Football: Women’s round-up: July 2014

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While it was a relatively quite month in women’s football there was still plenty of interest in various parts of the world ahead of next week’s opening to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The month saw the pathway to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ become a little clearer for African and CONCACAF aspirants. In club football, Seattle Reign have collected their first NWSL silverware and iconic Brazilian forward Marta has found a new home. Join for all the news from the world of women’s football.

Club Football
Let it Reign
Seattle Reign cruised to the National Women’s Soccer League Shield winning the first-past-the-post title with an impressive four matches to spare. A 4-1 victory at Houston Dash on Wednesday confirmed an unbeatable lead at the summit and the north-west side, having lost just one game to date, will now look to go one better during the finals series at the end of August.

Marta’s Swedish affair continues
Marta has linked with Swedish frontrunners Rosengard following the withdrawal of fellow Damallsvenskan club Tyreso from the league during June. The five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, who had previously played for Umea aside from stints in the USA and Brazil, bolsters an already impressive forward line that includes prolific German Anja Mittag, and Swiss ace Ramona Bachmann.

European princesses named
The players in the running to be crowned UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe Award for 2013/14 have been revealed. The shortlist of 11 will be reduced to three with Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer named as last year’s European queen. The selected players are: Veronica Boquete (nationality – Spain), Nilla Fischer (Sweden), Lena Gossling (Germany), Nadine Kessler (Germany), Lena Lotzen (Germany), Marta (Brazil), Martina Muller (Germany), Alexandra Popp (Germany), Christen Press (USA), Lotta Schelin (Sweden), Caroline Seger (Sweden).

National Teams
Road to Canada becomes clearer
While international on-field action may have been limited during July, the momentum for Canada 2015 continued to build. In Africa, the draw for October’s eight-nation CAF African Women’s Championship was made with hosts Namibia handed a tough task lining up alongside the continent’s most successful nation, Nigeria, as well as Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire. The other group includes three-time Women’s World Cup finalists Ghana, 2012 Olympic Games participants South Africa, plus Cameroon and Algeria. The top three teams will qualify for Canada 2015.

Meanwhile, in the CONCACAF region the venues for the eight-nation tournament have been confirmed with Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Washington DC in the USA to play host. The top three teams in the 15-26 October tournament will earn a ticket to next year’s event in Canada.

Brilliant Oranje
The Netherlands became UEFA Women’s Under-19 Champions for the first time with a 1-0 against-the-odds win against another rapidly-developing European women’s football nation, Spain. The Dutch topped the eight-nation finals tournament held in Norway thanks in part to their goal-scoring starlet Vivianne Miedema. The Bayern Munich-bound 17-year-old scored a tournament-high six goals, including the winner in the final, having easily claimed the league’s top goal-scorer in the recently completed Belgium/Netherlands league season.

It was another busy month for women’s football development with girls’ festivals taking place in Grenada, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea, as they did at the end of June in Lebanon. There were also numerous nations making the most of summer weather in the northern hemisphere to run FIFA’s Live Your Goals programme during July. Meanwhile, in the small Oceanian nation of Cook Islands a national competition was launched for the first time with the support of FIFA.

The stat
14 – Seattle Reign’s Scottish striker Kim Little set a new regular-season goal-scoring mark in the USA’s NWSL with her season tally now at 14, topping the tally set by Lauren Holiday last season.

The quote
“Everything I have achieved is more than I dreamt of – I did everything right.” All-time UEFA Women’s Champions League top-scorer Conny Pohlers of Wolfsburg following her retirement.

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