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Opinion

The 2019 Women’s World Cup – Football or a waste of time?

4 weeks ago
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The 2019 Women’s World Cup is with us for a month.

Running from 7 June to 7 July we have now had the chance to have a decent look at it.

So what do you think?

Usually, for most Newcastle United fans, having a (men’s) World Cup or European Championships is seen as a big bonus, helping to get us through the barren summer months where club football is concerned.

So is this 2019 Women’s World Cup doing it for you?

For me, I would say it is somewhere in the middle. The men’s World Cup is the best, then the Euros is quite a drop from that but still very welcome, then this summer’s women’s one is somewhere further down that scale of interest.

Just how far down you have to go to get to my interest level compared to the men’s World Cup is a considerable distance for sure BUT I don’t feel the need to completely write it off.

To be honest, I have zero interest these days in watching any (men’s) England friendlies, far too many games (and international breaks ruining club football!) already. The same for me with qualifying  games as well, when you have a men’s World Cup with 32 countries and on top of that England always appearing to get a helping hand when the qualifying  groups are revealed, the level of the opposition is so poor that it is basically a bye to the finals. This is the truth no matter how much the media try to hype up England v San Marino, or the multitude of breakaway new countries that once upon a time used to come together to make a smaller number of far better teams.

Even that Nations League thing recently, it was just glorified friendlies really. I couldn’t believe that on TV they were trying to suggest it had some kind of relationship to the 1966 World Cup win, stating it would be the first major final in over 50 years etc etc.

Back to the 2019 Women’s World Cup and I am simply treating/judging it for what it is.

If you are going to sit there and say ‘Right, prove to me your are as good as the men’s World Cup’, then of course you are going to only see it as disappointing. However, that is like expecting Sunderland’s current (ongoing…) level to have any similarity to the Premier League. Last season the highlights during the campaign and then their play-off matches showed up the quality as woeful. Not that it wasn’t entertaining…

What I can’t get my head around with this current women’s tournament, are the number of blokes going  out of their way to say how rubbish it is, especially on social media, again and again and again.

If you don’t like it or rate it then don’t watch it. If I was forced to watch Eastenders, Love Island or TOWIE, then I would be far from happy. However, there are countless other channels to watch or I can just go down the pub. I don’t feel the need to try and tell the world how terrible these things are, I just don’t pay any attention to them.

There appears of course to be more of an agenda at play, some men so infantile that they appear to think belittling the women’s game makes them appear more of a man. To me, rather than conjuring up an image of somebody who is a real proper bloke/jack the lad, it instead has me seeing them as poor inadequates still living at home with their mothers.

My wife works with a lass who plays to a good standard locally, my nieces play for teams and if I had daughters instead of sons I would be encouraging them to do the same. Women playing football isn’t something to be afraid of, plus on the odd occasion when I have ad the misfortune of being in conversation with men who are trying to take the pi.. out of women playing football, without fail they always look like they have never played football in their lives and when kids, were no doubt the one left at the end who nobody wanted to pick.

I have watched the England matches and enjoyed them, having somebody to support. Whilst I have also watched highlights and parts of other games shown live. A bit like watching Newcastle United or men’s football in general, it is a mixture of the good the bad and the ugly.

From what I have seen in the past, the general level of ability and fitness is far higher, a natural consequence of more and more female players now being able to play football full-time, or at least a better balance of playing football and working as well.

Some countries, especially the USA have a big advantage, with women’s football having been taken seriously there for a lot of years. However, great from our perspective that England have now improved so much and are one of a handful of countries who could potentially win this tournament.

The goalkeeping is maybe the weakest area in general in the women’s game but certainly when it comes to outfield play, the better teams are all capable of playing good football of a high technical level. Years ago I remember seeing some matches where England were playing and there was a massive difference between a few of their players who were clearly very good and then the weakest players in the team were woeful in comparison and looked like they had been picked up last minute to make the numbers up.

As for it being  given so much coverage on TV, why not? Is honestly anybody really bothered, or is it just a case of some pretending to be outraged/bothered? As I said above, plenty of stuff I would never dream of watching but this is not back in the days of only two TV channels to watch.

I checked out a few stats and whilst the USA winning 13-0 got a lot of headlines, the reality is that it is generally very competitive as a tournament.

So far, with 28 group games played, the other 27 games have seen over half (15) either finish as draws or only one goal in it. Only eight of the 28 have had a winning margin of more than two goals.

As for entertainment, only two matches ave finished goalless and leaving aside that 13-0 match, we have seen 69 goals in 27 games, which isn’t bad.

Also, as the tournament progresses the quality of matches and the competitiveness with really rise,. By the time we get to the qurater-finals certainly, I’m guessing pretty much all of the players will be full-time professionals and it will show.

So my advice is, sit back and enjoy, or switch it off and shut up.

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