with Manchester City where she won seven major honours, before deciding to leave for Bayern ahead of Euro 2022. She currently plays as a midfielder in the number 10 shirt. 

The Cumbrian native won the Frauen Bundesliga title in Germany since joining Bayern Munich, and she recently spoke to the Guardian about being selected for the World Cup 2023 squad. Stanway said "On the pitch, I’ve got so much responsibility. I have a leadership role, which I never expected. I’ve been consistent in my performances. I’ve got more control over my technical actions and my passing range is massively improved. I’ve developed more of a second No 6 role, similar to in the Euros where I could join attacks but then, when we were defending, I was expected to drop back."

Georgia Stanway playing football for the lionesses

Georgia Stanway

(Image credit: Alamy)

Chloe Kelly

Chloe Kelly scored the winning goal in the women's Euro final 2022, her first ever goal in an international game. Playing for Manchester City, the 25-year-old forward player started her foray with the Lionesses' Under-15s and rose up through the ranks, helping the Under-20s to a third place finish at the 2018 FIFA U20 World Cup.

The youngest of seven siblings, she grew up in Hanwell and played football with her five brothers. From a sibling kick around, the football star recently wrote on her Instagram account "Representing the @lionesses󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 means representing all of you. Thank you for all the support. Next stop Australia." 

Ella Toone

Manchester United star Ella Toone scored the first of two goals in the women's 2022 Euro final, setting the team off on their winning foot. The 23 year old represented England at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, made her under-19 debut in an UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship qualification match, scoring twice in a 9–0 win, and made her senior international debut on 23 February 2021 as a half-time substitute and scored a penalty in a 6–0 friendly win over Northern Ireland.

In a recent interview, Toone said "I find it difficult to switch off; I don’t switch off from football." She continued "As I’m growing up I’m learning to do it a lot more, trying to find different things that make me happy away from football so I can switch off mentally. I know it definitely helps when you find something else and can switch off. But yeah, for me, I’m a hundred miles an hour, I want to be on my feet every day, I want to play football every single day, I moan when we have a day off in the week. So it is definitely hard, but something I’m learning to grow up with and use to my advantage."

Lauren Hemp

Though she is one of the team's youngest players at only 22, Lauren Hemp has been named PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year four times, making her the most decorated PFA award winner of all time, and the first player to win four awards in the same category.

Now the eighth-most-capped player in this squad, she is sometimes criticised for not turning enough opportunities into goals. Hemp said of the pressure "I do put a lot of pressure on myself to perform. I think that’s only natural. Obviously I’m still young. But I put pressure on myself to make sure that I perform at the highest level possible because I know that at times I have been performing up there. It’s always hard to top that or match that."

Lauren Hemp playing football for the lionesses

 Lauren Hemp

(Image credit: Alamy)

Alex Greenwood

Alex Greenwood

(Image credit: Don Mennig/Alamy)

Starting her career with Everton at the age of eight, 29-year-old Alex Greenwood now plays for Manchester City as well as the England national team. Predominantly a left-back, she sometimes plays centre-back. She has played for the England national football team since 2014, previously being named the FA Women's Young Player of the Year in 2012.

In a relationship with fellow footballer Jack O' Connell, Greenwood has been vocal about the amount of hate high profile players receive on social media. Reporting that she used to feel badly affected on a daily basis by things she read about herself on sites such as Twitter and Instagram, she wants to work towards these platforms becoming safer for elite athletes. 

Laura Coombs

Laura Coombs

(Image credit: News Images Ltd/Alamy)

At 32-years-old, Laura Coombs is the oldest player in the World Cup squad. Beginning her career at Arsenal's youth academy, she's now a midfielder for Manchester City. With an extensive club career under her belt, she has previously played for Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. 

Having not played for the Lionesses since 2015, Coombs was called to play in February’s Arnold Clark Cup. Her strength and experience should make her one of the team's best players, after losing hope to play for her country again.

Of the opportunity, she said "Wow….emotional. Sometimes you don’t feel good enough and sometimes you even wonder if it’s time to quit. And then one moment comes along that makes it all seem worth it. Everyone's journey looks different, so don’t give up, ‘cause you never know what’s round the corner."

Jordan Nobbs

Jordan Nobbs

(Image credit: Sportimage Ltd/Alamy)

Previously plagued by injury, Jordan Nobbs was forced to pull out of the Euros and the 2019 World Cup, and only played one match at the 2015 World Cup before injury ended that journey also. Now said to be fighting fit, the 30-year-old player is excited to prove herself in 2023.

The daughter of footballer Keith Nobbs, Jordan began her career at the age of eight, with the Sunderland centre of excellence. As an adult, she currently plays for Aston Villa, having previously played for Sunderland and Arsenal. Writing on Instagram about her selection, she said "Honoured to be selected for the World Cup…WHAT A FEELING." 

In other football news, we've revealed why Australia's team are called The Matildas. Former Lioness Jill Scott announced her retirement following the historic Euros win, but that doesn't stop interest in her private life with fans wanting to know all about her partner Shelly Unitt. Despite her retirement, Jill has remained busy with appearances at Soccer Aid and taking to the jungle in I'm A Celebrity.

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.