Qualification for Cameroon, redemption for Canada and an Equatorial Guinea striker proving her worth in Germany: all these stories feature in the latest women's football roundup from FIFA.com. Elsewhere, we take a look at what's happening in both west and south-east Asia, as well as Australia and Palestine. Happy reading!
Power shift in Africa
There will be two nations representing Africa at the 2012 Women's Olympic Football Tournament in London. South Africa and Cameroon have long waited in the shadows of more established regional powers, but now neither can wait to step into the spotlight in the motherland of modern football next summer. While Banyana Banyana secured their place with a 4-1 aggregate victory over Ethiopia, Cameroon required a penalty shoot-out to overcome Nigeria, whose coach Eucharia Uche subsequently resigned her post.
The road to Sweden
Several of the favourites dropped points over the past month in qualifying for the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 in Sweden. England passed up the chance to take over the leadership of the Group 6 table following a goalless draw in the Netherlands and Group 5 leaders Finland were held to a 2-2 draw in Belarus. Scotland's 2-2 draw at home to Wales allowed unbeaten France to further extend their lead at the top of Group 4, while reigning European champions Germany remain second in Group 2 on six points, trailing leaders Spain (nine points) with a game in hand. Silvia Neid's star ensemble, who beat 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup™ bronze medallists Sweden 1-0 in a friendly last week thanks to a solitary strike from Alexandra Popp, travel to Spain for a potentially decisive clash on 24 November.
Canada back on track
Following their disappointing early exit from Germany 2011, Canada are well on course to redeeming themselves under the tutelage of new coach John Herdman. The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup hosts reigned supreme at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, thanks to a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory in the final over Brazil - who were without star player Marta. Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was the hero with two saves in the shoot-out. Hosts Mexico took the bronze medal.
UAE maintain advantage
The United Arab Emirates are going from strength to strength in the world of international women's football. The hosts successfully defended their title in the fourth edition of the WAFF Championship between 3 and 12 October in Abu Dhabi, beating Iran in the final on penalties. Beforehand, Bahrain claimed victory in the match for third place against Jordan, winners of the first two editions of the tournament in 2005 and 2007. The closeness of the results once again demonstrated that the range of top-level teams capable of competing at the elite end of women's football is broadening in western Asia too.
Major triumph for Thailand
Thailand further increased its standing among south-east Asia's major women's football players with victory at the AFF Championship last week. After runners-up finishes in both 2007 and 2009, success was especially sweet for Jatuporn Pamolbal's charges, who beat Myanmar 2-1 in the final in Vientiane, Laos, showing plenty to suggest they have a very bright international future ahead.
Anonman confirms her class
On the back of her highly impressive performances and two goals for Equatorial Guinea at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, Genoveva Anonman is now proving her quality in the Women's Bundesliga. The 22-year-old has already netted eleven goals in seven matches for Turbine Potsdam, putting her way out in front at the top of the scoring charts. Unsurprisingly, reigning champions Potsdam and cup winners 1. FFC Frankfurt are neck-and-neck at the top of the standings, each with seven victories from as many games. "For me, the Bundesliga is the best league in the world," said Anonman in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, the full version of which can be read by clicking the link on the right.
Europe's finest collide
There promises to be plenty of drama and excitement as the UEFA Women's Champions League resumes with the Round of 16 this week. 1. FFC Frankfurt welcome Paris Saint-German and Potsdam entertain Glasgow City on Wednesday evening, before titleholders Olympique Lyon travel to Sparta Prague the following night. "I'm expecting a very difficult match," said Frankfurt and Germany's veteran goalkeeper Nadine Angerer ahead of her side's home clash.
Major progress was made in Dura, a suburb of Hebron in the West Bank, a few weeks ago as reigning world champions Japan travelled to play a friendly match against a Palestinian women's XI. Though Japan, who took to the field without any members of their FIFA Women's World Cup-winning squad, emerged comprehensive 21-0 winners, the hosts could nonetheless be proud. Ultimately the emphasis was less on the result than the significance of the fixture.
Just a few days later, on 25 October 2011, FIFA Task Force Football 2014 convened for their second meeting at the Home of FIFA in Zürich. Among those present was Tracy Lu, a member of both the Women's Football and FIFA Women's World Cup committees. The Chinese official joined FIFA.com for an exclusive interview after the event, which you can read in its entirety by following the link on the right.
211 - The number of top-flight appearances made across Europe by former Germany defender Ariane Hingst, who played for Turbine Potsdam (160 appearances) and 1. FFC Frankfurt (34) in the Women's Bundesliga and Djurgarden IF (17) in the Swedish top tier between 1997 and 2011. The 32-year-old, who earned the last of her 174 international caps at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, now embarks on a fresh adventure with Australian outfit Newcastle Jets.
"We've got a high-performance environment here with enormous resources in terms of active players. Our talent reservoir is very large. With a few structural adjustments, the team can definitely establish itself among the top four worldwide."
Newly-installed Canada coach John Herdman on his team's prospects in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com.