🇮🇹 v 🇧🇷

We wrote this from Paris Orly Airport…

It’s 4am.

We’ve had an hour of sleep.

Send help.

Marta of Brazil celebrates after scoring a penalty by kissing her boot which bears a symbol of equality. With that penalty she became to top World Cup scorer in the world (men and women’s!) Go on girl!
Molly Darlington.
Molly Darlington.
Italy captain Sara Gama leads the defensive charge for a Brazil free-kick.
Charlotte Wilson.
An early chance for Debinha of Brazil is stopped by Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani.
Charlotte Wilson.
Elisa Bartoli of Italy bounces off Marta of Brazil.
Charlotte Wilson.
Italy celebrate progressing to the round of 16 as players lift their captain Sara Gama into the air.
Molly Darlington.

🇰🇷 v 🇳🇴

Almost everyone in the box for a corner-kick.
Charlotte Wilson.

Cloudless blue skies greeted us yesterday morning when we finally managed to drag ourselves out of bed. The temperature had finally crept into the high twenties and after a quick trip to the local Carrefour for weekly supplies we set out some towels and got busy sunbathing. Well, Molly did. Charlotte sat in the shade because she’s paler than a ghost.

The head coach / manager of Korea Republic Yoon Dukyeo.
Molly Darlington.

For two short hours we felt like we were in the Love Island Villa just with fewer texts and boys, but matches go on whatever the weather and we were soon in the car en route to Reims for Korea Republic v Norway.

Kim Minjung, Kim Doyeon, Kang Chaerim and Lisa-Marie Utland all end up in a pile in the goalmouth.
Charlotte Wilson.

The highlight of this match was the press room finally having a few snacks for us including Lion Bars (what a 90s throw back) and great pears (‘they were luv’ly’ Darlington, 2019).

Caroline Graham Hansen of Norway celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1.
Molly Darlington.

Yeo Minji reacts after missing the chance to equalise for Korea.
Charlotte Wilson.

Korea put it all out there in the second half but despite a tasty back heel goal and a close chance in the final few minutes, Norway still came out on top. They advance to the knockout stages with France while Korea are out of the tournament.

Molly Darlington.

Molly got in close for a shot of the Korean team huddle, pressing up against a few legs as she went. She’s now centre-back for Korea Republic.

🇺🇸 v 🇨🇱

Two posts in one day – you lucky, lucky things you!

Julie Ertz of USA scores to make it 2-0.
Molly Darlington.
Julie Ertz of USA.
Charlotte Wilson.

Game 10 and we were back with the USA, this time in Parc des Princes, Paris where they would play Chile.

By now, tournament tiredness starts to set in; all the long drives, late nights and aches and pains from carrying three cameras catching up with you in one go. You go to bed tired, you wake up tired and your body feels like you’ve just done a half-marathon with no training.

Luckily for us we have a Cath.

❤️

Cath Ivill is Getty’s main (wo)man for this tournament and between shooting fans, team arrivals, dressing rooms, pre-match tunnel tension and the game itself she always finds time to give us a little pep talk, dust us off and get us back on our feet. She also happens to be a damn good photographer and we’re shamelessly plugging her Instagram – go check it out: @catherineivill

Julie Ertz of USA celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-0.
Molly Darlington.

We’ll be staying with Cath and her Getty buddy Rich (also lovely btw) during the knockout stages so more on them later. (Spoiler: they have donkeys and deer in the garden of their AirBnB.)

USA and Chile decided to swap ends which meant a very sweaty run and a heated scramble for seats seconds before kick off. It was worth it in the end after all USA’s goal (only three this time) came in the first half. They played to sell-out crowd of red, white and blue; a sea of stripes and stars. The noise was incredible.

Some more great goalkeeping, this time from Chile’s Claudia Endler who got a hand to Carli Lloyd’s second-half penalty and kept the scoreline from ticking past more than a small handful of goals.

