FIFA Women's World Cup

The FIFA Women's World Cup is an international football competition contested by the senior women's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's international governing body. The competition has been held every four years since 1991, when the inaugural tournament, then called the FIFA Women's World Championship, was held in China.

Under the tournament's current format, national teams vie for 23 slots in a three-year qualification phase. The host nation's team is automatically entered as the 24th slot. The tournament proper, alternatively called the World Cup Finals, is contested at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about one month.

The seven FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments have been won by four national teams. United States have won three times including the last one in 2015. The other winners are Germany, with two titles; Japan and Norway with one title each.

Five countries have hosted the Women's World Cup. China and United States have hosted twice, while Canada, Germany and Sweden have each hosted once. France are the hosts for the 2019 edition.

FIFA Women's World Cup
Founded1991
RegionFIFA (International)
Number of teams24 (finals)
Current champions United States
(3rd title)
Most successful team(s) United States
(3 titles)
WebsiteFIFA Women's World Cup
2019 FIFA Women's World Cup
BC Place 2015 Women's FIFA World Cup
The BC Place hosting a 2015 Women's FIFA World Cup match
Tournaments

History

The first instance of a Women's World Cup dates back to 1970 with the first international tournament taking place in Italy throughout July 1970.[1] This was followed up by another unofficial tournament the following year this time in Mexico where Denmark would take out the title after defeating Mexico in the final.[2][3][4] In the mid 1980s, the Mundialito was held in Italy across four editions with both Italy and England winning two titles.[5]

Several countries lifted their ban on women's football in the 1970s, leading to new teams being established across Europe and North America. After the first international women's tournaments were held in Asia in 1975[6] and 1984 in Europe, Ellen Wille declared that she wanted better effort from the FIFA Congress in promoting the women's game.[7] This came in the form of an invitational tournament in China as a test to see if a global women's World Cup was feasible. Twelve national teams took part in the competition – four from UEFA, three from AFC, two from CONCACAF and one each from CONMEBOL, CAF and OFC. After the opening match of the tournament between China and Canada saw an attendance of 45,000 people, the tournament was deemed a success with crowds averaging 20,000 with Norway who was the european champion defeating Sweden 1–0 in the final, while Brazil clinched third place by beating the hosts in a penalty shootout.[8] The competition was deemed a success and on 30 June FIFA approved the establishment of an official World Cup, which was to take place in 1991 again in China. Again, twelve teams competed, this time culminating in the United States defeating Norway in the final 2-1 with Michelle Akers scoring two goals.[9]

The 1995 edition in Sweden saw the experiment of a time-out concept throughout the tournament which was later tighten mid-tournament to only occur after a break in play. The time-out would only appear in the one tournament which saw it scrapped. The final of the 1995 edition saw Norway who scored 17 goals in the group stage defeat Germany 2-0 to capture their only title.[10] In the 1999 edition, one of the most famous moments of the tournament was American defender Brandi Chastain's victory celebration after scoring the Cup-winning penalty kick against China. She took off her jersey and waved it over her head (as men frequently do), showing her muscular torso and sports bra as she celebrated. The 1999 final in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California had an attendance of 90,185, a world record for a women's sporting event.[11]

The 1999 and 2003 Women's World Cups were both held in the United States; in 2003 China was supposed to host it, but the tournament was moved because of SARS.[12] As compensation, China retained its automatic qualification to the 2003 tournament as host nation, and was automatically chosen to host the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. Germany hosted the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, as decided by vote in October 2007. In March 2011, FIFA awarded Canada the right to host the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The 2015 edition saw the field expand from 16 to 24 teams.[13]

During the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, both Formiga of Brazil and Homare Sawa of Japan made a record of appearing in six World Cups,[14] a feat that had never been achieved before by either female or male players. Christie Rampone is the oldest player to ever play in a Women's World Cup match, at the age of 40 years.[15]

In March 2015, FIFA awarded France the right to host the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup over South Korea.[16] The tournament will begin on 7 June 2019 and the final will be played on 7 July 2019;[17] the final match will be played at Parc Olympique Lyonnais, a venue with a capacity of 58,000 in the Lyon suburb of Décines.

