16 Facts You NEED To Know About The 2015 Women's World Cup
The 2015 Women's World Cup runs from 6 June to 5 July – here's everything you need to know. Come on En-girl-and!
1. For the first time in Women’s World Cup history, the BBC are screening every game
So you can watch at home without the hassle of launching your own satellite. With half a billion people glued to TVs around the globe, this will be the largest-ever televised sporting event featuring solely women.
2. This is Canada’s first bash at hosting a World Cup
They know their diamond from their Christmas-tree formation though – football is Canada’s most widely-played sport, beating even Canucks' beloved ice hockey.
3. This is the biggest-ever Women’s World Cup
There are 24 teams playing for the trophy, with eight countries celebrating their World Cup debut: Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.
4. What are England’s chances?
We won all 10 of our World Cup qualifiers, with only one goal sneaking past our defence
Well, we won all 10 of our World Cup qualifiers, with only one goal sneaking past our defence. We’re ranked sixth, behind Germany, USA, Japan, France and Sweden. Japan is the reigning champ.
5. Damn it! France is in our group, F[related_articles]
And our first match is against them, on 9 June. “Our girls are focused on getting out of the group stages, then taking it game by game," says ex-international Chelsea defender Gilly Flaherty.
“We’ve got a strong mix of players like Fara Williams who have World Cup experience and know what it takes to win, plus fresh blood like 22-year old Jordan Nobbs, who competitors don’t know about yet." Unless they’re reading this right now that is.
6. Happily, we’re not in the 'group of death'. Phew
Group D has three teams in the top 10 FIFA rankings – USA, Sweden and Australia. That'll leave Nigeria feeling a wee bit nervous.
7. The England women’s squad beats Brazil, Italy and Spain in the FIFA rankings
Trivia like that ought to keep Wayne Rooney awake at night.
8. Women’s football has all the technical genius of the men’s game, and none of the ego
So says Gilly Flaherty. “It’s not about individual players, it’s about the team. We’re not relying on one or two players to score goals. Look out for Jill Scott, Jodie Taylor, Lianne Sanderson, Fara Williams and Ellen White."
9. You might know England captain Steph Houghton from the 2012 Olympics
During the Games she scored three goals in Team GB’s four games, including winners against Brazil and New Zealand. She was named as the England team women’s player of the year.
10. Just don’t mention money
Gareth Bale, the top-earning British footballer, rakes in £17.5m a year. The annual salary for top female players is around £20,000. Ouch.
11. Why is the men’s game so much bigger? It wasn't always this way
In 1921, the FA banned women from playing in professional stadiums, claiming football endangered women’s health
Women’s football was once more popular than men’s – a Boxing Day ladies’ match at Goodison Park in 1920 drew a crowd of 53,000, with a further 14,000 turned away as the ground was full.
In 1921, the FA banned women from playing in professional stadiums, claiming football endangered women’s health. Plonkers.
12. There’s hope on the pay front
In the US, players like striker Alex Morgan are raking in up to $2m a year through endorsements. She’s one to watch in the competition.
13. Who else should we look out for in the 2015 Women's World Cup?
“Chelsea’s Ji So-Yun of South Korea is unbelievable, like Messi," says Flaherty. And there’s Marta Vieira da Silva from Brazil, aka “Pelé con faldas" (“Pelé with skirts"), who has won FIFA World Player of the Year five times from 2006-2010.
14. From September this year, the EA Sports video game will finally feature female players
And the England team has made the cut.
15. Shuéme, the mascot, is a female snowy owl
Her red and white strip is meant to symbolise peace and fair play. Conveniently, these are the colours of the St George cross. Could it be an omen?
16. Every World Cup triggers an immediate rise in new players
And Women’s Sports Week is happening right now. Grab your football boots and get out there.