Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Countdown To FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

Photo: FIFA and the National Organizing Committee have unveiled the Official Slogan for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015: TO A GREATER GOAL. Which country is YOUR 'favourite' for next year's competition? http://fifa.to/1p1sAPH
If you thought that the World Cup wasn't going to happen until 2018 in Russia, think again.   There will be FIFA World Cup action happening next summer, and it'll be right next door to us in Canada.

The seventh edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup will happen June 6-July 5 with an expanded field of 24 nations for the first time playing in the cities of Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, Moncton, Winnipeg, and Ottawa.   The title game is set to be played at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.   

FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ unveils official mascot The Women's World Cup Draw to set the groups will take place on December 6 in Ottawa and as of this writing, besides the host nation of Canada, six have qualified so far including defending world champions Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and first timers Thailand and Switzerland.

One team you won't see is North Korea, who is banned for this tournament for having several players test positive during the 2011 World Cup edition in Germany for banned substances.  

The official mascot for this upcoming Women's World Cup has already been unveiled, and she is the female great white owl named Shuéme

If you're wondering if FIFA world number one ranked and 2011 runners up Team USA has qualified yet, the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament to determine three of the World Cup spots assigned to our federation isn't happening until October 14-26 somewhere here in the USA.  The fourth place CONCACAF team will have to fight a CONMEBOL (South America) third place finisher in a playoff for another World Cup spot. 

Team USA has had a turbulent year.  It has been 15 years since they captured their last world championship with the dramatic Rose Bowl penalty kick shootout win over with China.   But Team USA finished a shocking seventh in the Algarve Cup tournament with zero wins.   After the worst ever finish in the Algarve Cup tournament, the Stars and Stripes (need to come up with a cooler nickname) knocked off China's Steel Roses, then fired coach Tom Sermanni and replaced him with assistant Jill Ellis. 

While Team USA is deep, the question remains whether Ellis will have enough time to fashion Team USA into the dominating unit we all know and love that rolled though CONCACAF Olympic qualification by a cumulative score of 38-0 in 2012 

And yes, the host Canadians will be looking for payback next summer after being knocked out of the Olympic semifinals (they assert they were robbed) by Team USA.  They are also pissed that striker Sydney Leroux, one of the best north of the border players since Christine Sinclair, decided to play for Team USA.

Hey Canada (and Renee), don't hate because we got it like that. I'm glad sistah Sydney (yep, she's Black) is playing for my team. 

But like Canada, the rest of the world is catching up to our FIFA world number one ranked USA squad . The Germans have won two titles.  The French are a threat along with defending champion Japan and Pia Sundhage coached Sweden. And the Brazilians with Marta are always dangerous.

As far as the rest of the women's football world is concerned, the race is on to punch their tickets to Canada.  The CAF (Africa) will determine their three spots at a qualifying tournament to be held in Namibia October 11-25 while the 2014 South American Women's Football Championship will be held in Ecuador September 11-28 to determine two of the CONMEBOL spots.   UEFA (Europe) is still sorting out who will represent them and take their remaining seven spots, while New Zealand barring a monumental upset is probably going to get Oceania's lone tournament slot. 

So we still have a few months left before we know which teams will be playing in Canada next summer and which groups they will be competing in with the ultimate goal of being in Vancouver to hoist that trophy.   The only team that does know their group are the host Canadians, and they will be per FIFA tradition in Group A.

The answers to the rest of the Women's World Cup related questions we'll discover by the end of the year..

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