Trophy

The trophy was designed in 1998 for the 1999 tournament, and takes the form of a spiral band, enclosing a football at the top, that aims to capture the athleticism, dynamism and elegance of international women's football. In the 2010s, it was fitted with a cone-shaped base. Underneath the base, the name of each of the tournament's previous winners is engraved.[18] The trophy is 47 cm (19 in) tall, weighs 4.6 kg (10 lb) and is made of sterling silver clad in 23-karat yellow and white gold, with an estimated value in 2015 of approximately $30,000. By contrast, the men's World Cup trophy is fabricated in 18-karat gold and has a precious metal value of $150,000. However, a new Winner's Trophy is constructed for each women's champion to take home, while there is only one original men's trophy.[19]

Format

Qualification

Qualifying tournaments are held within the six FIFA continental zones (Africa, Asia, North and Central America and Caribbean, South America, Oceania, Europe), and are organised by their respective confederations: Confederation of African Football (CAF), Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), South American Football Confederation CONMEBOL, Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). For each tournament, FIFA decides beforehand the number of berths awarded to each of the continental zones, based on the relative strength of the confederations' teams. The hosts of the World Cup receive an automatic berth in the finals. Since the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, the number of finalists increased from 16 to 24.[20]

Final tournament

The final tournament has featured between twelve and twenty-four national teams competing over about one month in the host nation(s). There are two stages: the group stage followed by the knockout stage.[21]

In the group stage, teams are drawn into groups of four teams each. Each group plays a round-robin tournament, in which each team is scheduled for three matches against other teams in the same group. The last round of matches of each group is scheduled at the same time to preserve fairness among all four teams. In the 2015 24-team format, the two teams finishing first and second in each group and the four best teams among those ranked third qualify for the round of 16, also called the knockout stage. Points are used to rank the teams within a group. Since 1994, three points have been awarded for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss (before, winners received two points).

The ranking of each team in each group is determined as follows:[21]

  1. Greatest number of points in group matches
  2. Greatest goal difference in group matches
  3. Greatest number of goals scored in group matches
  4. If more than one team remain level after applying the above criteria, their ranking will be determined as follows:
    1. Greatest number of points in head-to-head matches among those teams
    2. Greatest goal difference in head-to-head matches among those teams
    3. Greatest number of goals scored in head-to-head matches among those teams
  5. If any of the teams above remain level after applying the above criteria, their ranking will be determined by the drawing of lots

The knockout stage is a single-elimination tournament in which teams play each other in one-off matches, with extra time and penalty shootouts used to decide the winner if necessary. It begins with the round of 16. This is followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals, the third-place match (contested by the losing semi-finalists), and the final.[21]

Attendance

Year Hosts Matches Attendance Notes
  Total Average Highest
1991  China 26 510,000 18,344 65,000 [22]
1995  Sweden 26 112,213 4,316 17,158 [22]
1999  United States 32 1,214,209 37,944 90,185 [22]
2003  United States 32 679,664 21,240 34,144 [22]
2007  China 32 1,190,971 37,218 55,832 [22]
2011  Germany 32 845,751 26,430 73,680 [22]
2015  Canada 52 1,353,506 26,029 54,027 [22][23]

Notes:

  • The 2003 Women's World Cup was originally planned to be hosted by China, but was awarded to the United States in May 2003 after a major SARS outbreak.
  • The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup set a new attendance record for all FIFA competitions besides the men's FIFA World Cup.[23]

Hosts and results

# Year Hosts Champions Score Runners-up Third place Score Fourth place No. of Teams
1 1991
Details
  China
United States
2–1
Norway

Sweden
4–0
Germany
12
2 1995
Details
  Sweden
Norway
2–0
Germany

United States
2–0
China PR
12
3 1999
Details
  United States
United States
0–0 (a.e.t.)
(5–4 p)

China PR

Brazil
0–0[A]
(5–4 p)

Norway
16
4 2003
Details
  United States
Germany
2–1 (a.e.t.)
Sweden

United States
3–1
Canada
16
5 2007
Details
 China
Germany
2–0
Brazil

United States
4–1
Norway
16
6 2011
Details
  Germany
Japan
2–2 (a.e.t.)
(3–1 p)

United States

Sweden
2–1
France
16
7 2015
Details
  Canada
United States
5–2
Japan

England
1–0 (a.e.t.)
Germany
24
8 2019
Details
  France 24

A No extra time was played.[24]

In all 36 nations have played in one Women's World Cup. Of those, four nations have won the World Cup. With three times, the United States are the most successful Women's World Cup team and is one of only seven nations to play in every World Cup. They have also had the most top four finishes (7), medals (7) and final appearances (4). Germany is the only nation who have won consecutive titles when they won the 2007 edition to follow up with their 2003 triumph in China.

