Women’s World Cup Daily – June 7
Updated: Jan 1
June 7: Matchday 1
I have a rundown of the game over at Stars and Stripes FC, which is where you should go for a discussion of the match itself.
I want to use my space here to throw out a few other random thoughts about the experience. First things first: this was (by far) the best-attended women’s soccer game I’ve ever been to. I haven’t been to any of the other big tournaments, so I don’t really have a comparison, but it felt intense. I know that most games in the tournament won’t have this kind of atmosphere, but wow, what a way to start.
In terms of the game itself, the conclusions are pretty obvious: France is really good, the support from the crowd was incredible, and that has to be terrifying for anyone who will play them.
– Corinne Diacre rules.
Diacre utterly shuts down a question about the feeling of walking out to 45,000 singing the anthem: “I refused all emotion tonight.” Ice cold, Corinne. — Charles Olney (@olneyce) June 7, 2019
– VAR. Hope everyone is ready for it because it’s going to be wild! It was nice to get the first big VAR controversy out of the way in a game where it didn’t really matter. Even if it meant losing out on a truly lovely goal. But there are a couple keys things we should all keep in mind. First, all goals are automatically reviewed. What’s more, the judgment doesn’t defer to the result on the field in the way we’ve come to expect. That’s why this particular goal was overruled. That means: no need for ‘clear and convincing evidence.’ VAR will simply assess the facts and issue a judgment.
– I keep reading pieces from (reputable) international sources discussing the #USWNT which focus on Carli Lloyd as a key player. On the one hand, this is funny. But there’s a deeper point to make here. Even with the massive expansion in resources and availability of information, the scale of women’s soccer conversations is still quite small. Which means outside a very narrow band of engagement, even relatively good sources are kind of feeling their way through the dark. Under those conditions, you grab hold of the name that rings some bells. If the name is Christine Sinclair, you’re in luck – she really is still essential. But if the name is Carli Lloyd, you’re four years behind the game.
Thinking about this, I’ve also concluded that we should probably be equally skeptical of US-based sources (even good ones) who highlight mostly veterans as the key players for other squads. Is Caroline Seger actually that important anymore? Fran Kirby was the next big thing in 2015, but is she actually essential in 2019? In both cases, I think the answer is still yes. But can I really be sure? I’m certainly going to try to be careful about this more going forward in my own assessments.
– I swung by the ‘fan village’ at Les Halles in the center of Paris today. They’ve blocked off a huge chunk of real estate in a prime location, right next to the Église Saint-Eustache (see picture). It looks like it could be a pretty nice place to watch a game. If I have the time, I’ll definitely try to catch one there.
– The opening ceremony was a little goofy, but a nice bit of fun as well. You haven’t really lived until you’ve seen 300 soccer dancers in motion.
Germany – China. Germany should win. But if they don’t, this group suddenly gets very interesting.
Spain – South Africa. Spain have loads of potential but need to show that they have figured out how to produce some goals. Starting out with the weakest team in the group is good news on that front. But if they can’t score in the first half, things could start to get pretty nervy.
Norway – Nigeria. This is a huge game for both teams. No one in this group should count on getting a result against France, so taking points off each other will be essential. Norway should win here, but Nigeria are no slouches.
I’ll be heading to Le Havre to see Spain and South Africa, and will be on the train during all of Norway-Nigeria, but should be able to see some of the other game.