Rampant Manchester City stroll to maiden women's FA Cup title


Birmingham are Women's Super League mainstays and finished fourth last season; they have beaten two of the sides above them, Arsenal and Chelsea, in their cup run and it is hardly a stretch to imagine them accounting for a third.

For Manchester City, victory at Wembley could prove a historic occasion as they have not yet lifted the FA Cup. It will smash the current Women's FA Cup attendance record of just under 33,000 which was set at last year's final.

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She was in the Toffees' centre of excellence when they won the competition in 2010 - and attended the Final at the City Ground with former club mate Nikita Parris, who she will be in direct opposition with on Saturday. "There are huge expectations at this club, but that's nothing compared to the expectations the players put on each other and that's nothing compared to the expectations I have of them". With the facilities, the coaching staff and the support, it's just brilliant. However, not every women's team is in such a good position. Despite losing key players in close season (including Kirsty Linnett to Notts County) they've recruited astutely with experienced England worldwide forward Ellen White a stand-out acquisition.

Being champions, and with the team now occupying 2nd position (3 points behind leaders Liverpool but with a game in hand over The Reds) in the Spring Series, Manchester City go into the game as the bookies' favourites. Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze have established themselves as leading defenders in world football. "I was gutted for the Notts County players - it's so tough to watch that happen to a club", she said. They'll get another go at that when the competition starts up again in the autumn - and with the English women's domestic season now aligning with the men's from 2017-18, City will surely have a better chance of competing at the highest level.

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Today's FA Cup final is the start of a hectic few months for Beattie.

She has already sampled the Wembley atmosphere, having been part of the United States side who won football gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games and she admits she is looking forward to returning to the famous stadium. With over 100 caps, Beattie has considerable worldwide experience but admits that the Euros will be something entirely different and is the culmination of several years of sustained improvement by the national team. "I know the girls have been eyeing this trophy for a really long time".

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I need to have this type of situation where you arrive and you have to work a lot and also to transform the situation in the right way.