Women's World Cup Results
Map of countries' best results

Teams reaching the top four

Team Titles Runners-up Third Place Fourth Place Total
 United States 3 (1991, 1999, 2015) 1 (2011) 3 (1995, 2003, 2007) 7
 Germany 2 (2003, 2007) 1 (1995) 2 (1991, 2015) 5
 Norway 1 (1995) 1 (1991) 2 (1999, 2007) 4
 Japan 1 (2011) 1 (2015) 2
 Sweden 1 (2003) 2 (1991, 2011) 3
 Brazil 1 (2007) 1 (1999) 2
 China PR 1 (1999) 1 (1995) 2
 England 1 (2015) 1
 Canada 1 (2003) 1
 France 1 (2011) 1

Best performances by continental zones

To date their has been four of the six FIFA zones have made it to a Women's World Cup final with the only two continents not making a final being CAF (Africa) and the OFC (Oceania). The only continent that have made a World Cup final but haven't won it is CONMEBOL when Brazil made it to the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup final. Only one African team has qualified through to the quarter finals with that being Nigeria in 1999. Oceania has never had a team that have qualified into the knockout stage.

The United States are the only team to have won the tournament in their own confederation when they won the 1999 (at home) and 2015 (in Canada). Germany is the only team to successfully defend their title when they defended it in 2007.

Total times teams qualified by confederation
Confederation AFC CAF CONCACAF CONMEBOL OFC UEFA Total
Teams 29 16 20 15 8 48 136
Top 16 4 1 2 2 0 7 16
Top 8 14 1 9 4 0 28 56
Top 4 4 0 8 2 0 14 28
Top 2 3 0 4 1 0 6 14
1st 1 0 3 0 0 3 7
2nd 2 0 1 1 0 3 7
3rd 0 0 3 1 0 3 7
4th 1 0 1 0 0 5 7

Broadcasting

As of 2017, the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final was the most watched soccer match in American history with nearly 23 million viewers,[25] more than the 2015 NBA Finals and Stanley Cup.[26] It was also the most watched Spanish-language broadcast in tournament history.[25] More than 750 million viewers were reported to have watched the tournament worldwide.[27]

Awards

At the end of each World Cup, awards are presented to select players and teams for accomplishments other than their final team positions in the tournament. There are currently seven awards:

  • The Golden Ball for the best player, determined by a vote of media members (first awarded in 1991); the Silver Ball and the Bronze Ball are awarded to the players finishing second and third in the voting respectively.
  • The Golden Boot (also known as the Golden Shoe) for the top goalscorer (first awarded in 1991). The Silver Boot and the Bronze Boot have been awarded to the second and third top goalscorers respectively.
    • If two or more players finish the tournament with the same number of goals, tiebreakers are used in the following order:
      • Most assists.
      • Fewest minutes played.
  • The Golden Glove Award for the best goalkeeper, decided by the FIFA Technical Study Group. First awarded in 2007 as "Best Goalkeeper"; current award name adopted in 2011.
  • The Best Young Player Award for the best player no older than age 21 as of 1 January of the year of the final tournament, decided by the FIFA Technical Study Group (first awarded in 2011).
  • The FIFA Fair Play Award for the team with the best record of fair play, according to the points system and criteria established by the FIFA Fair Play Committee (first awarded in 1991).
  • The All-Star Team, consisting of the best players of the tournament as determined by the FIFA Technical Study Group (first selected in 1999).
  • The Dream Team, consisting of the best players of the tournament as chosen by users of fifa.com (first selected in 2015).

Another award is presented a week after the final match:

  • The Goal of the Tournament, consisting of the tournament's best goal, as chosen by users of fifa.com from a shortlist of 12 goals selected by FIFA's web administrators (first awarded in 2015).

One past award is no longer presented:

  • The Most Entertaining Team Award for the team that has entertained the public the most during the World Cup, determined by a poll of the general public (awarded in 2003 and 2007).

Player records

Boldface indicates a player still playing.

