England crowned Queens of Europe and tournament final finishes on a high.
The World Cup final should be the big one, it is a privilege to be in the stadium to witness it, especially given that we heard of plenty of tickets going on the black market for between $5-800 CAN. The excitement of the last two finals I have attended in 2007 and 2011, as well as the 2003 one I commentated on and the 1999 one I watched on TV, still crackles within my memory banks. So there was plenty of anticipation for this rematch of the last two big world finals (WWC & Olympics). I'd enjoyed breakfast along with other women's football enthusiasts/experts from Japan, USA, Australia and the BBC World Service crew for their Sportshour on the morning of the game.
All, except the Japanese reporter, predicted an American win. Some of the international women's coaches I'd chatted to in the days before, also expressed the view that Japan were not as slick or as quick a team as they had been four years earlier. Several people in our press pack felt that if Japan played as they had against England, then they would lose heavily to the U.S. but that was mostly because we were still smarting from the agony of England's exit only days before. Who knew we were such a bitter bunch?!
Despite all of this, the storyline of Sunday's game was still a bit of a surprise, to say the least. And if I'm honest, I didn't enjoy it at the time, as proven by this entry for this blog, written during the game:
I'm in a huff. It's the first half of the women's World Cup final and I'm grumbling. I was fuming 20 mins ago as Japan didn't just crumble or get mowed down by the juggernaut that was the USA in the first 15-20 mins they effectively jumped off the road and hid behind a tree. This is the showcase game, the world is watching (well, not as much people in the UK because we had our final yesterday) and you desperately want the cliched outcome, for 'football to be the winner'. So I was horrified at the ease at which USA and that woman Carli Lloyd, you know the one that always scores in finals, established a 4 goal lead. (Was it an invisibility cloak she was wearing?) Ok, to be fair, the fourth was genius from Lloyd but it was poor from Japan. I am always worried that people will judge the women's game on matches like these.
Neither are workable or likely at present but hypothetically, would you prefer a more strict salary cap in the FA WSL OR should centrally contracted England players (that receive salaries from The FA) be allocated more evenly around WSL1 clubs?