Welcome to the very 1st edition of the #ORP100, the Top 100 Women’s Footballers of 2016. From Monday 12th December to Friday 23rd December, we’ll be counting down from 100 to 1 – voted for by our esteemed panel of judges who have been busy putting together their individual lists over the past month.
See a full list of the 30 experts who voted and how the voting works here:
In the penultimate piece as we head towards tomorrow’s top 10, we look at those who just missed out, including Chelsea’s new signing, a ‘keeper who shone in Rio and Denmark’s superstar…
2016 wasn’t a vintage year for Ramona Bachmann but it was still a solid one and one which saw her contribute to Switzerland backing up some impressive results at the 2015 World Cup by qualifying for the Euro’s. Bachmann also played a part in Wolfsburg’s Champions League final against Lyon but couldn’t help her side overcome the French giants. Bachmann will be in the FA WSL next year after agreeing a move to runners-up Chelsea and will be looking to hit top form ahead of Euro 2017.
Hedvig Lindahl endured an odd year in 2016, her form with Chelsea was excellent at times but towards the end of the season Lindahl found herself rotated with new signing Rebecca Spencer. For Sweden it was another matter, Lindahl starred at the Olympics, helping Sweden through two penalty shootouts but couldn’t stop Germany snatching the gold medal in the final. All in all, a solid year for the Swedish No.1.
In a year where Wolfsburg could call on an all-star attack it was Popp who popped up with their biggest goal of the season, an 88th minute equaliser in the Champions League final which took their game against Lyon to extra-time. Popp also stepped up to score the first penalty but sadly for Popp it was Lyon who ran out 4-3 winners after each team had taken five penalties. But Popp did represent her country in Rio, scoring during the tournament and ending it with a gold medal around her neck.
The start of 2016 was certainly an interesting one for Alex Morgan. The striker made the switch to NWSL newcomers Orlando Pride but her form picked up for the USA, scoring a hat-trick in an Olympic qualifier as well as important goals against France and Germany in the SheBelieves Cup. To nobody’s surprise, Orlando finished second to last in their first season with Morgan finding the net just four times during a difficult season for Tom Sermanni’s side. Morgan’s up and down year culminated at the 2016 Olympics where she scored a big goal against semi-final opponents Sweden, only to miss the first penalty of the shoot-out as USA bowed out. Morgan has just made the move to Lyon for the first half of 2017.
After eight years and eight successive Ligue 1 titles, Schelin chose 2016 as the time to take a step away from Lyon’s dominance and move back home to Sweden. It was the perfect goodbye, part of another historic treble in which Schelin scored one of the penalties in the Champions League shootout against Wolfsburg, FC Rosengård announced Schelin would join them in time for the conclusion of the Damallsvenskan campaign. The Swede also scored a penalty in the Olympics win over world champions USA and overall has had another superb year in 2016.
Having just turned 32, you could be forgiven for thinking Camille Abily would be winding down her career but she’s been as strong as ever in 2016. Abily played a key role as ever in Lyon’s league title and their Champions League triumph and was a mainstay in France’s midfield at the Rio Olympics during the summer. Next year is already looking good for Abily, despite Lyon now chasing PSG in the league the midfielder has been at her classy best for club and country throughout 2016.
Eugenie Le Sommer, like most French strikers, has the capability to frustrate in big games for her country but her club form this season has been second to none. With 10 goals, Le Sommer has already matched her Ligue 1 tally for last season but scored two goals in the Champions League semi-final vs PSG as Lyon completed the treble earlier in the year. Le Sommer also scored twice for her country at the Rio Olympics but France failed to the threaten the final sides in Germany and Sweden.
The past 24 months have propelled Pernille Harder into stardom and the Danish striker is now well thought of as one of the finest players in world football. The 24-year-old missed out on being Damallsvenskan top scorer by one goal in 2015 but returned bigger and better in 2016. Her side Linkopings marched to the title with Harder top scorer in the league with 24 goals, team mate Stina Blackstenius next best but four behind the Dane. Harder’s season has put her firmly in the shop window and a big move to German giants Wolfsburg was announced last week.
2016 was a big year for Anja Mittag as she was involved in one of the biggest transfers of the season when she left PSG for Wolfsburg. After ending the Ligue 1 season with 10 goals, Mittag has struggled for regular form with Wolfsburg due to the stacked nature of Wolfsburg’s attack but she still played a key role in Germany’s year. Mittag scored four in one game as Germany prepared for the Olympics and walked away from Rio with a gold medal for her efforts. Mittag played 90 minutes in the final against Sweden and will hope to pick up her club form for Wolfsburg as we move into 2017.
Undoubtedly one of the best midfielders in world football right now, it was a big year for Amandine Henry, one which saw her leave behind home comforts and taken the plunge with Portland Thorns in the NWSL. Whilst perhaps not hitting the heights she did in 2015, Henry decided to step away from a dominant Lyon side to try her hand in America. Continuing her superb form for the France national team, Henry will no doubt be a key part of any hopes France have of winning Euro 2017 next year.