FIFA Women's World Cup

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FIFA Women's World Cup
FIFA Women's World Cup..jpg
The World Cup Trophy, awarded to the World Cup champions since 1999
Founded1991;28 years ago (1991)
Region FIFA (International)
Number of teams24 (finals)
Current championsFlag of the United States.svg  United States
(4th title)
Most successful team(s)Flag of the United States.svg  United States
(4 titles)
Website FIFA Women's World Cup

The FIFA Women's World Cup is an international football competition contested by the senior women's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's international governing body. The competition has been held every four years since 1991, when the inaugural tournament, then called the FIFA Women's World Championship, was held in China. Under the tournament's current format, national teams vie for 23 slots in a three-year qualification phase. The host nation's team is automatically entered as the 24th slot. The tournament proper, alternatively called the World Cup Finals, is contested at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about one month.

Contents

The eight FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments have been won by four national teams. The United States has won four times, and is the current champion after winning it at the 2019 tournament in France. The other winners are Germany, with two titles, and Japan and Norway with one title each.

Six countries have hosted the Women's World Cup. China and the United States have each hosted the tournament twice, while Canada, France, Germany, and Sweden have each hosted it once.

History

The first instance of a Women's World Cup dates back to 1970, with the first international tournament taking place in Italy in July 1970. [1] This was followed by another unofficial tournament the following year in Mexico, where Denmark won the title after defeating Mexico in the final. [2] [3] [4] In the mid-1980s, the Mundialito was held in Italy across four editions with both Italy and England winning two titles. [5]

Several countries lifted their ban on women's football in the 1970s, leading to new teams being established across Europe and North America. After the first international women's tournaments were held in Asia in 1975 [6] and Europe in 1984, Ellen Wille declared that she wanted better effort from the FIFA Congress in promoting the women's game. [7] This came in 1988 in the form of an invitational tournament in China as a test to see if a global women's World Cup was feasible. Twelve national teams took part in the competition – four from UEFA, three from AFC, two from CONCACAF, and one each from CONMEBOL, CAF and OFC. After the opening match of the tournament between China and Canada was attended by 45,000 people, the tournament was deemed a success, with crowds averaging 20,000. Norway, who was the European champion, defeated Sweden, 1–0, in the final, while Brazil clinched third place by beating the hosts in a penalty shootout. [8] The competition was deemed a success and on 30 June FIFA approved the establishment of an official World Cup, which was to take place in 1991 again in China. Again, twelve teams competed, this time culminating in the United States defeating Norway in the final, 2–1, with Michelle Akers scoring two goals. [9]

The 1995 edition in Sweden saw the experiment of a time-out concept throughout the tournament which was later tightened mid-tournament to only occur after a break in play. The time-out only appeared in the one tournament which saw it scrapped. The final of the 1995 edition saw Norway, who scored 17 goals in the group stage, defeat Germany, 2–0, to capture their only title. [10] In the 1999 edition, one of the most famous moments of the tournament was American defender Brandi Chastain's victory celebration after scoring the Cup-winning penalty kick against China. She took off her jersey and waved it over her head (as men frequently do), showing her muscular torso and sports bra as she celebrated. The 1999 final in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, had an attendance of 90,185, a world record for a women's sporting event. [11]

The 1999 and 2003 Women's World Cups were both held in the United States; in 2003 China was supposed to host it, but the tournament was moved because of SARS. [12] As compensation, China retained its automatic qualification to the 2003 tournament as host nation, and was automatically chosen to host the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. Germany hosted the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, as decided by vote in October 2007. In March 2011, FIFA awarded Canada the right to host the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The 2015 edition saw the field expand from 16 to 24 teams. [13]

During the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, both Formiga of Brazil and Homare Sawa of Japan appeared in their record sixth World Cup, [14] a feat that had never been achieved before by either female or male players. Christie Pearce is the oldest player to ever play in a Women's World Cup match, at the age of 40 years. [15] In March 2015, FIFA awarded France the right to host the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup over South Korea. [16]

Trophy

FIFA Women's World Cup trophy FIFA Women's World Cup..jpg
FIFA Women's World Cup trophy

The current trophy was designed in 1998 for the 1999 tournament, and takes the form of a spiral band, enclosing a football at the top, that aims to capture the athleticism, dynamism and elegance of international women's football. In the 2010s, it was fitted with a cone-shaped base. Underneath the base, the name of each of the tournament's previous winners is engraved. [17] The trophy is 47 cm (19 in) tall, weighs 4.6 kg (10 lb) and is made of sterling silver clad in 23-karat yellow and white gold, with an estimated value in 2015 of approximately $30,000. By contrast, the men's World Cup trophy is fabricated in 18-karat gold and has a precious metal value of $150,000. However, a new Winner's Trophy is constructed for each women's champion to take home, while there is only one original men's trophy which is retained by FIFA with each men's champion taking home a replica trophy. [18]