Most goals

Marta (10), meio-campista, craque, genial, DSC00982
Marta of Brazil is the all-time leading scorer of the World Cup.
Birgit Prinz
Birgit Prinz is tied for the second most goals in all tournaments, and won the title twice representing Germany.
Rank Name World Cup Total
China
'91
Sweden
'95
United States
'99
United States
'03
China
'07
Germany
'11
Canada
'15
France
'19
1 Brazil Marta 3 7 4 1 15
2 Germany Birgit Prinz 1 1 7 5 0 14
United States Abby Wambach 3 6 4 1 14
4 United States Michelle Akers 10 0 2 12
5 China Sun Wen 1 2 7 1 11
Germany Bettina Wiegmann 3 3 3 2 11
7 Norway Ann Kristin Aarønes 6 4 10
Germany Heidi Mohr 7 3 10
9 Norway Linda Medalen 6 2 1 9
Norway Hege Riise 1 5 3 0 9
Canada Christine Sinclair 3 3 1 2 9

Formiga and Homare Sawa are the only players to appear in six Women's World Cup editions.

Formiga (08), meio-campista, DSC00910-2012-26-07
Homare Sawa in 2011

Most tournaments

# Player Appearances
1 Brazil Formiga 6 (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)
Japan Homare Sawa 6 (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)
3 United States Kristine Lilly 5 (1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007)
Norway Bente Nordby 5 (1991*, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007)
Germany Birgit Prinz 5 (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011)
Canada Karina LeBlanc 5 (1999*, 2003, 2007*, 2011, 2015*)
Germany Nadine Angerer 5 (1999*, 2003*, 2007, 2011, 2015)
United States Christie Rampone 5 (1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)

*Did not play but was part of the squad.

Most matches

# Player Matches
1 United States Kristine Lilly 30
2 United States Abby Wambach 25
3 Brazil Formiga 24
United States Julie Foudy 24
Germany Birgit Prinz 24
Japan Homare Sawa 24
7 United States Joy Fawcett 23
United States Mia Hamm 23
9 Norway Bente Nordby 22
Norway Hege Riise 22
Germany Bettina Wiegmann 22

See also

References

  1. ^ Garin, Erik (26 February 2015). "Coppa del Mondo (Women) 1970". RSSSF. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  2. ^ Wilson, Bill (7 December 2018). "Mexico 1971: When women's football hit the big time". BBC. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  3. ^ Garin, Eric (29 February 2004). "Mundial (Women) 1971". RSSSF. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  4. ^ Kessel, Anna (5 June 2015). "Women's World Cup: from unofficial tournaments to record-breaking event". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  5. ^ Garin, Erik (11 April 2019). "Mundialito (Women) 1981-1988". RSSSF. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Foundation of Asian brilliance". AFC. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Ellen Wille, mother of Norwegian women's football". FIFA. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  8. ^ "A green and gold shirt steeped in history". 16 December 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  9. ^ "When Akers and USA got the party started". FIFA.com. 13 December 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Norway take gold in Sweden". FIFA.com. 22 March 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Women's World Cup History". The Sports Network. Retrieved 25 March 2007.
  12. ^ Koppel, Naomi (3 May 2003). "FIFA moves Women's World Cup from China because of SARS". USA Today. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
  13. ^ Molinaro, John F. (3 March 2011). "Canada gets 2015 Women's World Cup of soccer". CBC Sports. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  14. ^ "Japan legend Sawa makes cut for sixth World Cup". Reuters. 1 May 2015.
  15. ^ "USWNT'S Christie Rampone Is Now The Oldest Player To Appear In The Women's World Cup". Huffington Post. 17 June 2015.
  16. ^ "France to host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2019". FIFA.com. 19 March 2015.
  17. ^ "LA FINALE DU MONDIAL FEMININ 2019 AU PARC OL !" (Press release) (in French). Groupama Stadium. 15 June 2016.
  18. ^ "The Official Womens World Cup Trophy". www.fifa.com. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Women's World Cup Trophy Is Made of Gold-Clad Sterling Silver; Men's Version Is 18-Karat Gold". The Jeweler's Blog. 5 July 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  20. ^ "World Champions: USA Wins 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup". U.S. Soccer. 5 July 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  21. ^ a b c "Regulations FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015" (PDF). FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015" (PDF). FIFA. p. 148. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Key figures from the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™". FIFA. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  24. ^ "Brazil takes third". SI/CNN. 10 July 1999. Archived from the original on 28 February 2002. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  25. ^ a b "Women's World Cup Final Is Most-watched Soccer Match in U.S. History". U.S. Soccer. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  26. ^ Hinog, Mark (6 July 2015). "More Americans watched the Women's World Cup final than the NBA Finals or the Stanley Cup 24". SB Nation. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  27. ^ "Record-breaking FIFA Women's World Cup tops 750 million TV viewers". FIFA. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2017.

