Monday, August 21, 2023

Women's World Cup 2023

  •  I am not a rabid soccer fan, but always look forward to the (men's) World Cup in expectation of seeing great examples of athleticism and some dramatic moments.  It has taken awhile but I now reserve the same expectations for the women's version.  

 I missed most of the earlier matches, however from little snatches I was amazed at their dexterity and team work.  Defense in one sense is measured by low scores.  There have always been blowouts, but this year many of the games were decided by one goal including the final (Spain 1 to England 0).  But it is mostly goals that draw fans.  One of the most outstanding one was by Sam Kerr of Australia against the English.  The most goals came from Japan's Himata Miyazawa with 5.  Altana Bommati of Spain was judged to be the most valuable player. The top goal keeper was England's Mary Earps.  Salma Paralluel of Spain also scored an impressive goal was awarded top young player.    A fair play award was given to Japan.  Referees were honored as well.  

Previously I felt they were not ready for a 32 team format, but this time there was more equality, possibly a measure of increasing gender equality.   The organization had progressed from previous efforts.  Although not the first World Cup to be hosted by two nations it was the first to be hosted by two conferences, with Australia part of the Asian Federation while New Zealand was part of the Oceania Federation.  It was also the first host to be in the Southern hemisphere.  

The prize pool had been increased by $80 million US. to $110 Million US.  More importantly steps were taken to make sure some of the money is to go individual players although administered by national associations. 

Both the Australian and New Zealand agreed to allow flags from indigenous to be displayed.  

There was concern that distances required for air transportation needed to be offset and there were some programs in that regard.  Some decisions were made to minimize air flights between Australia and New Zealand.

I had been expecting the Americans to dominate and the Canadians to hang on to the top tier, but both were eliminated early on.  In some ways the two English speaking nations were more emancipated than others, but the world has caught up.  Still many associations were in legal battles with players over finances and rights.  The Spanish association was one which may be settled after their victory. 

From the previous Women's World Cup:   I would like to acknowledge that Wikipedia provided some important information for this post.

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