International Women's Day and the BBC announcing their deal to show all of the 2019 World Cup games live on the same week, it's almost like the scheduling gods, or goddesses for that matter, wanted us to interview The Women's Football Show presenter Eilidh Barbour.

In summer 2015 I found myself gutted and feeling empty and numb by and England football loss that knocked them out of a tournament. Nothing new there though, it's happened a lot, only this time it was because of England's brave women, not their inept male counterparts.

Of course the ending was the same, England go out to an unlucky but hideous piece of defending after not being able to finish their chances against Japan in the semi-finals.

But the feeling I got from that moment was not replicated when Iceland embarrassingly knocked England's men out of the Euros last summer. It almost made me laugh, women's football had more of an effect on me.

With the Euros coming up this summer and the BBC having won the rights to show all of the games in France in 2019 it was the perfect time to speak to Women's Football Show presenter and proud Scot Eilidh Barbour about the game.

Of course Barbour is excited about the World Cup news in two years time, "It's brilliant. I was out in Canada in 2015 and it was an incredible event, as North America tend to do. And I know that France will want to follow that up.

"It just keeps growing year on year, just look we're going to be in for a great summer this year with the Euros and another 2 years on from that it's going to be another huge affair. I can't wait to be out there, I hope Scotland make it."

And she believes that England and the other home nations could be in a good position for 2019, especially with England beating the World Champions USA last weekend, "When I went out for the World Cup I was covering other teams. We crossed when England played Canada in the quarters and I was so impressed with the England team.

"I'd seen the play in qualifiers but to see them play on that stage against the hosts in front of a real home support it was such an incredible performance. For them to go on and achieve what they did at that World Cup surpassed my expectations.

"They've grown even further since then and they go into the Euros as one of the favourites and quite rightly so. And I just think they keep surprising, keep doing things we don't expect them to do like beating America the other day.

" Scotland have qualified for their first major championship this summer. I think they should have been in one before but they're in one now, which is brilliant. And there's not much between Scotland and Wales at the moment. (Editor's note- Scotland and Wales drew 0-0 with Scotland winning on penalties roughly 24 hours after this interview).

"Northern Ireland have had some good results. So it's all building well.Hopefully we can get a World Cup likes the mens Euros last year with as many teams qualifying a possible. "

However it's not just the Euros and the World Cup with an international flavour to it. The upcoming FA Women's Soccer League will also have a lot of the eyes of the world on it now that Ballon d'Or holder Carli Lloyd has joined Manchester City.

The BBC's host is clearly excited by the addition of the world's best women's player, "It's huge. She's an incredible talent but she also brings with her a star quality in terms of the reach she can reach with social media and the amount of supporters she has....

"It shows how much the league, interest and quality has grown. It's going to be an incredibly competitive season and they (Lloyd, Cryss Dunn and Heather O'Reilly) will bring with them experience of big matches, talent ability and like I say they also bring with them that star quality that can only rub off on those they're playing with."

Last season Manchester City won the WSL and went the entire league season unbeaten but Barbour doesn't believe that they'll be as dominant this season and is predicting a much closer title race, "The thing with the WSL is no one really dominates for long and I don't think City will dominate the league this season. They could very well go on and win it but I think we'll see Arsenal be far more competitive this season.

"Chelsea will be competitive again. And yes, City have Lloyd but there's very good players elsewhere. Whoever wins this season will have to have a very good season because it's looking on paper like it could be one of the most competitive seasons so far.

"...I'm going to say it'll be between City and Chelsea and I don't think Arsenal will be far behind. I don't think we'll see a season like last year when one team is unbeaten. I think everyone will lose games this season. It'll be a struggle to compete with the top teams for everyone else."

However it's not all positive in women's football in England and the St Johnstone fan agreed that the lack of a Manchester United team in women's football is disappointing, "Of course it is. Manchester United are probably the biggest team in England in my lifetime. The fact they don't have a women's team is a huge disappointment because they would continue to grow the game in the country."

Although Barbour also reveals it's not all bad at Old Trafford, "But they do have an academy structure, they do have a very good training centre where young girls are able to develop their skills at a young girl but it would like to finish that pathway, of course it would. I don't know if there are discussions at Manchester United for that happening.

"...I don't know their reasons. Of course it's disappointing when such a huge global brand haven't embraced the women's game, hopefully they will."

The England players in a team huddle

Women's sport in the mainstream is growing, partially due to the Women's Football Show a long with BBC's coverage of international women's football and the Women's Six Nations.

Of course more can be done but one of the issues the presenter thinks is people's perceptions and the comparison with men's sport, "I think the thing that will always hold women's football back is comparing it to men's football. It's different. It's a different way of playing the game, it's a different way of looking at the game, it's a different game to watch.

"But that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable, it's extremely enjoyable to watch. When people stop comparing it and realise it's not the same and people watching understand it's not meant to be the same then you will understand you're watching something very good with a high technical ability.

"It's important to have it [Women's sport in mainstream media]. If you can't spread the word and show people what the sport is then you can't have any followers.

"Fact that every game in the World Cup is on BBC in 2 years time, the fact that WSL has regular slots on the BBC and on BT it is putting the women's game out there and people are watching it.

"You can't force people to like it just like you can't force them to like other sports but I think when people do watch it, they'll realise it's a good sport to watch, it is entertaining and it is skilfull.

"It's a great sport for young girls to be part of. I've met great friends, made great memories and travelled around the UK and further afield and had great times."

It's been a very exciting couple of years in women's football and looking forward to 2019 it's certainly going to be even more exciting.

On International Women's Day it's worth baring in mind that our international women's game is doing pretty well, but then so is our domestic game!

Ryan Sidle

Ryan is a writer for SPORTbible. He covers all sport from football, formula one, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics, mma and wrestling. He obviously hates YOUR football team and has no interest in synchronised swimming.

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock comment cursor facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp ODDSbible