External links

1991 FIFA Women's World Cup

The 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup was the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup, the world championship for women's national association football teams. It took place in Guangdong, China from 16 to 30 November 1991. FIFA, football's international governing body selected China as host nation as Guangdong had hosted a prototype world championship three years earlier, the 1988 FIFA Women's Invitation Tournament. Matches were played in the state capital, Guangzhou, as well as in Foshan, Jiangmen and Zhongshan. The competition was sponsored by Mars, Incorporated. With FIFA still reluctant to bestow their "World Cup" brand, the tournament was officially known as the 1st FIFA World Championship for Women's Football for the M&M's Cup.It was won by the United States, whose captain April Heinrichs formed a forward line dubbed the "triple–edged sword" with Carin Jennings and Michelle Akers-Stahl. Jennings was named player of the tournament while Akers-Stahl's ten goals won the Golden Shoe. The United States beat Norway 2–1 in the final in front of a crowd of 65,000 people at Guangzhou's Tianhe Stadium. Total attendance was 510,000, an average per match of 19,615. In the opening match at the same stadium, Norway had been defeated 4–0 by hosts China. Chinese defender Ma Li scored the first goal in Women's World Cup history, while goalkeeper Zhong Honglian, also of China, posted the first official "clean sheet" in the tournament.

The 12 qualified teams were divided into three groups of four (A to C). The top two teams and the two best third-place finishers from the three groups advanced to the knockout round of eight teams.

1995 FIFA Women's World Cup

The 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup, the second edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup, was held in Sweden and won by Norway. The tournament featured 12 women's national teams from six continental confederations. The 12 teams were drawn into three groups of four and each group played a round-robin tournament. At the end of the group stage, the top two teams and two best third-ranked teams advanced to the knockout stage, beginning with the quarter-finals and culminating with the final at Råsunda Stadium on 18 June 1995.

Sweden became the first country to host both men's and women's World Cup, having hosted the men's in 1958.

Canada, Australia, and England made their debuts in the competition. The tournament also hosted as qualification for the 1996 Olympic games, with the eight quarter-finalists being invited to the Olympics.

2003 FIFA Women's World Cup

The 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, the fourth edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup, was held in the United States and won by Germany. They won their first women's world title and became the first country to win both men's and women's World Cup. The men's team had won the World Cup three times at the time.

The tournament was originally scheduled for China from 23 September to 11 October. On 3 May 2003, FIFA announced that they would move the tournament to an alternate host country because of the 2003 SARS outbreak in China. At the same time the FIFA announced that the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup would be awarded to China in its place. On 26 May 2003, FIFA announced the United States would host the tournament. Because the United States had hosted the 1999 World Cup, it was thought the United States could best organize the tournament in the little time remaining before the October scheduled start. In addition, women's soccer boosters in the United States hoped that interest generated by the tournament would save the U.S. women's professional league, the Women's United Soccer Association, from folding.In compensation for losing the tournament, China retained its automatic qualification as host, and was named as host for the 2007 event.Mostly due to the rescheduling of the tournament on short notice, FIFA and the United States Soccer Federation were forced to creatively schedule matches. Nine doubleheaders were scheduled in group play (similar to the 1999 format). They also had to abandon the modern practice of scheduling the final matches of the group stage to kick off simultaneously. In Groups A and D, the final matches were scheduled as the two ends of a doubleheader. The final matches in Groups B and C were also scheduled as doubleheaders, but split between two cities, with a Group B match in each city followed by a Group C match. The four quarterfinals were also scheduled as two doubleheaders, and both semifinals were also a doubleheader.

2007 FIFA Women's World Cup

The 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, the fifth edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup, was an international association football competition for women held in China from 10 to 30 September 2007. Originally, China was to host the 2003 edition, but the outbreak of SARS in that country forced that event to be moved to the United States. FIFA immediately granted the 2007 event to China, which meant that no new host nation was chosen competitively until the voting was held for the 2011 Women's World Cup.

The tournament opened with a record-breaking match in Shanghai, as Germany beat Argentina 11–0 to register the biggest win and the highest scoring match in Women's World Cup history. The tournament ended with Germany defeating Brazil 2–0 in the final, having never surrendered a goal in the entire tournament. The Germans became the first national team in FIFA Women's World Cup history to retain their title.

