FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011
In the last three weeks, Germany had a huge event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011, which ended much too soon for our own team in a 0:1 loss against Japan in the quarter finals. I’m actually not the biggest football fan (apologies to my American readers for calling it football, not soccer …), I do not follow the major leagues; basically I just watch the national games because it’s the only time when a German is allowed to be a patriot :-)
Before the world cup, I was really looking forward to the event, especially because of the controversies surrounding women playing football and how this event will confirm or hopefully destroy them. Many people argued that nobody is actually interested in the world cup, it is just overly hyped by the mass media who want to sell “a summer’s tale” comparable to the men’s football world cup in Germany five years ago.
In discussions offline and moreso online in newspapers and blogs, people always compare football games between men’ and women’s teams more than in other sports. As I said in the beginning, I’m not the biggest football fan, so I can’t judge the speed and tactical quality of the games properly; I would say it’s definitely less but not much less and always improving. Considering the different infrastructure the teams have, it’s not really fair to compare. It’s done nevertheless, and discussions are rarely objective and often dominated by feminists, who want to silence all criticism, on one and “chauvinist pigs”, who believe football is exclusively a men’s game, on the other side.
Following the discussions - mostly in virtual channels such as Twitter - throughout the world cup, I’m happy to see that discussions start revolving about tactical decisions, individual quality of players, coaches, referees etc. instead of constantly comparing men and women or, even worse, just talking about how the girls on the field look like. And on Twitter, at least discussions about the look of player’s in the German team seemed to concentrate on the font on the back of their jerseys! Damn nerds!
One of the prejudices against women’s football is that the differences in quality of the national teams is too big and there is only a small amount of teams at the top so there won’t be any surprises as who will win a tournament. At least with the sixteen teams that made it to the world cup, one can certainly say that this was not the case. There were no games such as the 11:0 Germany-Argentina in the 2007 world cup, in fact most games were really close; and, seriously, who thought Japan would make it to the final and Germany, Brazil and England not even to the semifinals?!
I’m all for the big surprise, so I hope Japan will make it tomorrow! And I really hope this event had at least some impact on the future of women’s football. We’ll see!