FIFA.com looks at another massive month in the women’s game including some rare landmarks for Abby Wambach and Rachel Yankey, while in Europe preparations for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2013 reached their final stages. Multiple trophies were up for grabs on the domestic front, while there was also a historic achievement by Jordan.
National teams *Germany building ominously
*Reigning champions Germany are showing impressive momentum leading into next week’s UEFA Women’s EURO. Silvia Neid’s side began a trio of home matches this month with a 3-0 win over Scotland, and then edged out a 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosts Canada thanks to a lone goal from Leonie Maier. The crowning glory, however, was a 4-2 win over Japan as the home side claimed a level of revenge for a famous quarter-final defeat two years ago at the last FIFA Women’s World Cup. Germany needed two late goals to secure victory, with the match also notable for an attendance of 46,104 spectators in Munich; a European record for a friendly international.
*Brazil visit Sweden
*Euro hosts Sweden ended the month with a high-profile outing against Brazil, in their penultimate outing prior to the tournament commencing next week. Nilla Fischer opened the scoring for the home side in the opening minutes, only for Andressa’s goal on the half-hour to ensure the spoils were shared.
Les Bleues maintaining momentum
*Gaetane Thiney continued her impressive form in front of goal on Saturday with the only goal of the game as France edged out fellow Euro participants Norway. Marie-Laure Delie scored twice and Thiney once as *Les Bleues defeated Finland 3-0 earlier in the month in Valenciennes.
*Shadow cast by run of injuries
*A mixture of injuries and illness has robbed UEFA Women’s EURO of numerous players. Germany have been by far the hardest hit with defenders Babett Peter and Verena Faisst, midfielders Viola Odebrecht and Kim Kulig, forward Alexandra Popp and the versatile Linda Bresonik to miss the tournament. Elsewhere, Finland have been hit by injuries to key striker Linda Sallstrom and captain Maija Saari, France attacker Laetitia Tonazzi has been forced to withdraw from Bruno Bini’s squad, while Denmark must make do without the services of experienced goalkeeper Heidi Johansen.
Stars and Stripes remain steadfast
USA’s relentless run of winning form under new coach Tom Sermanni continued with the Stars and Stripes cruising to two home wins over Korea Republic. USA were 4-1 and 5-0 victors over the east Asians with the second encounter in New Jersey witnessing a slice of history as a four-goal burst from striker Abby Wambach lifted the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year to 160 goals, overhauling compatriot Mia Hamm as the globe’s top international goalscorer. The first match in Foxborough saw long-serving goalkeeper Hope Solo make her return from injury after a four-month absence. Earlier in the month USA defeated North American rivals Canada 3-0 in a feisty encounter in Toronto. The Olympic champions, however, could not quell the home side until the latter stages with Canadian-born striker Sydney Leroux grabbing the clincher during injury time.
*Down Under rivals shape up
*Australia hosted New Zealand in two matches with the former pushed all the way before eventually maintaining a 19-year unbeaten streak against their long-term adversaries. Michelle Heyman scored the lone goal as the Matildas triumphed in the opener. The second match ended 1-1, although young local goalkeeper Brianna Davey stole the headlines in blocking two penalties in a shoot-out which determined the winner on the day. Australia then lost 3-1 to Netherlands in the first of outing of their mini European tour over the weekend, while New Zealand impressed by grabbing a 1-1 draw away to Japan.
*Landmark moment for Jordan
*Asian preliminary round qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 concluded with Jordan creating history by winning through to the eight-nation AFC Women’s Asian Cup for the first time. They will be joined by Vietnam, former champions Thailand - who were pushed to the brink by Philippines - and Myanmar. Alongside the quartet in Ho Chi Minh City next May will be Australia, China PR, Japan and Korea Republic, with the top five to secure a ticket to Canada 2015.
Club football *Silverware in plentiful supply
*While many European league seasons wrapped up in May, the month of June witnessed numerous cup finals take place. Most notable was yet more silverware for Lyon as the league winners achieved a domestic double with a 3-1 win over St Etienne in the cup final. Barcelona did likewise in Spain with a comfortable 4-0 win over outsiders CD Transportes Alcaine in the Copa del la Reina decider.
In Italy, Friuli club Tavagnacco made amends for narrowly missing out on the league title by claiming their maiden piece of silverware in a 2-0 Coppa Italia win over Bardolino Verona. Finally to Denmark, where Brondby made it three titles in a row after winning 23 and drawing one of their 24 league games. Fortuna Hjorring finished runners-up for the third year running, with the pair having now shared the past 12 league titles. It was little surprise that the same pair met in the cup final, with Brondby narrow 3-2 winners.
*French great bows out
*Sonia Bompastor drew the curtain on a stunning career by captaining Lyon to their French Cup win on her 33rd birthday. Bompastor, a key figure during France’s recent rise in the women’s game, won eight leagues titles and two European crowns, as well as 156 caps in a decorated 12-year international career.
The stat 126 – Rachel Yankey became England’s most capped player last week by making her 126th appearance, eclipsing the mark held by goalkeeper Peter Shilton since 1990. The 33-year-old midfielder had a day to remember at Burton Upon Trent, setting up England’s opener as the home side drew 1-1 against world champions Japan.
"Ever since that day, this is what I wanted to do," USA striker Abby Wambach reflecting on being a teenager with the U-16 national team and drawing inspiration from seeing Stars and Stripes icon Mia Hamm practising with the senior team.