Alisha Lehmann interview: Switzerland winger discusses journey from a countryside village to the Women's World Cup

Alisha Lehmann speaks to Sky Sports ahead of her Women's World Cup campaign with Switzerland; the 24-year-old talks about her journey from a Swiss country village to the biggest stage; Switzerland have the Philippines, Norway and New Zealand in their group

By Sam Blitz, @SamBIitz

Image: Alisha Lehmann is preparing for the World Cup with Switzerland

The social media frenzy, huge sponsorship deals and the lavish lifestyle - that has not always been Alisha Lehmann.

"I grew up in a country village in Switzerland," she tells Sky Sports thinking back to her time living in the outskirts of Bern. "When I go home, we still have a lot of animals - horses and dogs. Everything was so different.

"We just played street football all day. When a car came, we shouted: 'Car! Move!' It was so normal. Now it's a bit different!

"This makes me so humble because I can always think about this moment. There is a difference now, I live in a big city. But I never forget it."

Aston Villa forward Alisha Lehmann shares her vision of continuing to grow women's football and opens up about her online stardom.

From the small Swiss municipality to the biggest stage of them all. Lehmann is part of Switzerland's 23-player squad for this World Cup in Australia and New Zealand at a time when her status has never been higher.


But those kickabouts in her hometown still stay close to her mind.

Image: Alisha Lehmann is set to feature for Switzerland at the World Cup this summer

"When you play for your country, you remember where you came from," she says. "You have the badge of your country on your shirt, it means a lot.

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"I actually can't wait to play this World Cup. I was waiting all my life to do this because it's the biggest thing when you're a kid. You dream about the big World Cup and playing it.

"It's the biggest dream of every single footballer. It's amazing and I can't wait to be on the field and start it."

In the men's World Cup, Switzerland are regular dark horses in tournament football. Does the same apply to the women? "I hope so. We have a lot of potential stars in our team, but also big names as well."

Image: Arsenal's Lia Walti is Switzerland's captain and creative fulcrum

That is true. As well as Lehmann, WSL regulars will recognise Arsenal's Lia Walti and former Chelsea attacker Ramona Bachmann - now of PSG - among the Swiss ranks. Barcelona wide player Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic is another big talent that can cause damage to defences.

"Let's see," says Lehmann of her side's overall chances. "It's a tournament, and in a tournament anything can happen.

"You saw in the men's World Cup, so many teams surprised. Obviously we will give everything and make our country proud."

The biggest stage will bring one of the biggest audiences - and this Women's World Cup promises to become the biggest one yet.

It comes in a time where the popularity of women's football is at its highest in most countries participating in the tournament. Lehmann, who has used her 20m social media following across multiple platforms to promote the game despite the abuse and misogyny that exists online, knows that more than most.

"For sure, it's the most important World Cup in history," she claims. "Social media has never been as big as now and a lot has changed in women's football.

"Now we get accepted. We will get support, people will watch it and it's a big, big campaign."

One of the countries where women's football is yet to reach its pinnacle is Lehmann's native country. But that could soon change, with the 24-year-old at the heart of a new boost in the national game.

For the first time, Switzerland was chosen to host the European Championships in 2025. Lehmann has seen first hand the boost of England having a home tournament - and hopes a similar rise can happen in her home country.

"I couldn't believe it, it was a crazy feeling," Lehmann says when asked how it felt to see Switzerland chosen as Euros hosts. "It doesn't happen to a lot of players that a tournament will be in their own country.

"I love the fact that we can host it and we can show people our country - and that we can show people what Swiss football is.

"Football is not like what it is here in England, people don't really care about it. This is the best thing that could happen to us."

That - and a successful World Cup campaign, which is just around the corner now.,

"It makes me happy when my mum says: 'I'm proud of you'," Lehmann says. "It means so much.

"I went to England, played football and lived my dream and I just want to make them proud. And I do everything to make them happy."

Alisha Lehmann is a representative of Bootbag, the first-ever football scouting app of its kind. Watch the game, scout players across different divisions - including the Women's Super League - and earn points to win prizes.

Download the app here.

Alisha Lehmann's Women's World Cup predictions!

Image: Women's World Cup predictions from some of the game's biggest names...

Overall winners: England.

"They are an amazing team and they showed at the Euros that they can win a tournament."

Runners-up: USA.

"They are always a strong team, they won World Cups before."

Surprise package: Switzerland.

"We have a lot of potential and we can even be better."

Top goalscorer: Rachel Daly.

"She scored so many goals this season, she broke the WSL record here."

Player of the tournament: Lauren James.

"She's a young player, big talent and for me she's the best player in the world."

Stay up to watch the games or catch up in the morning? Stay up!

"It's a bit boring to watch it after you know the score. So change your time schedule!"

What is the World Cup schedule?

Image: The FIFA Women's World Cup is in Australia and New Zealand

The group stage will begin on July 20 and run over a two-week period finishing on August 3 and see group winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16, which takes place from August 5 to August 8.

The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled for August 11 and 12.

The first semi-final will then be played on August 15 in Auckland, with the other semi-final taking place on August 16 at the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final on August 20.

A third-place play-off will be played the day before the final on August 19 in Brisbane.

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