Enthusiasm for the women's game is still evident in every corner of the globe. Just a few weeks after the spectacular FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ came to an end, packed stadiums and top stars continue to create headlines, while there have also been several prominent changes on the touchline. Meanwhile, calls for greater female participation in all areas of the beautiful game were confirmed at a meeting of the FIFA Task Force for Women’s Football in Zurich. FIFA.com takes a look back at the events of August 2015.
International football *USA heroines still hungry to score
*The newly crowned world champions celebrated their 'Victory Tour' on home soil with two goal-laden encounters, as USA inflicted two heavy defeats on Costa Rica in friendly matches. The Stars and Stripes won 8-0 in front of 44,000 fans in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before recording another resounding 7-2 triumph before a crowd of 20,500 in Chattanooga, Tennessee to sustain the wave of enthusiasm for women’s football in the land of the three-time World Cup winners. Abby Wambach and her team-mates will continue their Victory Tour in September with two games against Australia before facing Brazil twice in October.
Pellerud bids farewell to Norway
*Even Pellerud has resigned as coach of Norway’s national team after failing to guide the Scandinavians past the last 16 of this summer’s Women’s World Cup. The result meant the 1995 champions missed out on direct qualification for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament 2016 in Rio de Janeiro and must now battle it out with the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland in a mini-tournament next March to determine who will claim the third European ticket after Germany and France. “Our chances of qualifying for the Olympics will be greater without me as coach,” the 62-year-old said. “The team will need to improve if they’re to manage it.” Pellerud has been succeeded by his former assistant coach Roger Finjord.*
Spain's fresh outlook*
Las Rojitas* also have a new face encouraging them from the touchline as Ignacio Quereda announced his resignation after 27 years in charge. His successor is Jorge Vilda, who most recently coached the country’s U-19 side. The 34-year-old inherited his passion for women’s football from father Angel, with whom he began working in the national team’s youth ranks eight years ago. “Our aim is to qualify for EURO 2017 in the Netherlands,” Vilda explained. “We’ll take the methods we used with the youth teams and apply them to the senior side and we’ll pursue the same style, though I’ll be bringing in my own ideas,” the new Spain boss told *FIFA.com in an interview.*
Korea DPR triumph in East Asia
*Korea DPR successfully defended their title at the 2015 EAFF Women’s East Asian Cup, emerging victorious from the four-team, round robin tournament with a 4-2 win over a young Japan side, a 3-2 triumph over hosts China PR and a 2-0 victory against Korea Republic. Korea DPR lifted the trophy for the second time at the fifth edition of a competition that has also been won twice by Japan and once by Korea Republic.*
Papua New Guinea 2016 begins to take shape*
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s first two representatives at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2016 have now been confirmed. Japan and Korea DPR booked their tickets to Papua New Guinea by reaching the final of the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship, while China PR face Korea Republic in the match for third place on Saturday, with the winners also securing a spot at the World Cup finals. European representatives Germany, France, Sweden and Spain have already qualified alongside hosts Papua New Guinea.*
Club football Major honour for Sasic
*Former German international Celia Sasic, who retired this summer, has been named UEFA’s Best Women’s Player in Europe for 2014/15. The 27-year-old came out on top in the journalists’ poll at European governing body UEFA in Monaco ahead of her former team-mate at Champions League winners 1. FFC Frankfurt, Dzsenifer Marozsan, and France and Olympique Lyon star Amandine Henry. Sasic’s six goals and one assist helped steer Germany to fourth place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada and won her the adidas Golden Boot ahead of American Carli Lloyd, who ended the tournament with an identical record but spent longer on the pitch.*
Ogimi and Bachmann on the move
*World-class Japanese striker Yuki Ogimi will follow in Sasic’s footsteps after being enlisted to spearhead 1. FFC Frankfurt’s attack. The ambitious Hessian side have signed the 28-year-old on a two-year contract from Bundesliga rivals VfL Wolfsburg. “I think Frankfurt and FFC are a perfect fit for me,” said Ogimi, who became a world champion with the *Nadeshiko in 2011 and was part of the team who finished as runners-up at Canada 2015. Meanwhile, Wolfsburg will be able to call on the goalscoring abilities of Swiss international Ramona Bachmann. The 24-year-old arrived from Swedish champions Rosengard and has committed her future until 2018. “For me, she’s one of the best attacking players in the world,” said her new coach Ralf Kellermann.**
Development *A total of ten *Live Your Goals *events took place in Europe, North and Central America and the Caribbean in August 2015. In the Irish capital Dublin, for example, more than 300 girls aged between seven and 13 participated in a one-day programme of activities, while several *girls festivals in Oceania also helped to swell enthusiasm for the women’s game. Elsewhere, four women’s football courses were held in Europe, Africa and Oceania as well as three women’s football advice sessions in South America and Africa to facilitate the exchange of skills, experience and knowledge. In one such event, former England coach Hope Powell led a course for 30 women’s football coaches in Serbia’s development league before handing out kit to 240 players.
The calls to action made at the sixth FIFA Women’s Football Symposium held during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ were central to the discussions of the FIFA Task Force for Women’s Football in Zurich. FIFA President Blatter opened the group’s third meeting by saying: “The resounding success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada shows how far women’s football has come while also demonstrating why it is so important to ensure girls and women have the best possible access to the game, both on and off the field. Women are part of football and need to be given equal opportunities. FIFA is committed to taking a leading role in promoting gender equality and encourages all confederations and member associations to do the same.” Following a presentation of the key conclusions of the symposium by Moya Dodd, chairwoman of the Task Force and FIFA Executive Committee co-opted member, the Task Force members confirmed the calls to action to see greater female representation across all areas of the game.
*The stat 100 *– Tobin Heath celebrated her 100th international cap in USA’s 7-2 win over Costa Rica. The midfielder became the 33rd American player to reach this impressive milestone.
The quote *"I hope we have inspired young girls to live their dreams. Also I hope there will be more people watching soccer, and have more daughters and dads want to kick a ball more often, and hopefully they come through and be better than we are."
*Canada international Sophie Schmidt on the legacy of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015