Although all eyes were on the final draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ 2015 in Canada this weekend, clubs across Oceania, Asia and Europe continued to battle it out for valuable points and trophies. Together with the usual suspects, a club from Brazil had reason to celebrate while French outsiders almost tripped up their high-calibre opponents. FIFA.com brings you the latest news in women’s football.
*France: Guingamp almost spring a surprise *Paris Saint-Germain managed to prevent a shock defeat in the Division 1 Feminine. The league’s second-placed side recorded a narrow 2-1 home win against Guingamp to cement their position as Olympique Lyon’s closest rivals for the title. Aurelie Kaci and Costa Rican Shirley Cruz gave PSG a 2-0 lead, before a strike from substitute Cassandre Furuberguer ensured a thrilling final phase in which EAG tried their best to cause a sensation. German international Fatmire Alushi celebrated her return to the Paris club’s ranks after overcoming a knee injury. Meanwhile, the frontrunners from Lyon have yet to drop a point and continued their dominance with an 11-0 rout of Metz – their highest-scoring home win of the season – as Swede Lotta Schelin found the net four times.
*Top three: Lyon (48 points), Paris Saint-Germain (45), Juvisy (38)
*Germany: Bayern make a statement **With the second half of the season only just getting underway, Bayern Munich have already turned the three-way battle at the top of the table into a two-horse race. Thanks to goals from Japan’s Mana Iwabuchi and American Katherine Stengel, Munich emerged as 2-1 winners against 1. FFC Frankfurt, giving them a five-point advantage over the now fourth-placed Hessians. Spaniard Veronica Boquete’s strike was little more than a consolation for the seven-time champions. Elsewhere, Wolfsburg still have reason to smile as they retained their league lead with a 2-0 victory over Freiburg. Bayern and the defending champions from Lower Saxony are now the only two unbeaten sides in this season’s Bundesliga.
*Top three: Wolfsburg (32 points), Bayern Munich (30), Turbine Potsdam (28)
*Australia: Final four go head-to-head
The anxious wait is over for Canberra United and FC Sydney after both teams reached the Westfield W-League’s play-off semi-finals in dramatic style, while Newcastle Jets went away empty-handed. With league leaders Perth Glory and second-placed Melbourne Victory having already secured progression to the penultimate round of the championship, Canberra joined them with a narrow 2-1 win over Perth last Sunday, thanks to a late strike from Ashleigh Sykes. The previous day, Sydney confirmed their place in the final four with a 2-2 draw against Newcastle as Kyah Simon converted a penalty in the 78th minute to seal qualification. Next weekend, Perth will play Sydney as Melbourne face Canberra to find out who will contest the final.
New Zealand: Pride in the mood to celebrate once more
Mainland Pride successfully defended their ASB Women’s League title in Christchurch last weekend with a 3-1 final win against the national team’s youth side. Lauren Dabner and Monique Barker put the favourites in front with a goal apiece in the first half, and although Daisy Cleverley halved Pride’s lead around the hour mark, Barker responded almost immediately to score her second of the match. New Zealand’s youth team entered the country’s most promising U-18 players in the recently completed campaign to prepare them for upcoming international challenges such as the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2016.
*Sao Jose emerge triumphant in Japan *Samba rhythms reigned in Tokyo as Brazilian side Sao Jose won the third edition of the International Women’s Club Championship in Japan. The South Americans defeated English team Arsenal 2-0 thanks to strikes from Rosana and Giovania. Meanwhile, Urawa Red Diamonds secured a resounding 4-0 victory against Okayama Yunogo Belle in an all-Japanese third-place play-off. By winning the title, Sao Jose followed in the footsteps of 2013 champions INAC Kobe Leonessa, and Olympique Lyon, who lifted the trophy in 2012.