Another big month of women’s football witnessed action aplenty on the international and domestic scene. Canada and USA hosted a couple of prestigious international fixtures, Switzerland booked their ticket to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™ while the final eight contenders in Africa were confirmed. Trophy ceremonies were in abundance during the month of June across Europe, none bigger than Wolfsburg’s storybook ending to the German league campaign.
Historic Swiss breakthrough
Switzerland achieved their maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification becoming the first European team to book their ticket to Canada 2015, outstripping their more fancied continental rivals in the process. A near-perfect campaign thus far gave the Swiss an unassailable lead over Iceland and Denmark who are now left battling for a play-off berth. June also saw England and Norway both advance closer to their qualification goal, while Sweden did likewise with a crucial win over nearest challengers Scotland.
Africa’s final octet confirmed
The penultimate stage of Canada 2015 qualifying in Africa was also completed with Zambia, Algeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and Côte d'Ivoire all winning through to join hosts Namibia in October’s CAF African Women’s Championship. The major casualty was Germany 2011 participants Equatorial Guinea whose hopes were extinguished by Côte d'Ivoire. The top three nations in Namibia will take their place in next year’s 24-nation global event in north America, with the draw confirmed for 6 December.
North American challenge
Canada and USA played host to high-profile visitors as Germany and France visited north America for some crucial experience a year out from the quadrennial women’s showpiece. Germany came away from Vancouver with a 2-1 win over Canada, while USA - having won their first game against France 1-0 - needed a late equaliser from Alex Morgan to earn a 2-2 draw and preserve their decade-long unbeaten home record in the second match against Les Bleues.
Numerous trophies were handed out during June across Europe as respective league and cup campaigns drew to a close. There was huge drama in Germany as European champions Wolfsburg capped another remarkable campaign by overhauling Frankfurt on the last day of the league season, with Alexandra Popp scoring what proved to be a championship-deciding winner just a minute from time in a match-up between the pair. Frankfurt put their disappointment aside to claim the German Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Essen for their ninth cup crown.
Elsewhere in Europe, Lyon claimed the domestic double edging out Paris Saint-Germain in both instances. FC Twente retained the league title in Belgium/Netherlands, FC Zurich celebrated their third successive Swiss title and SV Neulengbach lifted their twelfth Austrian championship in a row. Meanwhile, Arsenal defied some unusually poor league form to win the FA Cup Women’s Cup for the thirteenth time, with veteran forward Kelly Smith inspiring the Gunners to a 2-0 win against Everton in front of over 15,000 spectators.
It was another big month of activity for FIFA’s Women’s Football Development projects with the Live Your Goals programme hosted in Armenia, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Paraguay and Costa Rica. There were also other festivals in countries as diverse as Lebanon and New Caledonia, while development courses took place in Slovenia and Malta.
84 – USA’s unbeaten streak on home soil is now sitting at an incredible 84 matches dating back to November 2004 when Denmark claimed a win Stateside.
“With this qualification, we have earned a lot of respect in the world of international women's football. No one could have expected us to go through so easily.” Switzerland coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg after the nation qualified for Canada 2015.