2011 FIFA Women's World Cup

The 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup was the sixth FIFA Women's World Cup competition, the world championship for women's national association football teams. It was held from 26 June to 17 July 2011 in Germany, which won the right to host the event in October 2007. Japan won the final against the United States on a penalty shoot-out following a 2–2 draw after extra time and became the first Asian team to win a senior FIFA World Cup.The matches were played in nine stadiums in nine host cities around the country, with the final played at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Sixteen teams were selected for participation via a worldwide qualification tournament that began in 2009. In the first round of the tournament finals, the teams competed in round-robin groups of four teams for points, with the top two teams in each group proceeding. These eight teams advanced to the knockout stage, where two rounds of play decided which teams would participate in the final.

2015 FIFA Women's World Cup

The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup was the seventh FIFA Women's World Cup, the quadrennial international women's football world championship tournament. The tournament was hosted by Canada for the first time and by a North American country for the third time. Matches were played in six cities across Canada in five time zones. The tournament began on 6 June 2015, and finished with the final on 5 July 2015 with a United States victory over Japan.

The 2015 tournament saw the World Cup expanded to 24 teams from 16 in 2011. Canada's team received direct entry as host and a qualification tournament of 134 teams was held for the remaining 23 places. With the expanded tournament, eight teams made their Women's World Cup debut. All previous Women's World Cup finalists qualified for the tournament, with defending champions Japan and returning champions Germany (2003, 2007) and the United States (1991, 1999) among the seeded teams.The 2015 tournament used goal-line technology for the first time with the Hawk-Eye system. It was also the first World Cup for either men or women to be played on artificial turf, with all matches played on such surfaces, even though there were some initial concerns over a possible increased risk of injuries.

2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualification (UEFA)

The European qualifying for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup was a women's football tournament organized by UEFA. A record 46 entrants were competing for eight spots. For the first time Albania and Montenegro entered a senior competitive tournament. The first matches were held on 4 April 2013.

2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup will be the eighth edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup, the quadrennial international football championship contested by the women's national teams of the member associations of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) between 7 June and 7 July 2019. In March 2015, France won the right to host the event; the first time the country will host the tournament, and the third time a European nation will. Matches are planned for nine cities across France. The United States enters the competition as defending champions. It will also be the first Women's World Cup to use the video assistant referee (VAR) system.

2019 FIFA Women's World Cup qualification

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup qualification process decided all 24 teams which will play in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, with the hosts France qualifying automatically. It will be the eighth FIFA Women's World Cup, the quadrennial international women's football world championship tournament. The tournament will be the third to be hosted in Europe, after the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup in Sweden and the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.

Abby Wambach

Mary Abigail Wambach (born June 2, 1980) is an American retired soccer player, coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion. A six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award, Wambach was a regular on the U.S. women's national soccer team from 2003 to 2015, earning her first cap in 2001. As a forward, she currently stands as the highest all-time goal scorer for the national team and holds the world record for international goals for both female and male soccer players with 184 goals. Wambach was awarded the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, becoming the first American woman to win the award in ten years. She was included on the 2015 Time 100 list as one of the most influential people in the world.

Wambach competed in four FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments: 2003 in the United States, 2007 in China, 2011 in Germany, and 2015 in Canada, being champion of the last edition; and two Olympics tournaments: 2004 in Athens and 2012 in London, winning the gold medal on both. All together, she played in 29 matches and scored 22 goals at these five international tournaments. She played college soccer for the Florida Gators women's soccer team and helped the team win its first NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship. She played at the professional level for Washington Freedom, magicJack, and the Western New York Flash.

Known for scoring goals with diving headers, a technique she began honing as a youth in her hometown of Rochester, New York, one of her most notable header goals occurred in the 122nd minute of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinal match against Brazil. Wambach scored the equalizer in stoppage time helping the Americans to eventually progress to the championship final against Japan after defeating Brazil in penalty kicks. Her last-minute goal set a new record for latest goal ever scored in a match and was awarded ESPN's 2011 ESPY Award for Best Play of the Year. Following her performance at the 2011 World Cup, she was awarded the tournament's Bronze Boot and Silver Ball. In 2011, she became the first ever soccer player of either gender to be named Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.

Wambach announced her retirement on October 27, 2015. Her last game was played on December 16 in New Orleans when the United States played its last match of its 10-game Victory Tour following its win at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Her autobiography, Forward, released in September 2016, became a New York Times best seller.

