The celebrations held to mark International Women’s Day lasted a day longer in Mexico City, where the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy™ was showcased for the first time on Mexican soil on Wednesday.
Attending the event, held at the city’s Hilton Hotel, was Steffi Jones, the President of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011 Local Organising Committee, who had this to say: “We are putting every effort into giving the tournament as high a profile as possible and to ensuring that participating teams are given every opportunity to contribute to the development of the women’s game.”
The Trophy’s arrival in the Mexican capital came on the latest leg of its tour of the 16 nations who will be taking part at Germany 2011. FIFA is organising the tour in conjunction with the tournament’s LOC, and with the Mexican Football Association making the warmest of hosts, together they welcomed a number of journalists, diplomats, players and the country’s football chiefs to take a close look at the coveted piece of silverware.
“We're delighted with everything the Organising Committee is doing,” said Justino Compean, the President of the Mexican FA. “We're very proud that they have had an audience with the First Lady, Margarita Zavala and are thrilled she saw fit to meet with them on International Women’s Day.
“Naturally an event of this scale is very important for our country,” he continued. “It shows that Mexico is viewed as a major sporting power, although we also know that we're great country as well. There's a lot of activity going on at the moment, all of it related to FIFA, and we're honoured that the eyes of the world are on Mexico and that the Trophy is with us. We feel privileged.”
Atoning for the past
Mexico’s record in the 20-year history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup is modest. Las Aztecas have not appeared in the world finals since USA 1999, but secured their return to the competition by beating their northern neighbours in the semi-finals of the qualifying tournament.
Back in the big time once more, all the Mexicans are thinking about now is breaking new ground and putting the past behind them. “We're very proud to be taking part in the women’s World Cup,” added an effusive Compean. “The girls deserve it. They’ve done a great job, as has the coaching staff led by Leo Cuellar.
“The Mexican FA has given its complete support to national women’s teams in all age categories,” he told FIFA.com. “We're pleased to see the results are coming and are certain we'll improve on our previous performances. This is a very fine team.”
A winning blend
Mexico’s biggest name is undoubtedly Maribel Dominguez, who has played in the US and for Barcelona and possesses the skills to go with her star status.
And while Dominguez and a clutch of other battle-hardened veterans provide the experience, Las Tricolores can also call on an exciting crop of young talents anxious to take their places in the global elite, among them Charlyn Corral, Monica Ocampo and Natalia Gomez Junco.
Drawn into Group B along with the seeded Japan, New Zealand and England, Mexico will not have it easy in what has all the makings of a very tight section. The skilful Japanese will be looking to convert their potential into results, the Kiwis’ goal is to prove they are on the way up, and England’s objective will be to show why their nation has always been regarded as one of the powerhouses of world football.
As for Mexico, the Tri girls are intent on making an impression this time and moving on from past disappointments, as Compean explained: “We have a great team that’s ready to put on a really good show in Germany.”