Canada lost its FIFA Womens World Cup match this afternoon, to England. I quite enjoyed the game and I think it was a fair result. Canada finishes in the top eight which is what was to be expected (they were rated #8 in the world before the tournament) and I suspect they have advanced the women’s game here in Canada.
But there are issues with women’s football, and it could be improved to the benefit of both players and spectators.
For someone like me who has been raised for decades on the highest quality British and European football, watching many thousands of games, the three main differences between top level male football and the teams at the top of FIFA’s Women’s World Cup are in individual skills, strength, and conditioning.
The basic skill level, the level of precision in passing and moving, is much lower in the Women’s game; but I don’t think that is so important. The skill level will continue to improve as the teams play more and more top-level opponents. I have no doubt that soon enough the average top-level female players will have the equivalent skills of the average top-level male player.
The gap in strength and conditioning can certainly be reduced by better training, but much of the difference here is physiological: men are generally faster and stronger than women. The lack of speed and resilient strength in the womens’ game slows (comparatively) attacking buildup in general and slashing attacks in particular.
I believe the womens’ game could be much improved if the field was shortened and narrowed by, say 15-20%. I think this would allow faster and more exciting play by countering the speed and strength deficits.
Anyway, that’s my two cents. I’ve enjoyed the games I have watched, and I will certainly watch and enjoy the Final. I’m cheering for England now.