Women’s World Cup has its own ‘Spygate’ after Australian newspaper publishes photos from England’s closed practice

England is gearing up for a Women's World Cup semifinal showdown with Australia. (REUTERS/Jaimi Joy)

England is gearing up for a Women’s World Cup semifinal showdown with Australia. (REUTERS/Jaimi Joy)

An Australian newspaper pulled a “Spygate”-style move the day before the Women’s World Cup second semifinal match between England and host country Australia.

The Daily Telegraph, a tabloid newspaper, flew a helicopter over England’s closed practice session, took photos and published them online Tuesday morning. The photos don’t show much, but they were still taken on a day when media weren’t allowed to attend practice.

The newspaper did something similar with the Australian team during Sam Kerr’s calf injury recovery earlier in the tournament.

“Welcome to the jungle, Lionesses, we’ve got fun and games,” the article read. “If England’s Lionesses thought they would happily fly into Wednesday night’s World Cup semi-final under the radar direct from their secret Central Coast hideaway, then they were in for a rude shock, as these exclusive images show.

“It might not be in the spirit of football, but after last month’s men’s Ashes cricket series we will let the moral arbiters England pass judgment on what is and isn’t acceptable in the world of sport.”

The English Football Association did not comment on the article, according to ESPN.

The term “Spygate” originated in 2007 when the NFL’s New England Patriots were accused of filming opposing team’s practices since 2007. A similar scandal also hit tennis this year when Carlos Alcaraz’s father was accused of filming Novak Djokovic’s training sessions throughout the Wimbledon tournament. Alcaraz eventually beat Djokovic in the final.

The Daily Telegraph is published by a subsidiary of News Corp — the Rupert Murdoch-owned company that also publishes The Wall Street Journal. A University of Canberra’s 2023 digital news report found the Daily Telegraph to be the second-least trusted newspaper in Australia behind only Sky News.

Whoever wins between England and Australia on Wednesday will face Spain in the World Cup final. It will be the first final appearance for either country’s women’s team.