FIFA.com rounds up the key events from women’s international and club football in November.
International football *And the winner is...
While many players can only hope to one day participate at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™, for the Dutch women’s national team that dream will come true after they qualified for the tournament for the first time in their history. The Netherlands beat Italy 3-2 on aggregate in the play-off final to secure the last European berth at the competition, with Vivianne Miedema scoring all three goals for the victors. “We had an objective which we’ve now achieved and it’s fantastic,” said the striker, who plays in the Bundesliga for Bayern Munich, after the two-legged tie. Meanwhile, the first leg of the intercontinental play-off between Trinidad and Tobago and Ecuador finished in a goalless draw. The decisive second leg to determine which side will book the final place at Canada 2015 will take place on 2 December.
Asian Player of the Year crowned
*Australia’s Katrina Gorry and Japanese duo Aya Miyama and Nahomi Kawasumi were the three finalists for the AFC Women’s Player of the Year award 2014. Both Kawasumi and Miyama, who won the prize in 2011 and 2012, were part of the triumphant Japan side that lifted the title at the eight-team Asian Championship this year, where they beat Australia in the final as both teams qualified for Canada 2015. Gorry had an outstanding tournament, scoring three goals from central midfield and was rewarded for her fine performances by being named AFC Women’s Player of the Year on 30 November. The AFC Women’s Coach of the Year award went to Asako Takemoto, who led the Japan U-17 side to the world title.
*Gearing up for the World Cup
*There were numerous international friendlies on the calendar in November as teams began warming up for next year’s showdown. Coach Philippe Bergeroo’s France side sent out a strong statement of intent by following up a 2-1 win over New Zealand with a 2-0 victory over Brazil a few days later. Sweden were not as successful in their two encounters with World Cup hosts Canada in Santa Monica, California. The *Damlandslaget *lost the first game 1-0 and drew the second 1-1, with Jonelle Filigno and Christine Sinclair on target for Canada and Linda Sembrandt finding the net for Sweden. Another two of next year’s World Cup participants, Norway and New Zealand, also locked horns last month. In the first game Amber Hearn put the *Football Ferns *in front, only for Isabell Herlovsen to equalise late on and secure a 1-1 draw. In the second meeting, sisters Andrine and Ada Hegerberg both scored to give Norway a 2-0 victory.
*Germany silence Wembley
*Germany rounded off the year in style last month by easing to a 3-0 triumph over England at the legendary Wembley stadium. Coach Silvia Neid was deprived of the services of Fatmire Alushi, Nadine Kessler, Saskia Bartusiak, Lena Lotzen, Leonie Maier and 2013 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Nadine Angerer, but the reigning European champions nevertheless began the match strongly and went in front after just six minutes from Alex Scott’s own goal. Celia Sasic doubled their lead shortly afterwards following a sensational run in which she skipped past two defenders, and added a third just before half-time for a dominant German side.
Champions League quarter-final ties complete
VfL Wolfsburg have taken another step towards a third UEFA Women’s Champions League title after brushing aside Austrian champions Neulengbach 11-0 in the Round of 16 to set up a quarter-final tie with newly-crowned Swedish champions FC Rosengard. The second German representatives, FFC Frankfurt, will face Bristol Academy in the last eight following their 9-0 rout of Torres Calcio. Glasgow City have the unenviable task of playing Paris Saint-Germain, who knocked out Olympique Lyon in the previous round, while Linkopings FC and Brondby IF will meet in the remaining quarter-final encounter. The first leg matches are set to take place on 21/22 March 2015, with the return fixtures kicking off a week later.
*Silverware for Urawa Reds
*Despite suffering a 1-0 defeat to Albirex Niigata on the final matchday of the season, Urawa Reds Ladies lifted the Japanese title for the first time in five years after a nail-biting finale to the campaign. Urawa finished level on 24 points with NTV Beleza but were crowned champions due to their superior goal difference. Urawa’s Michi Goto was named as the league’s Player of the Year, while Jeff United forward Yuika Sugasawa ended the season as top scorer with 20 goals.
*It is not only in the Champions League that Wolfsburg and Frankfurt have made headway, as the duo also eased into the next round of the DFB Pokal at the start of November. The *Wolfinnen *showed Cloppenburg no mercy in an 8-0 thrashing, while Frankfurt knocked out Bayer Leverkusen with a 3-0 victory to set up what promises to be a thrilling quarter-final against current Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich. In Denmark, Brondby’s 3-0 win over Slovbakken sealed their place in the semi-finals of the 3F Cup, where coach Peer Lisdorff’s charges will face a familiar opponent in Odense BK. The sides met in the 2013/14 cup final, which Brondby won 3-1. Glasgow City have already lifted the SWF Scottish Cup after defeating Spartans 5-0 in the final.
*The stat 16 - **Dutch attacker Miedema finished as top scorer in European zone qualifying for Canada 2015 after netting 16 times in 982 minutes of play. France’s Gaetane Thiney was second in the chart with 13 strikes in 715 minutes.
The quote *“I saw him in the room and I remember thinking, 'I have to speak to him', but I needed to pick the right moment. I didn’t want to interrupt and be rude. If the moment didn’t arrive it would have been fine. I would have just been happy to see him, but there was a moment where he was walking towards me as I was heading to the bathroom and I said, ‘Sir Alex, sorry to interrupt but I just wanted to say ‘Hi.’ He was great.” *England international Lianne Sanderson on meeting Sir Alex Ferguson