Women's Football

Women's round-up: May 2016

Olympique Lyonnais' captain Wendie Renard holds the trophy

There was drama aplenty in May thanks to the gripping UEFA Women's Champions League final between VfL Wolfsburg and Olympique Lyon, which was only decided by a penalty shoot-out. Additionally, the spotlight was focused on the draw for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 and on several league championships. *FIFA.com *looks back on an eventful month both nationally and internationally in women's football.

*International football *Germany U-17s head to Jordan as European champions
*Germany lifted the continental U-17 title for a fifth time at the UEFA Women's U-17 European Championship in Belarus, securing the crown following a thrilling final. Coach Anouschka Bernhard's charges held their nerve in front of 10,200 spectators in Borisov to defeat Spain 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out in which goalkeeper Leonie Doege emerged as the heroine by saving two spot-kicks. Alongside Germany, runners-up Spain and third-placed England also booked their tickets to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2016 in Jordan. *

*Jordan 2016: group stage finalised
*At the end of May, the teams participating at Jordan 2016 discovered who they will face in the group stage. The official draw at the Al-Hussein Cultural Centre in Amman left Germany with a tough task, pitting them against Venezuela, Cameroon and Canada in Group B. Hosts Jordan will make their tournament debut in Group A against Spain, runners-up at the last U-17 Women's World Cup, with subsequent games against Mexico and New Zealand. In Group C, Brazil will go up against England; a Nigeria side aiming to follow in the footsteps of the country's U-20s, who reached the final in 2014; and Korea DPR, who are among the world's best in women's football, particularly at youth level. Reigning world champions Japan will lock horns with a USA team renowned for its attacking prowess in Group D, which also includes Paraguay and Ghana, who won the bronze medal at the 2012 edition.

Club football Treble for Lyon *VfL Wolfsburg coach Ralf Kellermann called Olympique Lyon "the absolute reference point at club level," in an exclusive interview with *FIFA.com, and the French side's success in the UEFA Women's Champions League, as well as the domestic championship and cup, served to underline his point. Lyon won the Coup de France Feminine on 15 May, having previously secured the league title with a game to spare. The star-studded side defeated Montpellier 2-1 to lift the cup and went on to win the Champions League 11 days later by taking revenge on Wolfsburg for the 1-0 reverse in the 2013 final, this time earning victory via a penalty shoot-out. Watched by a crowd of 15,117 spectators at the Stadio Citta del Tricolore, Ada Hegerberg put coach Gerard Precheur's side 1-0 up after just 12 minutes, before Alexandra Popp scored an 88th-minute equaliser. There were no further goals in extra time, and in the shoot-out it was Japan's Saki Kumagai who netted the decisive effort for Lyon.**

More cup glory for Arsenal
*Arsenal LFC won the FA Women's Cup for a 14th time after beating defending champions Chelsea LFC 1-0 at Wembley. Danielle Carter scored the winning goal with a stunning strike that Mark Sampson, coach of England's women's national team, said, "wouldn't have looked out of place in a Champions League final". The indestructible Kelly Smith defied her 37 years to put in an impressive performance on the big stage, standing out with her top-class technique. Equally noteworthy was the attendance figure of 32,912, a record for the final, which was marginally higher than last season's tally of just over 30,000.

Wolfsburg's third German Cup triumph
*Wolfsburg won the German Cup for a third time following their successes in 2013 and 2015. The *Wolfinnen
 narrowly beat underdogs SC Sand 2-1 in front of 16,542 fans at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne. Zsanett Jakabfi opened the scoring for the defending champions, and found the target again after Jovana Damnjanovic had equalised.**

*Silverware galore
*Twente Enschede were crowned champions in the Netherlands, host nation for the UEFA Women's EURO 2017, following a season finale that could scarcely have been more exciting. They beat Ajax to the title on goal difference after defeating PEC Zwolle 3-0 on the last day of the campaign, while Ajax overcame PSV Eindhoven 1-0. Three Twente players even topped the goalscoring chart: 19-year-old Jill Jamie Roord led the way with 20, followed by Ellen Jansen (17) and Renate Jansen (13).

After a few slip-ups along the way, Bayern Munich were once again able to wrap up the German league title, doing so with a 5-0 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen two matchdays before the end of the season. Young Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema was again outstanding and scored a hat-trick.

The championship was also decided in Italy, where ACF Brescia took the honours. Milena Bertolini's charges finished five points ahead of second-placed Verona, and ended their campaign with an 8-0 triumph over Riviera di Romagna. Brescia could still win the double if they beat Verona in the Coppa Italia final on 12 June.

Europe was not the only place titles were decided. Flamengo Rio de Janeiro won their maiden Brazilian championship after cancelling out a 1-0 defeat in the first leg of the final against defending champions Rio Preto EC by winning 2-1 away in the second fixture.

*The stat 13 *– Following her goal against Wolfsburg in the Women's Champions League final, Norway's Hegerberg finished as the competition's top scorer in 2015/16 with 13. However, the 20-year-old with a natural goalscoring instinct will not be at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament, as Norway lost out to Sweden in European qualifying for Rio 2016.

The words *"I want my team to adopt a style tailor-made for Japanese players. Playing in such a style requires high-level technique, systematic unity, and combination. These are the three elements in which our major strengths lay. Japan teams have paid heed to these virtues since I was a player. I'm confident that with this style, our team can stand up to others and return to the very top."
New Japan coach Asako Takakura on rebuilding the Nadeshiko

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