Another big month of women’s football, both internationally and domestically, was crowned by the meeting of Germany and USA before a bumper crowd in Augsburg. There has also been absorbing action across the globe on the club scene, and as always FIFA.com reviews the latest news in women’s football.
Potsdam on top again
The German Bundesliga is proving to be an intriguing see-saw battle for supremacy, with a variety of clubs staking a claim for top spot in recent weeks. Former UEFA Cup winners Duisburg could only manage a 1-1 draw on home soil against Saarbrücken last weekend, allowing reigning champions FFC Turbine Potsdam to move into pole position. The club from the Berlin region secured an impressive 4-1 home victory against former big gun FFC Frankfurt, with young German striking sensation Anja Mittag collecting a hat-trick. Traditional giants Frankfurt are struggling in fourth place, having already lost three matches this campaign.
Chelsea replicates men’s success
In recent seasons, Everton have been the only club threatening to challenge Arsenal's monopoly in England, but the current season is providing a different scenario. Chelsea overcame a struggling Everton recently in a 5-3 thriller and currently sit atop the ladder, though London rivals Arsenal still have a number of matches in hand. Sunderland are also enjoying a stint in the limelight and are behind Chelsea only on goal difference, though the Northerners have played three matches more.
Mariners set sail for title
In the Australian W-League, the Central Coast Mariners are hoping to achieve a stunning title swoop entering the penultimate round of action. The unfancied Mariners have a one-point lead on the star-studded Brisbane Roar, even though the reigning champions have not tasted defeat for 18 matches. Little-known striker Michelle Heyman has led the way for the Mariners, scoring ten goals in just eight matches, ably supported by USA duo Lydia Vandenbergh and Kendall Fletcher. Sydney FC are also worth watching, as they sit just two points off the pace ahead of the four-team finals series.
World titans clash
Late last month, Germany hosted USA in a titanic meeting between the combined winners of the past three editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The US will be hoping the result is a positive omen ahead of Germany 2011, with the Stars and Stripes prevailing 1-0 thanks to a first-half goal from prolific striker Abby Wambach. The match in the southern city of Augsburg attracted a bumper crowd of 28,367
Oranje in trouble
The Netherlands have experienced a major setback in the latest European qualifiers for Germany 2011, with Vera Pauw's ambitious side only managing a 1-1 draw on home soil against Belarus, following a 3-0 reversal in Norway a month earlier. Also facing difficulties are Belgium and Ukraine, who have both dropped a number of points. On the other side of the ledger Russia, Finland, Spain and France have built up momentum and are on track for qualification.
Asian teams a step closer
The draw for one of the world’s most competitive qualifying zones took place last weekend, with Asian nations now knowing what stands between them and a ticket to Germany 2011. Three teams will progress from the eight-nation tournament which will be played in China next May. Group A features DPR Korea, Japan, Myanmar and Thailand, while Group B pits together China, Australia, Vietnam and Korea Republic. Asia features two teams in the top ten of the FIFA Women's World Ranking, Japan and Korea DPR, with China and Australia ranked 12th and 14th respectively.
Japanese starlet crowned
Japan prodigy Mana Iwabuchi was named the AFC Women’s Youth Player of the Year earlier this week, ahead of Korea Republic pair Ji So-Yun and Kim Da-Hye. The diminutive NTV Beleza forward won for the second year running after also being named the tournament’s best player at the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship in August.
Another busy month in FIFA’s development activities included two consultancies in Qatar and Jordan aimed at helping the respective Member Associations better organise women’s football. November also witnessed a national course take place in Moldova as well as a regional course in Trinidad & Tobago that, as part of the build-up to next year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, involved 14 Member Associations from the Caribbean region. Yet perhaps the highlight of the month was a Women’s Football Development seminar for African nations, which ran from 19 to 22 November in Tunisia. Numerous prominent figures in African women’s football were present as 12 Member Associations came together for the first seminar of its kind in North Africa to consider how best to continue the fine recent progress made in developing the female game in the mother continent.