Format

Qualification

Qualifying tournaments are held within the six FIFA continental zones (Africa, Asia, North and Central America and Caribbean, South America, Oceania, Europe), and are organised by their respective confederations: Confederation of African Football (CAF), Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). For each tournament, FIFA decides beforehand the number of berths awarded to each of the continental zones, based on the relative strength of the confederations' teams. The hosts of the World Cup receive an automatic berth in the finals. Since the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, the number of finalists increased from 16 to 24 and now 32. [19]

Final tournament

The final tournament has featured between 12 and 24 national teams competing over about one month in the host nation(s). There are two stages: the group stage followed by the knockout stage. [20]

In the group stage, teams are drawn into groups of four teams each. Each group plays a round-robin tournament, in which each team is scheduled for three matches against other teams in the same group. The last round of matches of each group is scheduled at the same time to preserve fairness among all four teams. In the 2015 24-team format, the two teams finishing first and second in each group and the four best teams among those ranked third qualified for the round of 16, also called the knockout stage. Points are used to rank the teams within a group. Since 1994, three points have been awarded for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss (before, winners received two points).

The ranking of each team in each group is determined as follows: [20]

  1. Greatest number of points in group matches
  2. Greatest goal difference in group matches
  3. Greatest number of goals scored in group matches
  4. If more than one team remain level after applying the above criteria, their ranking will be determined as follows:
    1. Greatest number of points in head-to-head matches among those teams
    2. Greatest goal difference in head-to-head matches among those teams
    3. Greatest number of goals scored in head-to-head matches among those teams
  5. If any of the teams above remain level after applying the above criteria, their ranking will be determined by the drawing of lots

The knockout stage is a single-elimination tournament in which teams play each other in one-off matches, with extra time and penalty shootouts used to decide the winner if necessary. It begins with the round of 16. This is followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals, the third-place match (contested by the losing semi-finalists), and the final. [20]

Attendance

YearHostsMatchesAttendanceNotes
 TotalAverageHighest
1991 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 26510,00018,34465,000 [21]
1995 Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 26112,2134,31617,158 [21]
1999 Flag of the United States.svg  United States 321,214,20937,94490,185 [21]
2003 Flag of the United States.svg  United States 32679,66421,24034,144 [21]
2007 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 321,190,97137,21855,832 [21]
2011 Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 32845,75126,43073,680 [21]
2015 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 521,353,50626,02954,027 [21] [22]
2019 Flag of France.svg  France 521,131,31221,75657,900 [23]

Notes:

Hosts and results

EditionYearHostsChampionsScore and venueRunners-upThird placeScore and venueFourth placeNo. of teams
1 1991  Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Flag of the United States.svg
United States
2–1
Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou
Flag of Norway.svg
Norway
Flag of Sweden.svg
Sweden
4–0
Provincial Stadium, Guangzhou
Flag of Germany.svg
Germany
12
2 1995  Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Flag of Norway.svg
Norway
2–0
Råsunda Stadium, Solna
Flag of Germany.svg
Germany
Flag of the United States.svg
United States
2–0
Strömvallen, Gävle
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg
China PR
12
3 1999  Flag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of the United States.svg
United States
0–0 ( a.e.t. )
(5–4 p )
Rose Bowl, Pasadena
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg
China PR
Flag of Brazil.svg
Brazil
0–0 [A]
(5–4 p )
Rose Bowl, Pasadena
Flag of Norway.svg
Norway
16
4 2003  Flag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of Germany.svg
Germany
2–1 (a.e.t.)
Home Depot Center, Carson
Flag of Sweden.svg
Sweden
Flag of the United States.svg
United States
3–1
Home Depot Center, Carson
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg
Canada
16
5 2007  Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Flag of Germany.svg
Germany
2–0
Hongkou Stadium, Shanghai
Flag of Brazil.svg
Brazil
Flag of the United States.svg
United States
4–1
Hongkou Stadium, Shanghai
Flag of Norway.svg
Norway
16
6 2011  Flag of Germany.svg  Germany Flag of Japan.svg
Japan
2–2 ( a.e.t. )
(3–1 p )
Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt
Flag of the United States.svg
United States
Flag of Sweden.svg
Sweden
2–1
Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Sinsheim
Flag of France.svg
France
16
7 2015  Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada Flag of the United States.svg
United States
5–2
BC Place, Vancouver
Flag of Japan.svg
Japan
Flag of England.svg
England
1–0( a.e.t. )
Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
Flag of Germany.svg
Germany
24
8 2019  Flag of France.svg  France Flag of the United States.svg
United States
2–0
Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Netherlands
Flag of Sweden.svg
Sweden
2–1
Allianz Riviera, Nice
Flag of England.svg
England
24

A No extra time was played. [24]

In all, 36 nations have played in at least one Women's World Cup. Of those, four nations have won the World Cup. With four titles, the United States is the most successful Women's World Cup team and is one of only seven nations to play in every World Cup. They have also had the most top four finishes (8), medals (8), and final appearances (5), including the longest streak of three consecutive finals in 2011, 2015, and 2019.

