From 7th June to the 7th July, 24 inspiring teams brought skill, character, passion and equally important, visibility, to female football in the 2019 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Once more, the Stars and Stripes came out on top.
It was not easy for them, though there were moments when the EU gave the impression that it was. England was superb, France was formidable, and Spain was hard to beat. But the US had Megan Rapinoe, who was definitely the heroine of many matches, scoring a total of six spectacular goals in the tournament. Yet, despite this superb veteran and the 24 year old midfielder Lavelle, the strongest female team in the world did need a little help from our friend the VAR.
The US know how to deal with talent when it comes to sport, unlike many European countries, where scholarships to study and train are few and far between, and female football ranks at the bottom of any priority list. The FIFA estimate there are 13 thousand, 36million women and girls playing football around the world, 9.5 million alone in the US. This makes for a huge level of national enthusiasm coupled with a committed travelling fanbase, which in turn accounts for the unwavering self belief that the American squad portrayed on the pitch, an essential ingredient for winners.
How come Europe only imports the worst from the US? Why can’t we start appreciating such qualities as we have seen in their women’s football team and put them into practice? That is one of the many lessons that we should take with us from this year’s Women’s World Cup.