Alex Morgan

Alexandra Patricia Morgan Carrasco (born July 2, 1989) is an American soccer player, Olympic gold medalist, and FIFA Women's World Cup champion. She is a forward for Orlando Pride in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and the United States national team. Since 2018, she co-captains her national team alongside Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe.Shortly after graduating early from the University of California, Berkeley, where she played for the California Golden Bears, Morgan was drafted number one overall in the 2011 WPS Draft by the Western New York Flash. There, she made her professional debut and helped the team win the league championship. Morgan, who was 22 at the time, was the youngest player on the national team at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup where the team won silver. At the 2012 London Olympics she scored the match-winning goal in the 123rd minute of the semi-final match against Canada. She finished 2012 with 28 goals and 21 assists, joining Mia Hamm as the only American women to score 20 goals and collect 20 assists in the same calendar year, and making her the sixth and youngest U.S. player to score 20 goals in a single year. She was subsequently named U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year and was a FIFA World Player of the Year finalist.

In 2013, the inaugural season of the National Women's Soccer League, Morgan joined the Portland Thorns and helped the team win the league title that year. Morgan played for the Thorns through the 2015 season, after which she was traded to the Orlando Pride.

Off the field, Morgan teamed with Simon & Schuster to write a middle-grade book series about four soccer players: The Kicks. The first book in the series, Saving the Team, debuted at number seven on The New York Times Best Seller list in May 2013.

In 2015, Morgan was ranked by Time as the top-paid American women's soccer player largely due to her numerous endorsement deals. Morgan, along with Canada's Christine Sinclair and Australia's Steph Catley, became the first women's soccer players to appear on the cover of FIFA video games in 2015. She appeared alongside Lionel Messi on covers of FIFA 16 sold in the United States.

A film featuring Morgan in her acting debut, Alex & Me, was released in June 2018 where she plays a fictionalized version of herself.

Birgit Prinz

Birgit Prinz (born 25 October 1977) is a German retired footballer, two-time FIFA Women's World Cup champion and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year. In addition to the German national team, Prinz played for 1. FFC Frankfurt in the Frauen-Bundesliga as well as the Carolina Courage in the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), the first professional women's league in the United States. Prinz remains one of the game's most prolific strikers and is the second FIFA Women's World Cup all-time leading scorer with 14 goals (second only to Marta from Brazil). On 12 August 2011, she announced the end of her active career. She currently works as a sport psychologist for the men's and women's teams of 1. Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.

Carli Lloyd

Carli Anne Lloyd (born July 16, 1982) is an American soccer player. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 and 2012), 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup champion, two-time FIFA Player of the Year (2015 and 2016), and a three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016). She currently plays for Sky Blue FC in the National Women's Soccer League and the United States women's national soccer team as a midfielder. Lloyd scored the gold medal-winning goals in the finals of the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics. She captained the United States to victory in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup as well as appeared in the 2007 and 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

During the United States' 5–2 win over Japan in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final, Lloyd became the first person ever to score three goals in a FIFA Women's World Cup final, and the second soccer player in history to score a hat trick in any senior FIFA World Cup Final, after Geoff Hurst. Lloyd scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of the final, with the first two occurring in the first five minutes of the game and within three minutes of each other. She received the Golden Ball Trophy as the best player of the tournament and earned the Silver Boot for her six goals and one assist during the tournament.Lloyd has made over 270 appearances for the U.S. national team and she has scored 107 goals. She previously played for the Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC, and Atlanta Beat in Women's Professional Soccer (WPS). In 2013, she was allocated to the Western New York Flash for the inaugural season of the NWSL and helped her team win the regular season championship. After two seasons with the Flash, she was traded to Houston Dash prior to the 2015 season. Her memoir, When Nobody was Watching was published in September 2016.

Christine Sinclair

Christine Margaret Sinclair, OC (born June 12, 1983) is a Canadian soccer player and captain of the Canadian national team. She plays professionally for the Portland Thorns FC in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and previously played for FC Gold Pride and Western New York Flash in the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS). A CONCACAF champion, two-time Olympic bronze medalist and 14-time winner of the Canada Soccer Player of the Year award, Sinclair is Canada's all-time leading scorer and currently second in all-time international goals scored for males or females with 181, behind Abby Wambach at 184.

