Women’s World Cup Daily – June 6
Updated: Jan 1
June 6: Matchday 0
Greetings from France. As I write this, I’m sitting in a coffeehouse in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, waiting for the action to start. It’s absolutely thrilling to be here.
I’ve followed this sport for a little over two decades, but really only as a casual fan for most of that time. I checked in for the big tournaments, maybe caught a friendly here or there, vaguely checked in on the WPS or NWSL, and that was it. But I decided in 2015 that I wanted to really invest. And that decision has led me here. It’s frankly kind of unbelievable. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to make this crazy trip, to attend all these matches, to bathe in the atmosphere, and to continue to learn more about this game.
That last part is critical. Because, while I’ve learned a huge amount over the past four years, it’s a truism that the more you know, the more you begin to understand just how little you actually know. I’ve been humbled at the depth and breadth of coverage out there about this tournament, and the incredible knowledge that some people are bringing to the table. And I’m so excited to get to play some small role in that process.
I’ll be publishing plenty of traditional stories: match reports, tactical breakdowns, opinion columns – all the usual stuff. But I also wanted to provide something a little more informal, and more regular. That’s what this column will be. My plan is to write something here (just about) every day of the tournament. That will generally be match commentaries, and other assorted thoughts about the progress of the tournament. But it will also include some personal notes. The travel, the atmosphere, conversations with fans, and so forth.
One thing I’m interested in: how the tournament is marketed. After just a couple hours in Paris, so far it looks like the answer is: not very much. This is what I’ve seen so far.
Just to give you a sense of my travel plans, I’m going to be based in Paris for the group stage, though I’ll be making quite a few trains around northern France to catch games. I’ll be at all the US matches, and will also take some trips to places like Valenciennes for Australia v. Italy and Le Havre for Spain v. South Africa. Once the knockout rounds start, I’ll have to miss a few days as I travel to a political science conference in Newcastle, but I’ll be back in time for the quarterfinals, including that fated potential showdown between France and the US. Then I’ll be heading to Lyon for the final stages of the tournament.
And all along the way, I’ll be posting updates here at Backline. I hope you’ll join me. And if you’re going to be out here in France, feel free to drop me a line (@olneyce). After all, part of the fun of these events is meeting new friends.