Women’s football is the subject of growing interest all over the world, and not just due to the imminent Final Draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ in Frankfurt. FIFA.com has scanned the globe for our October review of the women’s game, where we turn the spotlight on Jordan, Korea Republic, Paraguay and the Netherlands.
Suwon claim Korea Republic crown
The virtue of rolling up your sleeves and never accepting a cause is lost has recently served Suwon FMC well in the South Korean WK-League. The club from Suwon, a city of about a million inhabitants some 50 km south of Seoul, finished second behind Incheon Hyundai Steel in the regular season. And though they also lost the play-off final first leg 1-0, they won the return 2-0 and with it the national championship. Suwon spent last season in the lower reaches of the table, but the arrival of former Brazil internationals Karina and Barbara and new coach Lee Sung-Kyun has transformed the club’s fortunes.
Potsdam and Duisburg stride clear
For the first time in recent memory, a three-way title fight is brewing in the German Women’s Bundesliga. FFC Frankfurt, the nation’s most successful club, fell some way short of their normal high standards in the previous two seasons, but the team spearheaded by star names Birgit Prinz, Ariane Hingst and Nadine Angerer appears a much more formidable proposition this time. Champions Turbine Potsdam lead the standings, but Frankfurt are just a point behind in second. "Our aim is to finish the season a place higher,” coach Sven Kahlert declared. Champions League winners FCR Duisburg are five points behind Potsdam in third.
Places in Germany going fast
By the end of September, seven nations - England, Sweden, Norway, France, Australia, Japan and Korea DPR – had booked their places to join hosts Germany at the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in 2011. October took the total number of confirmed starters to nine after New Zealand claimed the spot available to Oceania nations. In Europe, Italy won the ‘consolation’ contest between the teams defeated in the qualifying play-offs, and now compete for the final ticket to Germany with the team finishing third in CONCACAF qualifying. The two-legged intercontinental showdown takes place on 20 and 27 November.
In Africa and the above-mentioned North, Central America and Caribbean region, the qualifying berths for the finals will be handed out on the basis of the respective continental championships, which take place shortly in South Africa and Mexico. The South American equivalent starts next week in Ecuador. Follow the link to the right of this story for more information about the tournaments.
Korea Republic steal the show
Three FIFA Women’s World Cup candidates travelled to Korea Republic to contest the Peace Queen Cup from 17 to 23 October, hoping for a confidence boost ahead of the momentous challenges in 2011. However, England and New Zealand both packed for home after consecutive goalless draws, and Australia had to be content with the runners-up spot in the six-nation event, as the hosts unexpectedly came up trumps.
The Koreans opened with goalless draws against both England and New Zealand, who then also drew 0-0 in the final group fixture. That meant lots had to be drawn to settle the group, and Lady Luck handed the hosts a berth in the final against the Australians, who beat Mexico 3-1 and Chinese Taipei 1-0 in the other group. Korea beat the Matildas 2-1 to win the trophy for the first time. The two previous editions of the tournament both went to the USA, who did not take part on this occasion. The player of the tournament was Australia striker Kate Gill, who finished top scorer on three goals.
Triumph and joy for Jordan
At the Arabia Cup from 18 to 28 October in Bahrain, Jordan covered themselves in glory as Stefani Al-Naber netted the only goal of the final to seal a 1-0 victory over Egypt and a third trophy to go with two West Asia championships. Jordan not only lived up to their billing as the best women’s football team in the Arab world and amassed valuable points for the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, but also took home an invitation to a training camp with reigning world champions Germany.
FIFA Women’s World Cup hosts running into form
Germany’s preparations for next summer’s global showdown remained on track with a 2-1 friendly victory over Asian champions Australia. A 7,229 crowd in Wolfsburg saw Samantha Kerr hand the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007 quarter-finalists an early lead, but Inka Grings and Martina Muller scored either side of half-time to turn the game around in favour of Silvia Neid’s team. "The Australians pushed us all the way,” commented the Germany coach.
Reijners handed Dutch hot seat
The Netherlands woman’s national team has a new Bondscoach. As confirmed by the official Dutch FA (KNVB) website, Roger Reijners will take up the position vacated by Vera Pauw on 1 November. The 46-year-old, former boss at second division Fortuna Sittard, has agreed terms up to and including the 2016 Olympic Football Tournament. "I’m very excited by the challenge,” Reijners declared.
Two Com-Unity seminars in Paraguay and Gambia took centre stage in October. "Our priority target is to construct 12 new playing fields, with two exclusively reserved for the women’s game,” announced Paraguay FA (AFP) President Juan Angel Napout. The event in Gambia attracted no fewer than 120 participants, all committed to accelerating the development of women’s football in the country.
The schedule for the month included a further 11 training and development courses all over the world. At the time of writing, Andrea Rodebaugh and Diego Guacci are leading an event in Mexico timed to coincide with FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying in North, Central America and the Caribbean.
10 – The number of players nominated for the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2010, to be awarded on 10 January 2011 in Zurich. To examine and evaluate the list for yourself, simply follow the link to the right of this story.
"We’re determined to be part of the Women’s World Cup in Germany. It's the only thing we’re talking about as a team. We have a feeling we can make it - it’s definitely possible!" South Africa captain Simphiwe Dludlu.