Inside complicated love lives of the Lionesses

Revealed: The love lives of the Lionesses and international footballers at the Women’s World Cup

  •  Dozens of the World Cup players have dated one another and faced their exes
  • READ MORE:  Who’s rooting for Spain to reign? The WAGs and HABs – including another sports star who plays for her country – who will cheer the ‘red furies’ on against the Lionesses in Sunday’s World Cup Final

Ninetieth minute goals, penalty shoot-outs, and accusations of spying, there’s certainly been no shortage of drama on the pitch at the Women’s World Cup.

But the nail-biting moments on the pitch are no match for the salacious lives of many of the players –  who have come head-to-head with their exes in Australia and New Zealand.

England’s Lionesses gloriously defeated Australia’s Matilda’s yesterday in an easy 3-1 defeat in Sydney.

Many eyes were on the interaction between Aussie star striker Sam Kerr, and England’s Rachel Daly, as Rachel use to date Sam’s girlfriend, Team USA player – Kristie Mewis.

But the love triangle is just a tip of the iceberg in the wild world of women’s international football.

The fantastic semi-final performance means Leah Williamson’s team are through to the final, and will face Spain on Sunday. 

Ahead of England’s first World Cup final since 1966, FEMAIL looks at the love polygon at the heart of women’s football…


Ellie Carpenter – Daniëlle van de Donk – Bethany Mead – Vivianne Miedema – Lisa Evans

The drama was explained in a TikTok by football fan Jackie J, who said the Arsenal Women’s team are ‘one of the gayest sports teams to ever exist

Aussie superstar Ellie Carpenter and Dutch midfielder Danielle van de Donk are teammates at French powerhouse Lyon – but rivals on the international stage

Van de Donk sits with an injured Carpenter (who tore her ACL) after Lyon won the 2022 Champions League final

Beth Mead, 28, has been cheering on the Lionesses from the sides due to an ACL injury that has ruled her out.

The Arsenal forward will no doubt have been watching alongside her girlfriend Vivianne Miedema, a Dutch international who is also injured.

But these two – who both play for the Gunners – have both previously dated other teammates.

Lisa Evans (left) used to date Vivianne Miedema

The drama was explained in a TikTok by football fan Jackie J, who said the Arsenal Women’s team are ‘one of the gayest sports teams to ever exist’.

Before she was with Miedema, Mead dated Daniëlle van de Donk, another Dutch International who moved from Arsenal to Lyon in 2021.

Van de Donk is now with Lyon teammate and Australian international Ellie Carpenter, who faced off against England yesterday.

Meanwhile,  Miedema dated fellow Arsenal player Lisa Evans – who also plays for Scotland. 


Katie McCabe – Ruseha Littlejohn – Caitlin Foord –  Lia Wälti

Ruesha Littlejohn and Caitlin Foord confronted one another after the final whistle in Sydney 

Footage shows Ruesha Littlejohn completely ignoring Foord in the handshake procession before Ireland’s 1-0 loss to the Matildas on Thursday night

The awkward snub of Caitlin Foord by Ruesha Littlejohn may have come after Foord (left) enjoyed a holiday with the Irish striker’s ex-girlfriend Katie McCabe (right)

The five-way romance isn’t the only one that’s gone wrong in north London.

Irish captain Katie McCabe used to date her Ireland teammate and West Ham star Ruseha Littlejohn.

When Ireland faced off with Australia in the group stage of the World Cup, McCabe’s best friend (and Arsenal teamamte), Caitlin Foord refused to shake Littlejohn’s hand.

Although it’s not known exactly when they broke up, 27-year-old McCabe hasn’t wasted any time in enjoying the single life, and last month was spotted on holiday in Ibiza with current and former Arsenal teammates, including  Foord. 

Katie McCabe (left) used to date Ruesha Littlejohn (right)

Lia Walti and Caitlin Foord used to date

Meanwhile, Caitlin has no shortage of drama herself.

Although there’s nothing to suggest that Caitlin Foord and Katie McCabe are anything more than good friends, 28-year-old Caitlin is also freshly single, having previously dated Arsenal teammate Lia Walti. 

The Swiss captain and Arsenal midfielder, 30, began a relationship with teammate Caitlin Foord in 2020 when they quarantined together during the Covid lockdown. They broke up earlier this year. 


Sam Kerr – Kristie Mewis – Rachel Daly – Millie Turner  

The duo in the tunnel before today’s England v Australia game.  Kerr is dating Daly’s ex girlfriend 

Despite the game being between England and Australia, all eyes were on a USA player at the semi-final yesterday.

Daly walked off pitch with a huge grin on her face, after she helped England secure its well-deserved spot in the World Cup Final, pushing Australia out of its own tournament.

The England star forward played her part in the tense 3-1 semi-final, which saw her facing up to Kerr – who happens to be dating Daly’s ex-girlfriend Kristie Mewis. 

Sam Kerr holds her head in her hand after today’s loss to the Lionesses, while Rachel Daly soaks up the triumph 

Mewis was spotted cheering on Kerr throughout the match, surrounded by fans donning Australian football shirts

Daly and Mewis when they were going out together. The pair split in 2020 

Mewis is believed to have begun a relationship with Kerr in 2021 (pictured together in an Instagram post from last year)

The love triangle is just one of many close links between both teams. Sam Kerr, left, and Millie Bright are close friends and Chelsea team-mates

Kristie Mewis (left) used to date Rachel Daly and is currently dating Sam Kerr (right)

Millie Turner (left) is currently dating Rachel Daly (right)

Mewis was spotted cheering on Kerr throughout the match, surrounded by fans donning Australian football shirts.