Having played over 15 years with the senior national team, Sinclair has played in four FIFA Women's World Cups (USA 2003, China 2007, Germany 2011, Canada 2015) and three Olympic Football Tournaments (Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016). She has been shortlisted for FIFA World Player of the Year seven times, in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016.

Sinclair has won championships with three different professional teams: the 2010 WPS Championship with FC Gold Pride, the 2011 WPS Championship with Western New York Flash, and the 2013 and 2017 NWSL Championships with Portland Thorns FC. She won the national collegiate Division I championship twice, in 2002 and 2005, with the University of Portland. In 2012, she won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's athlete of the year, and the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canada's female athlete of the year.

In September 2013, Sinclair was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame and in June 2017, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston.

Formiga (footballer, born 1978)

Miraildes Maciel Mota (born 3 March 1978), commonly known as Formiga (Portuguese: ant), is a Brazilian footballer who plays as a midfielder for Paris Saint-Germain. She previously played for professional clubs in Sweden and the United States. Formiga holds many international records as a member of the Brazil women's national football team, being the only player present in all Olympic Games tournaments of women's football since the first edition at the 1996 Summer Olympics, and sharing with Homare Sawa a record six appearances at the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Kristine Lilly

Kristine Marie Lilly Heavey (born July 22, 1971), née Kristine Marie Lilly, is a retired American soccer player who last played professionally for Boston Breakers in Women's Professional Football (WPS). She was a member of the United States women's national football team for 23 years and is the most capped football player in the history of the sport (men's or women's) gaining her 354th and final cap against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in November 2010. Lilly scored 130 goals for the United States women's national team, behind Mia Hamm's 158 goals, and Abby Wambach's 184.

Mia Hamm

Mariel Margaret Hamm-Garciaparra (born March 17, 1972) is an American retired professional soccer player, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and two-time FIFA Women's World Cup champion. Hailed as a soccer icon, she played as a forward for the United States women's national soccer team from 1987–2004. Hamm was the face of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), the first professional women's soccer league in the United States, where she played for the Washington Freedom from 2001–2003. She played college soccer for the North Carolina Tar Heels women's soccer team and helped the team win four consecutive NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship titles.

During her tenure with the national team, Hamm competed in four FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments: the inaugural 1991 in China, 1995 in Sweden, 1999 and 2003 in the United States. She led the team at three Olympic Games, including: 1996 in Atlanta (the first time women's soccer was played), 2000 in Sydney, and 2004 in Athens. She completed her international career having played in 42 matches and scored 14 goals at these 7 international tournaments.

Hamm held the record for most international goals scored—by a woman or man—until 2013 and remains in third place behind former teammate Abby Wambach and Canadian striker Christine Sinclair as of 2017. She currently ranks third in the history of the U.S. national team for international caps (276) and first for career assists (144). Twice named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002, Hamm and her teammate Michelle Akers were hailed by Pelé as two of FIFA's 125 greatest living players when he included them in the FIFA 100 to celebrate the organization's 100th anniversary. Hamm was named U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year five years in a row and won three ESPY awards including Soccer Player of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year. The Women's Sports Foundation named her Sportswoman of the Year in 1997 and 1999. She was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame and was the first woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame.A co-owner of Los Angeles FC, Hamm is also a global ambassador for FC Barcelona and is on the board of directors of Serie A club A.S. Roma. Author of Go For the Goal: A Champion's Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life, Hamm has been featured in several films and television shows, including the HBO documentary, Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team.

Michelle Akers

Michelle Anne Akers (born February 1, 1966) is a former American soccer player, who starred in the historic 1991 and 1999 Women's World Cup victories by the United States. She won the Golden Boot as the top scorer in the 1991 tournament.

Akers is regarded as one of the greatest female soccer players of all time. She was named FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2002, an award she shared with China's Sun Wen. In 2004, Akers and Mia Hamm were the only two women named to the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living soccer players selected by Pelé and commissioned by FIFA for that organization's 100th anniversary.

Akers is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame; she was inducted in 2004, along with Paul Caligiuri and Eric Wynalda.

Silvia Neid

Silvia Neid (born 2 May 1964) is a retired professional German football player and manager. She is one of the most successful players in German women's football, having won seven national championships and six DFB-Pokal trophies. Between 2005 and 2016, Neid served as the head coach of the Germany women's national football team. She was the FIFA World Women's Coach of the Year in 2010, 2013 and 2016.

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