September 16 – FIFA’s technical study group (TSG) has hailed the recent Women’s World Cup as the best edition ever in terms of quality of play. The France 2019 World Cup saw the United States retain their title beating European champions the Netherlands 2-0 in the final.
“France 2019 was the most electrifying Women’s World Cup of all time,” said the TSG’s head April Heinrichs. “I have been involved in the Women’s World Cup since its first edition in 1991, and 2019 was by far the best. The most impressive aspect was the overall influence of attacking transitions. Teams showed the ability to penetrate quickly and effectively. Practically every team was dangerous while counter-attacking.”
The defending champions began their campaign with a mammoth 13-0 win against Thailand and dominated the long-month tournament, trumping Europe’s best in the final with goals from Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle, but the overall standard of the tournament notably improved from the 2015 tournament in Canada and previous iterations, tangible in various metrics – “only nine per cent of passes were played long a decrease from the previous two editions of the tournament, which suggests that teams were progressively looking to play shorter balls and build patiently, as opposed to going direct,” according to the TSG. The save rate of 70% was also a 5% increase from the Canada World Cup.
“Besides the outstanding performances of all goalkeepers who made it to the quarter-finals, we saw other keepers [catch the eye] – like Chile’s Christiane Endler, who was simply fantastic,” said Heinrichs. “In this edition of the Women’s World Cup, we were treated to fantastic goalkeepers who made huge contributions to their team’s success, not just in terms of shot-stopping but also in build-up play with their feet.”
The TSG’s overall conclusion comes as no real surprise after a tournament that grabbed the imagination of the global public. The consumer attention – and the commercial potential – subsequently fast tracked the expansion of the Women’s World Cup to 32 teams for future editions with the world federation.
The TSG’s other experts featured China’s Sun Wen, Germany’s Nadine Kessler, France’s Elisabeth Loisel and Ivory Coast’s Clementine Toure. Next week, FIFA will organise a conference in Milan on the sidelines of the Best Awards, reflecting on the France tournament.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1709526294labto1709526294ofdlr1709526294owedi1709526294sni@o1709526294fni1709526294