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Australian newspaper sends helicopter to photograph Lionesses training
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Press Association
England have been training at the home of the Central Coast Mariners (Zac Goodwin/PA)
England have been training at the home of the Central Coast Mariners (Zac Goodwin/PA)

England have found themselves on the receiving end of a spying controversy after a training session ahead of their World Cup semi-final against Australia was photographed from a helicopter.

The Australian Daily Telegraph sent up the aircraft to capture images from the Lionesses’ behind-closed-doors session at their training base as they finalised plans for Wednesday’s last-four clash with the co-hosts in Sydney.

Published under the headline “Eleven Poms against a nation: Welcome to the jungle, Lionesses”, the pictures show boss Sarina Wiegman and her staff putting the players through their paces ahead of the eagerly-anticipated contest.

The newspaper wrote: “If England’s Lionesses thought they would happily fly into the World Cup semi-final under the radar they were in for a rude shock.

“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.”

It added: “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.”

The Football Association has declined to comment on the incident.

The European champions are assured of a hostile welcome at a sold-out Stadium Australia as they attempt to end the Matildas’ dream of World Cup glory on home soil.

Their exploits have galvanised a nation which revels in its sporting rivalry with England and is still in celebratory mood having already retained the Ashes and won the Netball World Cup at the expense the old enemy this summer.

Wiegman and her players have brushed aside that element of the fixture, although back at home, memories of Alex Carey’s controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow in the second Test at Lord’s, which prompted booing and chants of ‘Same old Aussies, always cheating’ throughout the remainder of the series, are still fresh in the collective mind.


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