Monday, July 18, 2011

Women's World Champions Japan

Japan wins! Homare Sawa pic france24
So Nelly the Elephant picked Japan to win the women's world cup and she was right. Huge excitement for Japan winning 3-1 on penalties and devastation for the American team. Penalties, gutting way to finish but what an exciting game. 

Really positive feedback from everyone watching - by which I mean male football buddies discovering how great the women's game can be. Welcome to the party guys ;) Quoting Richard Chambers: "@griffinniamh I'm impressed by attendances/media coverage as well. The women's game might be catching on!"

Sawa had another great game, once more showing us how it can be done, the timing of the last goal. (Umm, I'm saying once more but I hadn't known much about her before this tournament. Learning) Plus being the first Asian team to win the women's tournament is not a bad story for the grandkids. 

The Americans must be heartbroken, they played so so well. Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan will be wondering what more they could have done to add to two great goals. Great minute-by-minute match report here if you missed out.

Third place
Sweden wins for 3rd pic soccerway

The third-place play-offs went to Sweden, edging past France in the 82nd minute, leaving it just a little fine. It must be strange to play on knowing you've lost the chance of the ultimate goal, but really third in the world is not at all a bad place to be. 

It's been an interesting few weeks for a non-obsessive-soccer fan like myself. Very exciting to see women's sport getting headlines and media space in most news outlets, to see match reports mostly lacking in accompanying comment on leg-length or hair-colour. By all accounts Germans took the tournament to their hearts, even after their hotly-tipped team was knocked out. This FIFA report says almost half of all TVs were tuned into the German-Nigeria match, just over 16 million. They compare that to the 18 million who watched the men's final from South Africa last year. All down to the high standard of games. CBC Canada summed it up well: "All in all, this has been a competition to remember. Perhaps it will be re-called as the year women's football went mainstream. This wasn't just a women's soccer event. This was a true World Cup."

It will be interesting to see if this level of attention continues - can the women's federations follow up with more great matches and continue to motivate girls to take up the sport?


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