July has been another momentous month in the world of women’s football, with a first EAFF title for Korea DPR and a remarkable sixth for Germany at the UEFA Women’s EURO. With news of these tournaments, a high-profile sacking and some intriguing transfers, FIFA.com provides its usual round-up of the month's key events.
Germany retain the throne
Throughout the group phase of the Women’s EURO, it seemed that everyone was predicting the end of Germany’s reign at this continental showpiece. Yet despite the fine form of teams such as France, hosts Sweden and Norway – who beat the reigning champions during those early stages – the tournament ended with a familiar name inscribed on the trophy. Germany, while not dazzling, did what they have always done best: win. While Norway again posed problems during an evenly matched final, a solitary goal from Anja Mittag – and two outstanding penalty saves by Nadine Angerer – ensured a sixth successive title for the serial European queens. The tournament’s adidas Golden Boot, meanwhile, was won by Sweden’s Lotta Schelin, whose five-goal haul allowed her to edge team-mate Nilla Fischer and Louisa Necib of France.
Bini bows out
Having been considered favourites to end the German monopoly – and having justified that status with their early performances – France were stunned to crash out of the Women’s EURO at the quarter-final stage to Denmark. For coach Bruno Bini, the consequence of such a disappointing end to a campaign that had promised so much was the end of his six-and-a-half year tenure. "We have lots of respect for Bruno, a very pleasant and professional man who has guided the squad with a humane touch which you don't tend to see in football,” FFF president Noel Le Graet said. “He's taken the team forward every year and contributed to them giving an exceptional account of themselves. But it was time to change." That change will come in the form of Bini’s successor, Philippe Bergeroo, a former France international goalkeeper who assisted Aime Jacquet in Les Bleus’ triumphant 1998 FIFA World Cup™ campaign.
Korean collaboration at EAFF Cup
July also witnessed Korea DPR celebrate victory at the EAFF Women’s East Asian Cup in Seoul, although it was the manner of their success that proved most eye-catching. The North Koreans were, after all, indebted to their rivals in the south, Korea Republic, for the title. The tournament hosts were out of the running for the title having lost their opening two matches and up against the seeming champions-elect Japan in their final match. However, they somehow pulled off a 2-1 victory that left the Japanese empty-handed and sparked celebrations among their northern neighbours. A heart-warming element to this climax was the willingness of both Korean sides to pose together for photographs afterwards, an act of powerful symbolism as their respective nations celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.
Matildas enjoy French fillip
Without a win in their previous five matches, Australia’s women headed into a friendly with France on 6 July as firm underdogs. That backdrop made their shock 2-0 win all the more satisfying, with plenty of encouraging signs on show for coach Hesterine De Reus. Tameka Butt and Katrina Gorry were the players on target as this new generation of Matildas gave a glimpse of their potential in a determined and disciplined performance.
Play-off contenders jostle for position
It has been something of a mixed month for the teams at the top of USA’s NWSL, with inconsistent results a feature of the open and unpredictable league. FC Kansas City currently lead the way, four points clear of the chasing pack, despite having begun the month with a run of three successive draws. FCKC should clinch a play-off spot this weekend, and may yet be joined by Sky Blue FC and Portland Thorns FC depending on results. The latter two meet this evening, with Sky Blue hoping to end a poor run that has seen them lose two and draw one of their last three fixtures.
Wolfsburg, PSG declare intent
The comings and goings in men’s football might have dominated the sports pages, but there have also been some eye-catching transfers over the past month in the women’s game. Paris Saint-Germain were at the heart of the market activity, bringing France internationals Marie-Laure Delie and Laura Georges back to the capital from Montpellier and Lyon respectively. Wolfsburg also enjoyed a double boost, agreeing a new contract with captain Nadine Kessler before announcing the signing of Sweden centre-half Nilla Fischer, one of the EURO’s standout players. "We are happy to have signed such an experienced defender,” coach Ralf Kellermann said. “Nilla is a top player and she showed that throughout the European Championship."
41,301 – The tournament record crowd that turned out in Stockholm to cheer on Germany and Norway in the UEFA Women’s EURO final. Overall ticket sales also set a new benchmark, with 216,888 snapped up over the course of an entertaining and well-received competition.
“Women’s football is getting stronger and prejudices are disappearing. If the current progress continues, some Arab countries could reach the European top level within the next 30 years.”
Qatar coach Monika Staab speaks to FIFA.com about the development of women’s football in the Arab world