Ashraf Ali Siddiqui describes an interesting sports event
Women football world cup is rated as FIFA’s flagship tournament that lasts for a month. A quarter of the teams featuring at this year’s Women’s World Cup are playing in the tournament for the first ever time providing a litmus test of how far the development of women’s football across the globe has come.
Following qualification play-off victories for Haiti, Portugal, and Panama, this year’s Women World Cup will feature a grand total of eight debutants. The competition has been expanded from 24 to 32 teams for the first time in a continued effort to grow the game globally and a quarter of the field will turn out for their maiden tournament.
The Philippines will participate in their first ever FIFA tournament reaching the competition by virtue of reaching the semifinals of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup after advancing from the group stage of that competition for the first time. Midfielder Sarina Bolder struck the winning spot-kick after their match against Chinese Taipei went to a penalty shootout. However, the side will face a stern test having been drawn into a group with co-hosts New Zealand, plus Norway and Switzerland.
Vietnam is the sixth and final team from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to reach the World Cup, Vietnam’s presence at the finals comes after a concerted effort within the country to promote and improve women’s football. While Vietnam was one of the losing quarterfinalists at the 2022 Asian Cup they saw off Chinese Taipei and Thailand in a three-team playoff to reach their first-ever FIFA women’s competition. Captain Huynh Nhu is the only player to play outside the country becoming the first female Vietnamese player to play professional football.
Some Other Countries Women Football World Cup
Zambia also made history to qualify for a World Cup for either gender, following a narrow penalty shootout win over Senegal in their final eight-clash in 2022. Midfielder Rachael Nachula could provide a unique story if she’s picked for Zambia’s World Cup squad with the 37-year-old having already enjoyed a successful athletics career reaching the 400m semi-final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Haiti emerged as a competing team producing two outstanding performances to reach the World Cup for the first time. In their intercontinental play-off semi-final, they swept aside Senegal 4-0 before Melchie Dumornay took Haiti past much-fancied Chile to make it into Group D at the World Cup, where they will face European champions England.
Panama was the last team to reach the World cup, having also battled through the intercontinental play-offs where they overcame Papua New Guinea and then Paraguay. One of Panama’s most exciting talents is forward Riley Tanner, who scored on her debut against Papua New Guinea after coming on as a half-time substitute.
Portugal’s team has reached the previous two European Championships and they exited both competitions at the group stage and will have a tough job to outdo that in the World Cup as they have been drawn against both 2019 World Cup finalists the United States and the Netherlands. They may fancy their chances more against fellow Group E debutants in Vietnam.
The Republic of Ireland marks their debut at any senior women’s tournament, following a narrow 1-0 win over Celtic neighbors Scotland in their UEFA play-off, with striker Amber Barrett netting the game’s only goal. The Irish will be able to test their readiness for the World Cup in April when they face up against current champions the United States in two friendly matches. The Weekender