BC PLACE in Vancouver might have been called DC PLACE due to the fact that probably 50,000 or more of the 53,341 in attendance for The FIFA Women's World Cup Final were hootin' and hollerin' for The Stars and Stripes, with the border just half an hour's drive away.
Usually a large proportion of the best seats are taken up by corporate fat cats and FIFA blazers, but evidently not this time. The final score USA 5 v Japan 2 equalled the men's final of 1958 at Rasunda Stadium, Solna, Stockholm in 1958; Brazil 5 v Sweden 2. I watched it on a tiny black & white television, and all the previous matches that were shown. Four years before saw the first ever televised tournament from Switzerland and I watched every match available.
No team has ever scored more than two goals in a Women's Final but five minutes into the match on Sunday CARLI LLOYD had scored a brace. A Lauren Holiday volley made it 3-0 after 14 minutes and just two minutes later Lloyd completed her hat-trick with a SENSATIONAL goal from the half way line past NADESHIKO keeper Ayumi Kaihori.
It was impossible to keep up this blistering pace. Yuki Ogimi scored before half time and then a Julie Johnston o.g early in the second half until Tobin Heath completed the rout before the hour, 5-2. TORA! TORA! TORA! TORA! TORA!. 'Japan has awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve' (Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto).
Many fans had questioned NIKE'S decision to supply the somewhat controversial kit. Mostly white with some disco green stockings and what were described as aqua boots-to match the Canadian Lakes !!! There was no problem from the players. Italy play in blue from The House of Savoy, and Holland in orange from The House of Orange, despite neither colours being in their flags. GET OVER IT !
The Friendly Cup had one big BOOOOO in store as CAF President and senior FIFA V.P. ISSA HAYATOU of Cameroon was presented on the awards podium. Probably the biggest crook yet to be indicted, I watched carefully to see if he would 'trouser' one of the medals. For USA coach Jill Ellis who had come under increasing pressure it was a big success. The majority of the head coaches were male. At future FIFA u17 Women's World Cups all head coaches MUST be female. That starts with the 2016 event in JORDAN from 30 September-21st October next year.
While some of the American stars earn over $1 million a year in endorsements from top international brands, The Lionesses earn very little from sponsors apart from boots and gear. Captain Steph Houghton of Manchester City probably gets no more than £3,000. However the squad earned £2,000 each from their third place finish and over £10,000 in bonuses for the tournament. SPONSOR INTEREST WILL PROBABLY CHANGE IN A HURRY ! Coach MARK SAMPSON will also hopefully get his just financial rewards.
Meanwhile, as The Three Lionesses arrived home at Heathrow, Mo Marley and the u 19's left Luton Airport for the 16 team UEFA tournament in Isreal. Look at www.thefa.com for the WE CAN PLAY CAMPAIGN for girls football and join us at SANDYGATE on Tuesday evening for the WORLD'S OLDEST DERBY since 1860: Hallam FC v Sheffield FC.