Women’s football is top of the agenda in Frankfurt on Monday 29 November, with the Official Draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ at the Congress Center from 19.30. German pop-rock combo Wir Sind Helden top the entertainment bill for the 45-minute show, in what is sure to be a highlight of a glittering evening.
The band, comprising Judith Holofernes (vocals), Mark Tavassol (bass, guitar), Jean-Michel Tourette (guitar, keyboards) and Pola Roy (drums), have released four albums to date: Die Reklamation (2003), Von hier an blind (2005), Soundso (2007), and this year’s acclaimed offering, Bring mich nach Hause.
In the build-up to the draw, FIFA.com spoke exclusively to Jean-Michel Tourette about women’s football and next summer’s global showdown.
FIFA.com: You’re playing at the Official Draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 at Frankfurt Congress Center. Is the gig a significant one for you?
Jean-Michel Tourette: It's an important event, and being part of the show is a great honour. It also ties up something of a loose end for us, as we were booked to play in Berlin at the men’s World Cup in 2006, but the gig was rained off.
Germany is to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time. How do you imagine the atmosphere in the country next summer?
It’ll be fantastic, no worries on that score! Women’s football has become much, much more popular in recent years, so there’ll definitely be huge interest. And as we saw in 2006, the entire nation gets enthusiastic about a tournament like this. I’m personally really looking forward to it.
What’s your overall assessment of the women’s game?
The passing’s very solid and there’s generally a lot of good technical skill on display. The pace is a little slower than the men’s game, but I’ve often seen some superb moves in the women’s game. In men’s football, that kind of creativity is often snuffed out before it can get going.
Who’s your women’s footballing hero?
What Birgit Prinz has achieved is incredibly impressive. But my wife can manage eight touches in keepy-up, which I can’t. So she’s my women’s footballing hero.
Who do you have as favourites to win the trophy next year?
Germany , of course!!
The German U-20 women won their FIFA World Cup on home soil earlier this year. Is that a good omen?
Definitely, and it also points to excellent youth development work.
Which team surprised you most in qualifying?
Now you’re testing my knowledge to the absolute limit, as I’m not exactly an expert. But I’ve heard New Zealand are going to be here, and I was startled by that... or are they one of the world-leading women’s football nations, and I’m revealing my total ignorance here?
Let’s have a prediction for the final. Which teams could meet in Frankfurt?
I’ll say Germany against Brazil – and we’ll win 3-1.
And what are your plans for the tournament? Will you attend any matches?
We’ll have to see, but I’d certainly like to...