Busy start to new year
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With the brief mid-season break consigned to history, the weekly review of women's club football around the world returns to FIFA.com. This week, we focus on Europe and Australia.

In the French Division 1 Feminin, Olympique Lyon recovered top spot at the weekend, after previous leaders Juvisy FCF dropped points. In Spain, Barcelona continue to set the pace, while the sense of anticipation is high in Australia ahead of the play-off round.

France: Lyon reclaim top spot
The French top flight kicked off again on 7 January, with an immediate change at the top of the standings. Patrice Lair’s Lyon side slipped to second on Matchday 7 and have since been cast in the role of pursuers to leaders Juvisy. However, Lyon chalked up a comfortable 3-0 victory over St Etienne on Sunday and reclaimed first place in the standings, thanks to a goalless draw between Juvisy and Montpellier. Liar’s team now hold a one-point advantage over the previous leaders. Paris St Germain also made up ground, as Camillo Vaz’s side defeated Soyaux 2-0 and leapfrogged Montpellier into third.

Top three: Olympique Lyon (50), Juvisy (49), Paris St Germain (45)

Spain: Barcelona in charge
In the Spanish Superliga de Futbol Femenino, the Barcelona women's team continue to emulate the high-flying men's side. Coach Xavi Llorens and his troops have yet to lose this term, winning 16 of their 17 matches so far, and dropping only two points in a solitary draw. The leaders opened the new calendar year with consecutive victories, a 6-0 stroll against Reocin Racing, and a 3-0 success against Sporting de Huelva.

However, the Catalans do not have the title in the bag just yet, as Athletic Club Bilbao are not far behind in second with a record of 15 wins, one draw and just one defeat. Bilbao recorded a narrow 2-1 victory over Prainsa Zaragoza, before handing Llanos Olivenza a thumping 6-0 hiding. Erika Vazquez Morales scored four of her side’s six against Olivenza, and has made a significant contribution to the team's success so far with a total of 13 goals.

In third spot, Barcelona-based Espanyol are certainly an outside bet for the title, but are by no means out of contention yet. The team coached by Luis Carrion Delgado scored nine goals in their last two matches, back-to-back victories over Atletico Malaga (5-0) and Zaragoza (4-0).

Top three: Barcelona (49), Athletic Club Bilbao (46), RCD Espanyol de Barcelona (42)

Australia: Last four confirmed
In the Australian W-League, Canberra United look a good bet for a maiden championship title. The women from the capital finished the regular season undefeated, beating Adelaide United 5-0 to seal first place in the standings and march convincingly into the play-offs. Canberra’s semi-final opponents are Melbourne Victory, who beat Adelaide 4-1 to secure fourth place and a play-off berth. Katrina Gorry, Ashley Brown, Caitlin Friend and Kendall Fletcher scored the goals for Melbourne.

Reigning champions Brisbane Roar made sure of second place in the regular season with wins in their last two matches. Coach Jeff Hopkins’ side beat Newcastle United Jets 3-1, and followed that up with a narrow 1-0 triumph against Sydney. Sydney do not have to wait long for a shot at revenge, as they now provide the semi-final opposition for champions Roar.

Australian W-League semi-finals:
Canberra United-Melbourne Victory, 21 January 2012 (McKellar Park, Canberra)
Brisbane Roar-Sydney, 22 January 2012 (Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre, Brisbane)

Italy: Neck and neck at the top
Ten games into the Italian Women's Serie A campaign, two teams are engaged in a fierce fight for top spot, as both ASD Bardolino Verona and Sassari Torres have amassed 25 points so far. Sassari claimed a share of the lead courtesy of a 2-0 victory over ACF Milan, as Verona were held to a 1-1 draw by Venezia 1984. The top two now have identical records of eight wins, one draw and one defeat. Brescia are only two points behind in third, but at the opposite end of the standings, GS Roma CF have yet to win this season. Coach Selina Mazzantini's team occupy last place at the moment with just three points and a goal difference of -16.

Top three: ASD Bardolino (25), Sassari Torres CF (25), ACF Brescia Femminile (23)