The last round of 16 match concluded the quarter finals in this World Cup. A chance to observe a tournament full of surprises, where the favorites stumble – those who might not otherwise be able to speak, sing or cheer on the big World Cup stage are in the limelight.
The noise of competition
Some teams match through the match, some defend from game to game. Banana Banana Sung by. At the opening ceremony in Wellington, before training sessions, in the team hotel, in the dressing room: wherever the South Africans were, they found themselves in a choir to sing their soft, rhythmic songs. The match had a musical influence in these ritualistic moments common to football in South Africa: singing is part of the preparation for the game, it’s supposed to calm you down and get you in the mood.
It worked brilliantly: the African champions reached the round of 16 for the first time, although they lost there to the Netherlands, but it was the highlight of a long journey full of setbacks for their coach Desiree Ellis. In 1993, she was one of the pioneers of women’s football in her country, but on her first trip to Swaziland, an overnight bus to Cape Town suffered a flat tire and left her working as a spice grinder. morning. After 30 years, she could watch her players play brave football through the group stage. Without any flaws, but with a chorus of competition.
Work instead of profession
There Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, Switzerland’s 5-1 loss to Spain, had no choice but to shake her head. “I mean, my team works all day,” she said – and that doesn’t mean the effort of training: “They can only play football in the evening. How do you continue to be the best when you wake up? In the morning, sitting in the office for six to eight hours and training only in the evening? For the World Cup.” When to take unpaid leave?”
Crnogorcevic plays for FC Barcelona, she’s a professional, but – you have to remind yourself – that’s not normal in women’s football. Not at the World Cup, and not in Switzerland, which will host the European Championships in the summer of 2025. “The leagues in Spain, England, Germany are the basis for their success,” said the Swiss record goalscorer – and demanded that smaller countries like her home country have better opportunities to focus on a career as a woman. Can focus.
In major football matches, there is usually an interesting point where the host nation is removed and the question arises: can the atmosphere be any better/greater/greater? In the case of New Zealand, the answer is yes, as they have three domestic matches Football Ferns (“Ferns”) was enough to spark a huge interest in the sport, which is somewhat foreign to Kiwis. The only open question is which country the New Zealand players have chosen as worthy of support for the further course of the tournament.
The sources speak against Spain, whose delegation made no friends with their displeasure with the Palmerston North district. A few more residents could memorize the group for the Swedes, who made many friends in the Upper Hutt neighborhood near Wellington. Sometimes even a voice is heard The Matildas From Australia – although affection has its limits: the rugby team All blacks Playing the last friendly against Australia at the weekend before the World Cup in September, you can see in the sports bars how a country remembers that you don’t begrudge your great northern neighbor any sporting success.
The third host
In Australia, of course, affection belongs to your own team – and Tuesday showed just how enriching it can be when you’re an expat: in Melbourne, in a 1-0 round-of-16 win over Jamaica. Colombia is the third home nation in this World Cup. As in the group game against Germany, the South Americans created the most exciting stadium atmosphere of the tournament. With a team that plays practical, serious football and has always relied on the genius of individual players like Linda Caicedo, Colombia could do well in the quarter-finals against England – with a possible semi-final against Australia in Sydney. A matter of concern for local seismologists.
A strong voice from Texas
Women’s soccer has benefited from activists and their passionate contributions throughout its history — but more often than not they’ve come from 66-year-old men from Texas. Randy Waldrum has coached women’s teams at universities across the U.S. since 1989, so he understands what’s important in business. He has been leading the Nigeria team since 2020. On Sunday, he used a press conference ahead of the Round of 16 match against England to address some of the issues on his mind. “We need more women coaches in this game,” said Waltham, adding that there is only one team in the competition coached by a woman – Sarina Wickman’s England. “That doesn’t mean men shouldn’t do it, but we definitely need to invest more in women and female coaches. Part of that is changing the ‘boys club’ mentality.”
Waltham called for more investment in infrastructure. The three African countries in the Round of 16 are good examples of what you can achieve with a little more money: the new national training center in Morocco and the South Africans’ record budget, he noted: “Maybe people outside Africa are surprised, but people in Africa really aren’t.” Finally, Waldrum again criticized the Nigerian federation for not wanting to send bonus payments from the world federation directly to the players. She supports their protest because her team stands for what is possible in women’s football, and off the field: “Your commitment to this World Cup is very noticeable.”
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