Claudia Endler makes a save.
Charlotte Wilson.
Dejection for Chile.
Molly Darlington.

Thankfully it was just an hour’s ride on the Metro and RER between us and our beds which we collapsed into after a quick second edit. Wake us up after the advised 8 hours. Maybe more. Kthx, night!

Christen Press of USA takes a corner kick.
Charlotte Wilson.

🇳🇱 v 🇨🇲

Orange, orange everywhere.
Charlotte Wilson.
Anyone who thinks the women’s game isn’t physical has obviously never watched Cameroon.
Charlotte Wilson.

Following on from the Le Havre Hell Drive, we were stuck in auto-pilot for much of the next day, but motivated by the thought of sleep and a hefty helping of Love Island catch up, we got our heads down for Netherlands v Cameroon.

Holland decided to get most of the country down for the match and the stands of Stade du Hainaut were orange, orange, orange. For a full 90 minutes the Dutch beat their marching drums and sang, drumming (hahaha, lol) up the best atmosphere we’ve seen to date.

Matches between European and African teams are always interesting with the clash of playing style making for good photos.

Holland were quicker on the ball with silkier passes and more finesse, but Cameroon were strong and bolshy, committing to tackles one hundred percent.

Ajara Nchout of Cameroon commits 110%
Charlotte Wilson.
Kika Van Es of the Netherlands.
Molly Darlington.

Cameroon fans.
Molly Darlington.

There were some interesting challenges – you know, the studs up, probably a little too high, kick your opponent in the face types – and a bold goal from Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene, but the Dutch survived all this to come out on top with a score of 3-1. Holland want to build on their 2017 European title and we reckon they’re in with a good chance.

Jackie Groenen of the Netherlands celebrates victory.
Molly Darlington.
Charlotte Wilson.

With no food provided in the press rooms (we’ve been the queen’s of packed lunches for the past week and a half) we made a quick exit so we could get ourselves some scran at Restaurante a la Service Statione. Haribo Crocs and chilled ham sandwiches never tasted so good.

Loving the leopard print on Shanice Van De Sanden.
Charlotte Wilson.
Vivianne Miedema scored 2 of 3.
Molly Darlington.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 v 🇦🇷

We had aimed to post to the blog every day and until yesterday we had kept up a perfect score, but Le Havre broke us. Broke us bad.

The Lionesses’ youngest fan?
Charlotte Wilson.
England’s smallest cup?
Molly Darlington.

We finally got our first taste of true Parisian driving as we sat on the A86 ring road – the Périphérique’s slightly less bratty, but still truly awful brother – for over an hour. Here are the things we learnt in that time: indicating in France means nothing at all, people like to break down in tunnels and the French love claustrophobic concrete structures. We think the A86 aged us a few years.

Sunset at Le Havre.
Molly Darlington.
Charlotte Wilson.

Le Havre itself was one the nicest host cities we’ve been to and where we would finally photograph The Lionesses.

There’s always an extra rush of adrenalin when you’re shooting a team you have an invested interest in. Capturing those big moments seems that little bit sweeter and it helps you forget that horrific three and a half hour drive you just did. Sort of.

Jodie Taylor keeps England top of the group.
Charlotte Wilson.
Celebrations all round!
Molly Darlington.

The England attack was relentless and though it eventually resulted in a hard-won goal from Jodie Taylor, the real star of the game was Argentina goalkeeper Vanina Correa. She stopped a powerful penalty from Nikita Parris early on and continued brilliantly from there, saving shot after shot. She deservedly won Player of the Match.

Lucy Bronze not phased by my best angry face.
Charlotte Wilson.

Charlotte made her first television appearance aggressively staring down Lucy Bronze (Molly has already made several angry appearances) which gave a us a brief moment of joy before we had to make the three hour drive home.

