Spy-gate hits the Women’s World Cup semi-final: Australian newspaper fly a helicopter over England training and brag over filming ‘the moral arbiters’ in retaliation to the Ashes cheating row
- The Aussie Daily Telegraph snapped pictures of the Lionesses in training
- England face a hostile reception with 75,000 Aussie fans expected in Sydney
- WATCH: ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ – Episode 1 – Mail Sport’s brand new football show
An Australian newspaper used a helicopter to spy on England’s final training session ahead of today’s World Cup semi-final showdown.
Both teams have played down the rivalry between the two countries but the Australian Daily Telegraph have ignited tensions on the eve of the big match.
The newspaper bragged that they had managed to film England’s final training session by sending a helicopter to take pictures and footage of their preparations at the Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.
‘If England’s Lionesses thought they would happily fly under the radar into the World Cup semi-final under the radar they were in for a rude shock,’ the newspaper wrote.
‘We’ve sent the chopper up to see how the old enemy are preparing… Welcome to the jungle, Lionesses, we’ve got fun and games.
England trained at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, 60 miles north of Sydney, on Tuesday
An Australian newspaper used a helicopter to spy on England’s final training session ahead of today’s World Cup semi-final showdown against the Matildas
The Daily Telegraph bragged about taking snaps of the Lionesses’ training session
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‘Just as we did last week when we wanted to know if Sam Kerr was back in full training mode or on restricted duties with her calf injury, The Daily Telegraph went to the sky with these exclusive aerial photographs of England’s final training run.
‘It might not be in the spirit of football, but after last month’s men’s Ashes cricket series we will let the moral arbiters England pass judgment on what is and isn’t acceptable in the world of sport. But make no mistake, England are here to ruin Australia’s party.’
The outlet did not state whether the footage had been passed on to Australia’s coaching team or staff, but it is understood the pictures did not reveal notable information about England’s tactics.
The FA declined to comment.
The stunt is arguably the first flashpoint of what has been an otherwise largely amicable build-up to Wednesday’s clash at Stadium Australia, when a place in the World Cup final against Spain will be at stake.
Matildas players have downplayed the rivalry with England ahead of their World Cup semi-final, while Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman has been very complimentary of the co-hosts’ progress in the tournament so far.
Football has never before featured in the rich tapestry that is the rivalry between Australia and England, which has normally been reserved to cricket, rugby and netball.
The beautiful game will be added to the list on Wednesday night and Australia is currently in a state of Matildas-mania.
And the Lionesses can expect a hostile atmosphere in Sydney, after World Cup semi-final tickets intended for England fans and have been bought up by Australians after the unique supporter code was leaked on social media.
An official England supporters’ allocation of 1,970 tickets was released after the Lionesses’ 2-1 quarter-final victory over Colombia.
A post on the Football Association’s website said the access code ‘Lioness’ was exclusively for England fans. But several Australian supporters have managed to buy tickets in their opponents’ section of the stadium and bragged they would be ‘wearing Matildas’ shirts.
A Facebook post on the Matildas and A-League Women Supporters Group page, which has since been removed, revealed the code fans needed to buy tickets.
The training session was not held behind closed doors and it is understood the pictures did not reveal notable information about England’s tactics
The FA declined to comment on the incident and the outlet did not state whether the footage had been passed on to Australia’s coaching team or staff
Lionesses coach Sarine Wiegman is aware her team can expect a hostile reception
Speaking on Tuesday, Wiegman said her players were well aware of the welcome in store for them.
‘I don’t think they [Australia] are the underdog, they play at home, the stadium will be beautiful,’ she told reporters at a press conference.
‘I think there’s two teams that are very good and very strong and have grown into the tournament.
‘So I think it’s going to be very tight and it’s going to be very, very competitive.’
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