Legends and delegates join together in Women’s World Cup warm-up
Delegates from six confederations and FIFA Legends compete in football tournament
Games played in iconic location underneath the Eiffel Tower
CONMEBOL side, which included Cambiasso, Veron and Zanetti, emerged victorious
Some of the biggest names in the beautiful game rolled back the years at an iconic venue in the centre of Paris, in a perfect warm-up for the long-awaited FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™. The FIFA Congress Delegation Football Tournament saw a star-studded line-up of teams – replete with delegates from across all six confederations and a host of FIFA Legends - compete under the storied gaze of the Eiffel Tower.
The feeling amongst those involved was very much one of uncontainable excitement, with the countdown to the biggest women’s football tournament on the planet reaching a crescendo.
“I think it’s so great to bring back retired players to connect with the current generation and interact,” two-time Women’s World Cup winner Kristine Lilly told FIFA.com. “Bringing a bigger stage to the Women’s World Cup, I think is a good thing. France is doing a great job of hosting us so far and once the games get going it’s going to be really exciting.”
A FIFA World Cup™ winner was also in the mix, with a Brazilian superstar lending his support to the women’s game ahead of the big kick-off.
“It’s very important to have men and women together supporting the Women’s World Cup,” Kaka told FIFA.com. “It’s a very special event for this cause - everybody in the world now is embracing this cause. It’s a great opportunity to show everybody that we support the girls. I think it will be an amazing World Cup. We’ll see very good talented players – it’ll be fun.”
Ultimately it was the CONMEBOL side, with Argentinian trio Javier Zanetti, Juan Sebastian Veron and Esteban Cambiasso amongst their number, who emerged victorious in the tournament – they defeated Alex Scott and the FIFA team in the finale, even if the outcome of this final was not as meaningful as the one a month away in Lyon.
“There’s so much going on, I can’t stop smiling because of the buzz around it, the excitement too,” a beaming Scott – veteran of three Women’s World Cups - told FIFA.com. “You just want the games to happen now. People always ask if I wish I was coming into the game now and I say absolutely not because I know that I was part of striving to make sure that we’re here today and celebrating women’s football. There’s still more to do but I think at the moment it’s time to celebrate that women’s football is finally getting recognition and we’ve got an exciting four weeks ahead of us.”
The 69th FIFA Congress Delegation Football Tournament
Alex Scott MBE in action during the 69th FIFA Congress Delegation Football Tournament
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 06: Alex Scott MBE in action during the 69th FIFA Congress Delegation Football Tournament at Complexe sportif Emile Anthoine on June 06, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Match action during the 69th FIFA Congress Delegation Football Tournament
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 06: Match action during the 69th FIFA Congress Delegation Football Tournament at Complexe sportif Emile Anthoine on June 06, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
And the feeling in France ahead of the global finals?
“It’s important for me as a former French international to support the women’s football team,” Florent Malouda, who appeared at two World Cups for Les Bleus, told FIFA.com. “It’s vital that our national team performs well. It’s very important that the organisation works perfectly and that everybody from all over the world can feel welcome here in our country.”
The Legends and delegates were certainly made to feel welcome in the Paris sunshine, even if this was just an amuse-bouche ahead of the main course. The French feast of fantastic football begins on Friday.