Nena didn't sing, Magdalena Neuner didn't race, Ulrike Folkerts didn't investigate and Shary Reeves didn't present, as a host of stars set aside their normal jobs to focus fully on the unveiling of a very special team. The "First XI for 2011" made its public debut live on German national TV on 30 September 2008 when the venues for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 were officially announced at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. The team, comprising 11 well-known female personalities, was unveiled to the public by Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel.
"We're extremely proud that our preparations for the first Women's World Cup on German soil will receive the support of this team. We want everybody literally to be a part of it again in 2011. We'll illustrate this using the individual team members, who are drawn from a variety of backgrounds and age groups, to appeal to society as a whole," explained Organising Committee (OC) President Steffi Jones.
German FA (DFB) President Dr. Theo Zwanziger said: "Our most important aim is to use the forthcoming World Cup and the power of football to make our contribution in socio-political areas such as integration and strengthening women's rights around the world. Our 11 fantastic women, all of them role models and popular figures in their fields, are fully committed to this goal."
Sportswoman of the Year 2007 Magdalena Neuner, Franziska van Almsick and Olympic gold medallist Britta Heidemann represent the world of sport. Beatrice Weder di Mauro, leading economist and a member of the prestigious German Council of Economic Experts, flies the flag for business and commerce. The artistic and cultural scene is represented by Dr. Maria Furtwangler, actor and author Renan Demirkan, TV drama star Ulrike Folkerts and singer Nena. The media personalities on the First XI team are ZDF presenter Dunja Hayali, actor and presenter Shary Reeves and Monica Lierhaus.
"We are especially delighted that Chancellor Angela Merkel accepted the invitation to be present at the team's first appearance. To continue the footballing analogy, we could hardly wish for a better head coach than the Chancellor. She supports girls' and women's football with the highest levels of personal commitment and personally encouraged the DFB to bid to host the 2011 finals," Steffi Jones observed.
Statements by team members of the "First XI for 2011"
I'm looking forward to the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011™ because...
Beatrice Weder di Mauro
"It can help create a national mood just as positive as it was for the men's World Cup in 2006. For German society, that would provide a significant and welcome boost, and not merely from an economic perspective: it could again prove very effective around the world in image terms."
"It will be a massive event with attractive, exciting top-level sport, and a joyful festival bringing people together, both for the athletes from around the world and spectators all over the globe. I'm convinced there will be enormous interest in the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany. I'm looking forward to packed stadiums, and I'll be backing Germany to defend the trophy a second time, in front of a passionate home crowd."
Franziska van Almsick
"This huge event recognises and rewards the development of this form of the sport exactly where the success has been at its greatest and the passion has proved the most durable. Holding the World Cup in Germany makes sense, and, like an Olympic torch, it will reinforce the good image of the host nation around the world in the hearts of both women and men."
"We'll again host a major sports event attracting attention from all over the globe, further underlining the significance and status women's football long ago achieved in Germany."
Dr. Maria Furtwangler
"We can expect some fantastic performances, with vast crowds sent into raptures by the skill of the principal characters and the one-off random dramaturgy of a football match."
"It will be another milestone in the history of German sport, and - especially thanks to the opportunity presented by the medium of television - can emphatically prove to the world that, after the men's World Cup, women footballers are also capable of igniting tremendous passions throughout the country."
"Girl power is important. The World Cup is like a top concert - it needs creativity, positive energy, physical effort and emotion. They also both unite people and cultures. Let's make this an unforgettable experience! "
"When I imagine the millions of fans avidly following the action, I start to dream. I see a huge hand around the globe, pushing the continents together, and suddenly we're all children, playing on a brilliant green meadow under a gigantic mulberry tree - with poems in every language and pictures in every colour - between an orchestra featuring every instrument from every culture. We race against each other, swim, jump and play football. The gods are smoking the pipe of peace, and the diversity of our backgrounds becomes our school and our textbooks. And girls and guys are responsible for the success of our endeavours in exactly equal parts. I'm so thrilled by this dream; I can hardly wait for kick-off."
"It'll be colourful and thrilling - out on the pitch, in the stands, at the Public Viewing areas and everywhere. The sun will come out and everyone, from grandparents through to the kids, will have a huge amount of fun. Or maybe not? What can the Women's World Cup offer that the fantastic men's event in 2006 didn't? That's right: the trophy and a third triumph for our women. It's something we can all look forward to."
"This stage, with its audience of millions, features women in the lead roles, earning a high and widespread degree of popular recognition for their skill, triumphs and convincing performances. "
"I'm an unbelievably passionate football fan, because I'd love us to have another fairytale summer, and because football's so much more than simply sport."