In this month’s review of the major events in women’s football FIFA.com looks at a meeting between two international superpowers, the latest action on the road to Germany 2011 plus silverware decided in Europe.
Inaugural champions crowned in Europe
Turbine Potsdam were crowned winners of the inaugural UEFA Women's Champions League after defeating Olympique Lyon in a dramatic penalty shoot-out. 17-year-old goalkeeper Anna Felicitas Sarholz proved to be the unlikely hero with two penalty stops, helping the Germans to a 7-6 win on spot kicks after 120 goalless minutes. Over 1,000 fans turned out to welcome the Berlin-based club on their return from Madrid.
Gold Pride leap clear
Marta’s Gold Pride continue to set the pace in the WPS having won five consecutive matches to hold a four-point gap at the top after six rounds. New club Philadelphia Independence are second, a point clear of Sky Blue FC and Washington Freedom for whom Abby Wambach has been in sparkling form recording seven assists. Saint Louis Athletica’s Eniola Aluko heads the goalscoring charts with four goals to her name. The league will resume this weekend after a short break for international commitments.
Double triumph for Potsdam
Potsdam claimed a rare double by lifting the domestic crown after finishing their Frauen-Bundesliga campaign five points ahead of FCR 2001 Duisburg and eight points ahead of 1. FFC Frankfurt. Their only defeat over the course of the 22-match season was a 2-1 reversal at Frankfurt.
Gunners denied double
Arsenal continued their dominance in England by winning their seventh title in succession. In the final year of the Premier League, ahead of next season’s newly-launched FA Super League, the Gunners finished 11 points clear of Everton in second, with Chelsea a further point adrift. The Londoners didn’t have it all their own way though, having been denied a fifth consecutive FA Women’s Cup a week earlier as Everton won 3-2 in extra time thanks to a last-gasp winner from Natasha Dowie.
Heavyweight meeting ends in a knockout
World Champions and 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosts Germany suffered a major setback in their preparations as USA recorded a stunning 4-0 win in a friendly in Cleveland. The two highest ranked teams in world football proved to be a mismatch on this occasion as Germany suffered their third loss against USA in seven months, in what was their heaviest defeat in 14 years. Abby Wambach grabbed two goals while Kristine Lilly and Heather O'Reilly also found the net.
Road to Germany continues
The Ukraine beat Hungary 4-2 to keep alive their slim hopes of hunting down Poland, who sit at the top of Group 4. England returned to pole position in Group 5, narrowly ahead of Spain following a comfortable 6-0 victory against Malta. Hope Powell’s team will now look to maintain their grip at the top and reach September’s play-offs where four European qualifiers will be determined. A fifth team will compete in two-legged ties against a CONCACAF nation.
The qualification campaign finally commenced in Africa with reigning continental champions Equatorial Guinea virtually booked their berth in October’s African Women’s Championship in South Africa with a 5-1 win in Namibia, while Tanzania are all but mathematically assured of progression following their 8-1 triumph over Eritrea. Algeria and Tunisia played out a 1-1 draw, while multiple African champions Nigeria, as well as Ghana, Mali and Cameroon all won away, putting them in prime position to reach the eight-team tournament where two African representatives for Germanyy 2011 will be determined.
T&T 2010 a step closer
Infectious Caribbean rhythms set the stage for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010 earlier this month when the official draw was conducted. The host nation were dealt an intriguing hand after being pitted against holders Korea DPR, 2008 U-20 hosts Chile and African giants Nigeria. Also of interest will be Group D which features Canada, conquerors of the mighty USA during qualifying, Brazil, Ghana and a UEFA qualifier.
A highlight of the past month in women’s football development news was a FIFA Women’s football coaching course held in Senegal, gathering 21 coaches from across the country. A Women’s football consultancy has been organised by FIFA in Myanmar for later this month, which follows up a 2008 visit to monitor progress in the country and evaluate remaining challenges. In Asia, activities are scheduled in Timor-Leste, Vietnam and the Philippines for June.
26,282 - The German Cup final saw a European club record crowd of 26,282 in attendance as Duisburg defended their crown with a 1-0 win over FF USV Jena at the Rhein Energie Stadium.
"We were playing against skilful players, the Germans are very good. They got some good chances but the way she (USA goalkeeper Hope Solo) saved them – at least three – was fantastic. I think she is the best goalkeeper in the world."
USA coach Pia Sundhage on USA goalkeeper Hope Solo