Tattoos, parties and bungee jumps

It is always wise to pay attention to what one is saying, especially when the conversation is being taped. Over the past four weeks, has interviewed many of the stars taking part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, diligently taking note of what they would do as a dare or bet in the event of lifting the trophy. Although nobody revealed challenges that could be viewed as completely crazy, there were a few original and brave ideas floated that demonstrated how much winning the illustrious tournament meant to the players involved.

For example, Germany’s Simone Laudehr would not have hesitated to push herself to the limit in exchange for a second winners’ medal, having already captured a global crown in 2007. “I promised a friend that I’d do a parachute jump,” she admitted after her team’s semi-final exit at the hands of USA. “But I’m afraid of heights!” she added, laughing.

Ecuador forward Denise Pesantes suffers from the same phobia but made a similar commitment nonetheless. “I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat and I’m afraid of heights, but I’m willing to do a bungee jump if we win,” she said. “But I’ll do it with a Galapagos Islands flag in my hand,” added the first player from the archipelago to appear at the Women’s World Cup. And after conceding 17 goals in three matches, she and her team-mates are already familiar with a different kind of sinking feeling.

Other players went down the well-trodden path of promising to mark the event by visiting the tattoo parlour.

“The day that I lift the Women’s World Cup, I’ll get a tattoo of the trophy,” said France’s Elodie Thomis, who had to postpone her plans for at least four years after a German XI featuring Laudehr, another tattoo enthusiast, defeated Les Bleues in the quarter-finals. “I need to update my tattoos; I’ve got a few of my achievements recorded on my arm,” explained the German No6.

Norway captain Trine Ronning had the same intention: “I’ll no doubt get a new tattoo. Why not one of the cup itself? That would be my personal reward.” Unfortunately, England put paid to those aspirations in the Round of 16.

Those thoughts were shared by Cameroon’s Gabrielle Onguene, who stood out in the group stage with Les Lionnes before biting the dust versus China PR in the subsequent round.

“Playing in a World Cup could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she pointed out. “Actually, winning the tournament is even more unlikely. If you ever had the good fortune to do so, you’d have to make sure you remembered it for ever. It would be imprinted on my mind, but I’d also want it on my skin. I’m not a fan of tattoos, but I’m willing to change my opinion in exchange for a victory!”

As far as Lotta Schelin was concerned, Sweden’s exploits, should they triumph at the Women’s World Cup, would be recorded not on her limbs but in the history books. “If we win the tournament, I think that we would be awarded the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal,” explained the attacker. “It’s a national award in Sweden for exceptional sporting achievement.”

Canada skipper Christine Sinclair, meanwhile, would erase her presence from the aforementioned history books altogether. “I’m willing to swap all of the goals I’ve ever scored and to never get the chance to score again,” promised the host nation’s star player, who has found the net 150 times for her country, including twice at this very tournament.

Maren Mjelde also got on the score-sheet at Canada 2015, and had more down-to-Earth objectives in the event that she and her fellow Norwegians held aloft the Cup: “I wouldn’t do anything too original, like shaving off all my hair or anything like that, that’s for sure. What I would definitely do is celebrate with a huge party."

That idea has likely crossed the minds of the Japanese and American team members as the final on 5 July fast approaches, but Stars and Stripes defender Ali Krieger would prefer any festivities that occur to be free of certain restraints.

“I’d go out and celebrate with my best friends, and just enjoy it without thinking of football, without paying attention to what I’m eating and drinking, or to when I should rest,” stated the Virginia native. "I just want to be able to feel free. Over the last four years, we’ve been put under constant pressure, and so we paid attention to the tiniest details while getting ready for this tournament. And so what I would do in the event of a World Cup victory would be to forget about all the sacrifices we’ve made and just breathe."