Aston Villa star Daly went out with Mewis, her former teammate, between 2017 and 2019 before the couple split. Mewis is believed to have begun a relationship with Kerr in 2021.

The ‘love triangle’ was in action several times during the gam, at one point seeing Daly and Kerr go face-to-face competing for a ball in an aerial exchange. After the win, the Aussie clutched her head in her hands, while Daly soaked up her triumph. 

Rachel, meanwhile, has moved on with Millie Turner, another Lioness.

And the couples that are drama-free…

Ann-Katrin Berger (Germany) and Jess Carter (England) 

Teammates at Chelsea but rivals on the international stage, goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger guards the sticks for Germany while the versatile Jess Carter is a crucial part of England’s stellar squad

When it comes to competing against each other on the world’s biggest stage, Berger and Carter are no strangers. The couple, who got together when reuniting at Chelsea in 2019, were on opposing sides in the 2022 Euros final, where Carter’s Lionesses beat Berger’s German side to win the title. 

While the other three in this list of power couples got together in a love-at-first-sight/fairytale romance situation, Carter wasn’t exactly sure of what the now loved-up couple were at first. The two became firm and platonic friends are meeting while playing for Birmingham in 2016, with the couple eventually sharing a flat together.

The English defender had only previously been in a relationship with men, and despite the pair sharing undeniable chemistry, she wasn’t sure what was going on at first. 

‘I had broken up with my boyfriend when I moved in, but as far as I knew I was straight,’ Carter told The Guardian last year of their blossoming relationship. 

But after organising a date (which Carter initially thought was just as friends), and then taking the plunge by initiating a kiss while the pair were watching a movie at home, Berger had well and truly convinced her Chelsea teammate that the spark was real. And they’ve been inseparable ever since.

The pair got together after reuniting at Chelsea in 2019, with romance soon blossoming despite Jess’ initial confusion about her feelings

Berger has had to overcome two bouts of thyroid cancer since the pair got together, but they are stronger than ever. 

And the tables have certainly turned since Carter had to be subtly coaxed into understanding her feelings for Berger. Now it’s the English international who is loud and proud for the world to see. 

‘I think I was – and probably still am – more comfortable than Ann is with publicising our relationship, but that is just because Ann is a very private person whereas I am more of a ‘the whole world could know and I wouldn’t really care’ kind of person,’ Carter said in 2021.

‘Over time and because I will say whatever, she has kind of got used to it and goes with it. By seeing that it is normal and you can be whoever you want to be … (it) shows younger people that it is ok to be you.’

Pernille Harder (Denmark) and Magdelena Eriksson (Sweden)

Denmark captain Pernille Harder and partner Magdelena Eriksson, a defender for Sweden, have been vocal advocates for gay rights and better visibility for LGBTQI+ people in sport

A superstar trio: Harder (left) with Aussie gun Sam Kerr (centre) and partner Eriksson after a Chelsea win in May. The two partners have since signed with German giants Bayern Munich

Denmark captain Pernille Harder and partner Magdelena Eriksson, a defender for Sweden, have been vocal advocates for gay rights and better visibility for LGBTQI+ people in sport

Denmark captain Pernille Harder has won just about every individual and team award as one of the best strikers on the planet. Her partner, Swede Magdalena Eriksson, is held in such high standing she captained the star-studded Chelsea side that won 10 trophies during her 180 appearances in blue.

The pair, who have been together for almost 10 years, have since moved to Bayern Munich to chase even more trophies as one of the most talented power couples in world football since meeting while teammates at Swedish club Linkoping.

And they are also well aware of the fact they are role models for gay women everywhere, and even contribute one per cent of their salaries to PlayProud, a global initiative that aims to make sports safer for LGBTQI+ people.

The kiss that broke the internet: Eriksson (back to camera) kisses Harder after Sweden won the third place playoff at the 2019 World Cup in France

But it wasn’t always that way. The pair were just living their lives as open, proud gay women before they realised people were watching. That was no more obvious after the kiss that broke the internet at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Eriksson had just won the third place playoff with Sweden against England, and as many male athletes have done before, she wandered over to the sideline to embrace Harder, who despite her standing as a Danish legend was supporting her partner by swearing a yellow Sweden jersey.

Social media went into meltdown over the heartwarming scenes, with the two instantly becoming role models for the entire LGBTQI+ community – though that is not why they did it.

‘We’ve always just been natural, not so much thinking of being inspirations together, putting pictures up of each other or anything like that. But when we saw that photo and the comments around it, then it was really something; like: ‘We’re role models.’ We had messages from a lot of young people, people of our age, but older people also,’ Harder told The Guardian after the now-famous kiss.

While Eriksson’s upbringing in cosmopolitan Stockholm made coming out a much easier process, Harder said that wasn’t quite the same for her in Denmark.

‘It was a bit like being a homosexual in this small place was weird and not normal, and no one was it. I think it’s important that environments are open and people can talk about it more. Then everyone can just be themselves,’ said the Danish superstar.

For Eriksson, one of world football’s most respected leaders, she is just determined to be someone gay people of all ages can look up to, and know it’s okay to be the way they are.

‘I think that’s when I felt the demand for role models in that way, because of how big it was (kiss at 2019 World Cup) and how many people wrote to me on Instagram saying they looked up to us and how much we’d helped them. That’s when I understood that we’re really powerful together,’ she said.

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