Tuesday, September 11, 2007

FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007

Just kicked off is this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007, a competition often neglected by the media and all the more so this year, because of the Rugby World Cup France 2007. Women’s soccer is now the third most popular sport in the world and all the more reason why adidas are interested in attracting customerss by engaging designer, Stella McCartney. Women's (soccer) football became popular during the First World War when young men were off fighting and the leagues were suspended. Now in the workforce, women formed company teams and inter company competition leagues were popular. Women’s international matches started in 1920 with the first major fixture between Dick, Kerr’s Ladies (from Preston, UK) and a team from Paris. The English ladies (national team) took on their Scottish counterparts in the same year and thrashed them, 22 nil (nothing new there!). Women’s soccer proved so popular after the war that crowds of up to 53.000 came to see them play. Concerned at the potential to damage men’s soccer, the Football Association (England) took an unprecedented action in 1921 and banned women from playing the game on Association members' pitches on the pretext women’s soccer was distasteful. A similar decree was made by Scottish football authorities. Undaunted the English Ladies Football Association was formed and ladies soccer was played on rugby grounds and park football pitches. In 1969 the English Women’s FA was formed and the ban on playing on FA pitches was lifted two years later. Union of European Football Associations(UEFA) recommended the women’s game be taken under the control of the national associations in each country and the first professional team was established in 1984.In 1991, FIFA held the first Women's World Championship in the People’s Republic of China and the USA were the victors. It took almost a decade before the Women's United Soccer Association in the United States was established as an all-professional league for women. In this years' competition both Australia (The Matildas) and New Zealand (The Football Ferns) qualified and their first games start on the 12 September. The Matildas are in Group C and play Ghana; The Football Ferns are in Group D and play Brazil on the same day. Australia qualified through the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and New Zealand stormed through Oceania World Cup qualifiers with 100% clean sweep. Germany are favourites to pick up the cup again but host country, China may well have other ideas. Australia may be the dark horse of the competition in 2007 and USA are likely to be strong contenders, too.

Interesting Sites
Women’s Football
Competition fixtures
History of soccer boots
The English FA

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