On Dec. 18, 2022, the world gathered to watch as Lionel Messi and Argentina triumphed over France in a World Cup Final that will go down in history. The whole month leading up to that fateful day was filled with soccer games and related festivities — but after the final, it was over. Fans would have to wait another four years to watch the biggest soccer tournament in the world. Except, that’s not exactly true. What so many seem to forget, or ignore, is that there is a Women’s World Cup coming up this summer in Australia and New Zealand. From July 20 to August 20, there will be a plethora of soccer matches that fans should get excited to watch – just because they aren’t men doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time. The Women’s World Cup deserves to be watched, appreciated and respected.
In the grand scheme of things, the Women’s World Cup is new. The first was held in China in 1991, and in total there have only been eight tournaments, the ninth coming up this summer. The men, on the other hand, have had 22 total competitions since their tournament began in 1930. So, the men’s World Cup has the upper hand thanks to the fact that it’s been around longer. However, what’s really holding the Women’s World Cup back from being as celebrated and watched isn’t how long they’ve been around — it’s that they’re not men.
Sexism in soccer is prevalent across the globe, and it’s most recently been highlighted by the fight for equal pay by the U.S. Women’s National Team, especially after U.S. Soccer got caught making sexist claims against the team. This perception of women’s soccer being “less than” isn’t uncommon either. Research has found that an overwhelming number of male soccer fans, over 66 percent, have derogatory opinions against women’s soccer. The Women’s World Cup, and women’s soccer as a whole, are set up to fail because they can’t escape the sexist prejudice against them from fans, which is both absurd and immensely unfortunate. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and fans should embrace the idea of consuming as much soccer as they possibly can, no matter what gender the players are. The Women’s World Cup doesn’t deserve to be, and shouldn’t be, put down or ignored because the players are women. Women, like their male counterparts, are beyond capable of bringing out the best in the sport, and the USWNT proves it.
The U.S. National Men’s team hasn’t won a single World Cup, but the USWNT can’t say the same. They’ve won half of the world cups ever hosted: 1991, 1999, 2015 and 2019. Plus, they were runners-up in 2011 and third place in 1995, 2003 and 2007, meaning they’ve always placed in a World Cup. So to say that they aren’t as skilled, or aren’t worth the time of day, just simply isn’t true because they’ve done what the men’s team cannot. They have some of the biggest names in the women’s soccer world, from senior members Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe to younger players Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson. American soccer fans should be ecstatic that they have a world-class team and should absolutely be looking forward to this upcoming tournament because the U.S. actually has a shot at winning.
The tournament has so much to offer, and it’s time fans stop ignoring it. Previous Women’s World Cup matches have been far from dull with many riveting moments, and if the past is evident of what’s to come, then soccer fans should be excited to watch this tournament. In the previous Women’s World Cup in 2019, the U.S. National Women’s team broke the record for highest scoring Women’s World Cup game when they beat Thailand 13–0. Other high-scoring games from past tournaments include Germany’s 11–0 to Argentina in 2007, and Germany’s 10–0 win over Ivory Coast in 2015. High scores aren’t everything, either. Carli Lloyd scored the first hat trick (3 goals in one game) for the Women’s World cup final in 2015, leading to a 5–2 win against Japan. In 1995, Sweden was down 0–2 to Germany but had a comeback to beat them 3–2. And in 1999, the USA’s Kristine Lilly used her head to stop what would’ve been a tournament-winning goal from China when even the goalkeeper wasn’t able to prevent it. This enabled the U.S. to take home their second World Cup win after beating China in penalty kicks. No matter the year, the Women’s World Cup has generated many eventful, exciting and even heartbreaking games. Fans should be eager to watch the upcoming tournament because it will surely provide the action fans desire.
While it’s true that the superstars of men’s soccer like Messi and Christiano Ronaldo won’t be gracing the screens in a world cup this summer, that doesn’t mean that the world can’t watch excellent soccer players in the upcoming tournament. The world of women’s soccer has its own roster of legends that hold numerous records and bring life to games. Christine Sinclair, a Canadian player, is currently the all-time scorer for international goals — for both women and men — at 190 goals. She joins Marta Silva, a Brazilian player who currently holds the most World Cup goals (17) ever, as the only two women to have scored in five separate world cups — which they both did before Ronaldo could join that record. Other stars include Australia’s captain Sam Kerr, a three-time golden boot winner; Wendie Renard, the French captain who’s been included in the FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11 for the past seven years; Viviane Midema, a Dutch player with the all-time scoring record for the Netherlands’ men’s and women’s teams; and Alexia Putellas of Spain, who’s a two-time Ballon d’Or winner. The list goes on. There are so many talented, eye-catching players in the world of women’s soccer, and they will be at the upcoming tournament, ready to put on a performance that will be as interesting and exciting as the ones seen from the well-known male superstars.
If it’s thrilling competition that viewers are looking for, there is plenty of intensity to go around in the Women’s World Cup, the same intensity as the men’s. The upcoming tournament will feature a slew of feisty teams with a competition level that matches the men’s — they all want to win the trophy and become the world champions, but that’s easier said than done. The USWNT may be the favorite as the reigning champions, but the other international teams will be bringing the heat to take them down. England’s women’s team won the European Championships and went undefeated in 2022 with 16 wins and four ties. However, this unbeaten streak was recently broken by the Matildas, Australia’s national women’s team and the hosts of the upcoming World Cup. Brazil took home the trophy from the most recent Women’s Copa America. Germany is ranked as second best in the world according to FIFA’s rankings, with Sweden not far behind.
With a number of star players and coaches on each and every team, the win won’t come easy to any country, meaning that the tournament is bound to be bursting with as much competition and excitement as the men’s World Cup. These teams are the best in the world amongst women’s soccer, and they bring just as much to the table as the men. They deserve to be respected and embraced in the same manner that the men and their tournament have been.
Soccer is the world’s sport, a sport for every player and fan. FIFA’s World Cups are the pinnacle of international soccer and should be a uniting force for lovers of the game, not something that divides them. The Women’s World Cup has so much to offer for both casual and serious fans. With talented players and exciting matches, it should not be overlooked merely because it’s not a men’s tournament. This summer, everyone should be watching the Women’s World Cup.
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