Following our previous blog in anticipation of the Women’s World Cup last week, we’ve been waiting in excitement for what looked to be the biggest women’s tournament so far.
It hasn’t disappointed…
Over the last week, the tournament has delivered great entertainment and exposure for the women’s game. Explosive football and tight match ups have led to record viewing figures, with England’s clash against Scotland attracting over 6m viewers. Aside from England’s progress, the USA recently dismantled Thailand in a 13-0 win, whilst front-runners France have won their opening two games.
So far so good. The tournament has been a great success. Not only do England look the part, but people around the world appear to be transfixed on the event’s progression. This is great news for the sport moving forward and is likely to lead to a spike in physical activity amongst girls.
This is a welcome benefit of televising the women’s sport which once had no place on our screens. The Telegraph speak of the clear link between televising sport and greater participation within the women’s game. This progression will help combat the lack of activity from women, with only 14% of girls reaching recommended activity levels on a daily basis, according to Sport England.
What happens next?
England head into to their second fixture against Argentina before facing Japan in their final group game. Neville’s team are looking to build on the resilience they showed against Scotland in the hope they can advance into the knockout stages.
The USA have strengthened their case as firm favourites after the thrashing of Thailand in their first fixture. They hope to retain the trophy they won in the 2015 final, after dismantling Japan in a thrilling 5-2 win. It looks like these guys could be the team to beat.
Host nation France have started strong, winning both of their two opening group games. They face Nigeria in the final group fixture, looking to solidify their place in the next stage. With bookmaker’s odds of 7/2 to win the tournament, I wouldn’t write these girls off.
Can England go all the way?
Although England won their opening game against Scotland, by no means was it a convincing victory. After going 2-0 up, Scotland eased back into the game and almost took advantage with an equaliser towards the end. Phil Neville was far from happy with the performance, stating that ‘it taught us that every game is going to be hard’.
It means England must perform better if they are to worry teams in the later stages of the tournament. They must also pass their two remaining group fixtures if they are to advance out of the group.