2019 Women’s World Cup has begun

French soccer player, Wendie Renard, drilling the ball during training. (Franck Fife / AFP)

More than 20 national teams will compete from June 7th to July 7th in France

Lea Schuller, Stina Blackstenius, and Vivianne Miedema: these names may not ring a bell but they are some of the top players in the world of soccer. From June 7th to July 7th, they will be taking part in the Women’s World Cup and representing their national teams in attempt to take home the victory cup.

The International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) is hosting this year’s tournament in France. A total of 24 teams from around the world qualified for the final competition. The French team is automatically qualified for being the host nation.

The championship is made up of two phases. The first phase selects 16 teams (out of 24) to compete in the second round, where two teams remain as finalists. The competing teams will play the final match in the Stade des Lumieres in Lyon (France) on July 7th.

This tournament edition is the first to use the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), an innovative technology used to actively record controversial plays (goals, penalties, suspensions). Recordings can be reviewed to correct any referee mistakes.

 

Women’s World Cup, a young tournament

Men’s World Cup made its debut in 1930, whereas the Women’s World Cup started decades after in 1991.

The first tournament was held in China and only had 16 teams competing. Since then, the competition has grown into 24 teams and takes place every 4 years.

France 2019 is the eighth edition of the Women’s World Cup. The current leading teams with the most wins are the United States with three cups, Germany with two, and both Japan and Norway with one.

 

Female football calls for equality

The growing feminist movement lead the demanding change for equality between men and women, drawing attention from around the world. This movement has increasingly generated media awareness as well as social interest in this male-dominated sport.

The German team sparked the movement by claiming their role in the World Cup with a controversial video. The video shows the German players defending their right to play football and represent their country despite their names not being as renowned as that of the male players.

Women’s football has been subject to controversy related to gender inequality in recent years. An example is that female players are getting paid much less than their male counterparts.

This year, the women’s tournament doubled the money that will be awarded to the winning team at 30 million dollars (27 million euros). Yet, this is undeniably far from the 440 million dollars (395 million euros) which will be awarded to the winning team of the men’s World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

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