Women’s World Cup 2019 – Wow! (#94)
It was purely by accident that we became aware of the ‘2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup’. The reason being that there was shamefully little promotion of the coming games before they started on June 7th, 2019.
In fact, compared to the massive global hoopla that precedes the men’s FIFA World Cup, there was no coverage whatsoever on regular media or any special promotions by FIFA that would make the average person aware of the impending games. And that, as we said, was a real shame, because, the games have been superb, exciting and some downright spectacular. In fact, so far, simply Wow!
As someone who knows enough about the game of football (in North America called ‘Soccer’) to discern a good or great game from the mundane or the downright bad, we have been very pleasantly surprised by the level of skill, standard of play, and the excitement and entertainment quotient of women’s football compared to the men’s games. In fact, in our opinion, the women’s World Cup football games have in some respects, been superior to the men’s games.
One immediate standout difference is how ‘clean’ the women’s games generally are. Whereas the men’s games are renowned for the endless exaggerated feigned injuries to solicit fouls and penalties, the ‘dirty tricks’ employed, and the clashes of ego’s and rivalries among the generally overpaid global ‘super stars’ with their regular bouts of disappointing play. The women’s football on the other hand, is more or less devoid of such distracting burdens, leaving room for great football in just about every game. And, on average, the women’s games are technically on par and higher scoring than the men’s, and thus inevitably more entertaining to watch.
Some people may take issue with our observation that now, women’s technical skills are on par with the men’s, in the World Cup, but if one is to watch the games, without the established biases against women, and the ingrained presumption of male superiority, the women’s playing ability, stamina, passing skills, strategies, entertaining ‘Brazilian flicks and tricks’ are just as good as any seen in men’s plays.
One just has to watch the two goals in the last ‘Netherlands vs Japan’ match, one by the Dutch striker Lieke Martens (an astonishing backward flick off the side of the foot while facing away from the goal), and Japan’s striker Yui Hasegawa’s follow-up equalizer, a superb goal with all the skill, courage and flair of an amazing strike.
And these matches, so far, are not even the final games between the top teams that are coming up now. So far, the games played to date were leading up towards the finals.
Considering the skills and the sheer watchability of these games, if one is into World Cup football, it is downright shameful how little buildup and promotion these games got compared to the absolute circus that the men’s World Cup games usually are, in their hype, weeks if not months of promotions, and global coverage in the media.
This of course is the continuation of the age-old misogyny that has defined humanity, but considering that this is the 21st Century, it is still pitiful in its global prevalence, and in specific instances, such as the FIFA World Cup, which obviously reeks of outrageous double standards when it comes to gender equality.
Now, considering the distasteful behavior of the FIFA organization with its endemic cases of bribes, kickbacks, and pervasive corruption, from the very top to the lesser levels, which came to light in the past few years, and led to some housecleaning in its management etc., it is hardly surprising that gender equality and a sense of sheer fair-play, between genders, is still very much work-in-progress. But still, this level of discrepancy in promoting women’s World Cup is downright shameful and incredibly unfair to the amazing women athletes that play such great football.
To highlight the unfair treatment of women footballers, one does not have to go much further than the American National Soccer (football) teams. It is indisputable that American women footballers have done far better than the American men in just about every way.
American women are three times World Cup Champions, and are ranked consistently as the top women footballers in the World, including this year, while the underachieving men don’t even come close. Yet the men get more of everything, while the overachieving women have to fight for just basic fairness.
The American Women World Cup Team has produced World famous 'Super-Stars', while not many of the American men players are known at all. Yet, the men are compensated far more than the women players on the average, so much so that the Women players have sued the American Soccer Federation for fairer, more equal compensation for their ‘equal work’.
Another interesting fact – Brazilian women’s Super-Star striker, Marta, has scored more goals than any Super-Star man in the FIFA World Cup games, (17 in 21 games), and has over 200 career goals. Yet, she is grossly underpaid and is barely known globally when compared to the Brazilian men. A symptom of the misogyny disease that has gripped women’s football from the very start, and is in FIFA’s DNA.
In spite of the glaring unfairness of it all, the 2019 Women’s World Cup Finals, coming-up, are promising to be outstanding football games played at their cleanest, technically most proficient best, with huge doses of emotional and national excitement thrown in for good measure.
The remaining games (starting tomorrow) for this year’s Women’s FIFA World Cup are going to be certainly worth watching, and women’s football, as with other areas of endeavor, deserve much greater support and fairness than is given them now.