FIFA Women’s World Cup: Sit back and enjoy the ride at Last Word SC

FIFA Women's World Cup
PARIS, FRANCE — JUNE 07: Amandine Henry of France celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's fourth goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group A match between France and Korea Republic at Parc des Princes on June 07, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Joosep Martinson - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images).

Editorial (June 7, 2019) — Today is the day.

There are 24 teams and 23 players on each team. A total of 552 players are going to suit up for their respective national team and vie for the chance to lift the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy.

In France, teams are gearing up and getting ready. The host nation just wrapped up a 4-0 victory over South Korea. France is looking to become the first-ever team to win back-to-back in male and female competitions. In regard to winning a back-to-back women’s tournament, that’s already been done by Germany.

That’s what the United States Women’s National Team is trying to do. Back in 2015, the United States hoisted the World Cup trophy over Japan. It was a rematch of the 2011 final, where the two teams battled for Japan to win.

Now, the competition is a bit different.

The rest of the world is catching up to the United States. In previous tournaments, the usual suspects to take the title were Japan, Germany, the United States and Brazil. However, the tide is changing. Teams like Australia, the Netherlands and Canada are surpassing expectations in friendlies and other tournaments around the world. Meanwhile, this past spring, England won the SheBelieves Cup in the United States.

Who’s the Favorite?

France upset the United States this past January.

It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it was a major culture shock for the United States. To toughen up for the World Cup, the United States went over to Europe for a pair of friendlies against France and Spain. While the USWNT are used to having their January camp in warm, sunny California, it was time for a change.

That change resulted in a 3-1 victory for France.

France is in a big situation. First off, they’re hosting the tournament for the first-time ever. The World Cup has been hosted by China and the United States twice and then once by Sweden, Germany and Canada. This makes France only the sixth-nation in tournament history to host.

France is also responding from their own internal disaster. The burning of Notre Dame affected the French people immensely, no matter what their beliefs are. Notre Dame is a symbol of architecture and history in France. While the entirety of Notre Dame did not burn down, the falling of the steeple resulted in gasps and cries around France.

To win the World Cup would be a spark of hope for a nation that is rebuilding one of their greatest treasures. France would also be on top of the soccer world, with their men winning the World Cup in Russia last year. This is a chance for the French Federation to make history with a male and female winning side.

For me, France has a real opportunity to win the entire tournament. There is a chance, should France and the United States win their group and win their first knockout round match, that they could face off in the quarterfinals.

After the upset victory in spring, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the French make their way to the semifinals and leaving the United States in the dust.

What can we do to promote WoSo?

Women’s soccer isn’t just relevant once every four years.

That’s just when the biggest tournament in progress. Women’s soccer is available year-round. The United States has the National Women’s Soccer League, which has been captivating young girls and fans since 2013. The league is still in progress, making it the only professional women’s soccer league in the United States to make it past five years.

Women’s soccer happens around the world in all sorts of different leagues. Lyon dominates Europe in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, while other teams battle for the top spot in their respective nation’s league.

Women’s soccer should be supported, not demoted.

Federations are investing in their clubs, hoping to build a bright future for the women’s game. Teams that weren’t expected to make the World Cup did. Players are going overseas, to different countries, to better hone their skills. Meanwhile, there are players that aren’t going to the World Cup this summer, but have incredible skills.

And never forget that women in all leagues should be paid fairly.

So what is Last Word on Soccer doing?

We’re growing the game with coverage.

Our NWSL coverage mainly got the ball rolling in 2018. In my second full-length season covering the NWSL, U.S .Women’s National Team and other notable national teams, we are creating more access to analysis, recaps and thoughts for the women’s game. Women need support from the media. We are the storytellers for the action they produce.

Sit back and enjoy the ride this summer. The FIFA Women’s World Cup is here and it’s a tournament that’s wide open. You definitely don’t want to miss it. So, simply, don’t miss out.

 

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