July was a busy month for women’s football, with the world U-20 finals unfolding in Germany, England and USA impressing at senior level, and the WPS continuing apace. FIFA.com reflects, and looks forward to the upcoming UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Germany 2010 successful on all fronts
The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010 proved to be a resounding triumph both on and off the pitch. On the field, the hosts were deservedly crowned champions thanks to a 2-0 win over Nigeria in the decider. In the process the Germans unveiled a host of new stars, including the final's two scorers, Kim Kulig and Alexandra Popp, the latter receiving both the adidas Golden Shoe and Golden Ball awards. The west Africans, for their part, achieved new heights by reaching the final of a women's tournament that was highlighted by the rise of a new guard, with the other two semi-finalists, Korea Republic and Colombia, also claiming unprecedented success. Off the field, nearly 400,000 spectators filled the stands in Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Bielefeld, providing much colour and atmosphere across all the matches. The event left fans eagerly anticipating next June, when the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™ kicks off in Berlin.
England a step closer to the world stage
A quiet month in European qualifying for Germany 2011 saw England become just the second nation to claim a berth in September’s play-offs alongside Italy. Rachel Yankey, celebrating her 100th international, scored the opening goal in a player-of-the-match performance as England beat Turkey 3-0. The only other game during July was Northern Ireland's 3-0 victory over Estonia.
USA maintain momentum
USA again showed their strength on the international stage as Pia Sundhage’s team scored a comprehensive 3-0 win over Sweden to continue their impressive preparations for their Germany 2011 qualifiers later this year. Following an earlier 1-1 draw between the sides, Abby Wambach scored yet another international brace, while defender Rachel Buehler donned the captain’s armband for the first time as the US increased their undefeated run to 30 matches, dating back to the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in 2008.
Prolific month for Marta
Brazilian maestro Marta has been in irresistible form for her Women's Professional Soccer side FC Gold Pride during July, scoring seven goals and helping the Bay Area club take an almost unassailable lead at the top of the standings, with Philadelphia Independence now a distant second. Similarly on the scoring chart, Marta has stolen a march on her rivals and now has a tally of 13 goals after 16 rounds of the competition. The reigning FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year has formed a formidable strike partnership with Canada’s Christine Sinclair, who has bagged eight goals to sit third on the scroing list, with Philadelphia’s USA international Amy Rodriguez in between the pair on eleven goals.
European elite take first step on long journey
The second season of the UEFA Women's Champions League commences this week, and continues throughout August, with the qualifying round. A number of four-team groups will be played with just the respective sections winners to progress to the last 32. Former European champions Umea of Sweden and German big guns Duisburg will be looking to advance, where the likes of inaugural competition victors Turbine Potsdam await.
FIFA’s Development department, together with the German Football Federation (DBF), organised a ten-day course during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. It was attended by coaches from 14 European countries plus representatives from Rwanda, Mozambique and Namibia, who each benefited from theory sessions and the opportunity to analyse matches live in Bielefeld and Bochum. FIFA Development also held a course in the Philippines, which was attended by 18 female and seven male coaches.
12,353 – The average spectator attendance at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010.
“The fact that the last four teams in the tournament come from four different confederations proves that women’s football is developing on all continents,” FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.