We began on the wrong side of the road, all our nightmares a sudden reality as we stared into the headlights of oncoming traffic. A hasty and definitely not panicked reversal later we were driving back the right way and everything was fine for a couple of hours – there was Haribo on tap and the cheesy tunes were blaring (thank god for S Club 7) – but then we hit the A86 again. In the rain.

Nikita Parris accurately capturing how we felt at 3am.
Molly Darlington.

This was proper rain too. The kind of rain that makes it impossible to see your lane markings. So yes, the drive home was just as fun as the drive there and with the added bonus of a 3am finish. Just 5 hours before we’re up for game 9!

🇿🇦 v 🇨🇳

Noko Matlou of South Africa pops of a cluster of China players to win a header.
Charlotte Wilson.

In our greatest achievement on this tournament to date, yesterday we whipped up some salmon for lunch. But with no oven to speak of how did we do it? Steamed it in a sieve. Obviously. Just call us Nigella and Delia.

Sibulele Holweni of South Africa and Lin Yuping of China.
Molly Darlington.

Once we had gotten over our own culinary genius, we set off for Parc des Princes where South Africa would face China PR.

Li Ying of China (10) celebrates scoring the only goal.
Charlotte Wilson.
Goalscorer Li Ying of China.
Molly Darlington.

spacespacesp

And now for a sad part in our story… Molly and Charlotte parted ways. One in the tribune, the other pitch side – it’s a tale of separation more heartbreaking than Romeo and Juliet. Luckily this one only lasts for 90 minutes and doesn’t end in double teenage suicide.

Give us this kit now please! Linda Motlhalo of South Africa.
Molly Darlington.

For those of you unfamiliar with the tribune, it’s an elevated position in the stadium that puts you at the same angle as the TV cameras. You can see all the action play out below and it makes for a nice change of scenery. It also happens to be Charlotte’s favourite place to be. Happy days!

‘Scuuuuse me! Bambanani Mbane slide tackles Liu Shanshan.
Charlotte Wilson.

It also gives you a perfect view of the official ‘Penning of the Photographers’. If you want to shoot managers, national anthems and team groups be prepared to be herded down the touchline enclosed by a length of rope. And in your rope pen you stay until the teams huddle up ahead of kick-off. We’re not quite sure what the stewards are worried we’ll do, but rules are rules we suppose…

Molly doesn’t seem to mind too much anyway.

The biggest thrill of this match was Molly’s near death experience after a stray ball whizzed past her head at speed. Nothing like getting smashed in the face to wake you up from a slow game.

The One With The Sudden Downpour: 🇩🇪 v 🇪🇸

We’ve done well to avoid it so far, but it finally it caught us; the rain.

The Spain pennant.
Molly Darlington.
The head coach / manager of Spain Jorge Vilda.
Molly Darlington.
Sara Daebritz of Germany celebrates with Alexandra Popp of Germany after scoring a goal to make it 1-0.
Molly Darlington.

It arrived the moment we’d got back to our seats. Photographers in the rain is a unique sight. It’s a flurry of frenzied activity; waterproofs everywhere – over cameras, over lenses, over heads. Towels slung across laptops. Silent, sweary prayers for remotes left unprotected behind the goal. And all this as the match continues, players blurry through your rain speckled viewfinder.

As horrible as it is to sit in, rain can make for good photos though with no action in our half during the downpour we weren’t even granted that small grace.

And then 20 minutes later, as quickly as it had come, the rain had gone, giving way to bright, cloudless sunshine. We went from waterproofs to suncream in 0.2 seconds.

Get us to Lyon; bless that consistent southern sun.

No way through for Lucia Garcia.
Charlotte Wilson.

We haven’t got much to say about yesterday’s game other than we doubt anything will be getting past the German goalkeeper, Almuth Schult. She is a force and a half.

Charlotte Wilson.

Fact of the Day: German forward Alexandra Popp is training to be a zookeeper. That and her name is fun to say.

Turid Knaak of Germany signs a shirt for eager fans.
Charlotte Wilson.