Map of countries' best results Womens World Cup countries best results.png
Map of countries' best results

Teams reaching the top four

TeamTitlesRunners-upThird placeFourth placeTotal
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 4 (1991, 1999, 2015, 2019)1 (2011)3 (1995, 2003, 2007)8
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 2 (2003, 2007)1 (1995)2 (1991, 2015)5
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 1 (1995)1 (1991)2 (1999, 2007)4
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 1 (2011)1 (2015)2
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 1 (2003)3 (1991, 2011, 2019)4
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 1 (2007)1 (1999)2
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China PR 1 (1999)1 (1995)2
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 1 (2019)1
Flag of England.svg  England 1 (2015)1 (2019)2
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 1 (2003)1
Flag of France.svg  France 1 (2011)1

Best performances by confederations

As of 2019, four of the six FIFA confederations have made it to a Women's World Cup final, the only exceptions being CAF (Africa) and the OFC (Oceania). CONMEBOL is the only confederation to have made a World Cup final without winning, following Brazil's defeat in the 2007 final. The farthest advancing African team was Nigeria, who were eliminated in the quarter finals in 1999. Oceania has sent two teams, Australia and New Zealand, to the World Cup, but Australia did not advance from the group stage until after the country moved to the Asian Football Confederation, and New Zealand (which remains in the OFC) has never advanced to the knockout rounds.

The United States and Norway are the only teams to have won the tournament in their own confederations, with the U.S. winning in 1999 (at home) and 2015 (in Canada), and Norway in 1995 (in Sweden). The United States are also the only team that has won the tournament in every continent was played: Asia (in 1991), Europe (in 2019) and in North America (in 1999 and in 2015). Germany has won in Asia (in 2007) and in North America (in 2003), Japan has won in Europe (in 2011).

Round reached
Confederation AFC CAF CONCACAF CONMEBOL OFC UEFA Total
Final30510716
Semi-finals409201732
Quarter-finals14110403564
Round of 16 (since 2015)734301532
Total appearances29162015848136

Broadcasting and revenue

As of 2017, the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final was the most watched football match in American history with nearly 23 million viewers, [25] more than the 2015 NBA Finals and Stanley Cup. [26] It was also the most watched Spanish-language broadcast in tournament history. [25] More than 750 million viewers were reported to have watched the tournament worldwide. [27]

The 2015 Women’s World Cup generated almost $73 million, the 2018 men’s tournament generated an estimated $6.1 billion in revenue. [28]

Awards

At the end of each World Cup, awards are presented to select players and teams for accomplishments other than their final team positions in the tournament. There are currently seven awards:

Another award is presented a week after the final match:

One past award is no longer presented:

Player records

Boldface indicates a player still playing.

Most goals

Marta of Brazil is the all-time leading scorer of the World Cup. Marta (10), meio-campista, craque, genial, DSC00982.jpg
Marta of Brazil is the all-time leading scorer of the World Cup.
Birgit Prinz is tied for the second most goals in all tournaments, and won the title twice representing Germany. Birgit Prinz.jpg
Birgit Prinz is tied for the second most goals in all tournaments, and won the title twice representing Germany.
RankNameWorld CupTotal
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg
'91
Flag of Sweden.svg
'95
Flag of the United States.svg
'99
Flag of the United States.svg
'03
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg
'07
Flag of Germany.svg
'11
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg
'15
Flag of France.svg
'19
1 Flag of Brazil.svg Marta 3741217
2 Flag of Germany.svg Birgit Prinz 1175014
Flag of the United States.svg Abby Wambach 364114
4 Flag of the United States.svg Michelle Akers 100212
5 Flag of Brazil.svg Cristiane 0520411
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Sun Wen 127111
Flag of Germany.svg Bettina Wiegmann 333211
8 Flag of Norway.svg Ann Kristin Aarønes 6410
Flag of the United States.svg Carli Lloyd 016310
Flag of Germany.svg Heidi Mohr 7310
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Christine Sinclair 3312110
Formiga (08), meio-campista, DSC00910-2012-26-07.jpg
Homare Sawa in 2011.JPG
Formiga is the only player to appear in seven Women's World Cups, followed by Homare Sawa's six tournaments.

Most tournaments

#PlayerAppearances
1 Flag of Brazil.svg Formiga 7 (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)
2 Flag of Japan.svg Homare Sawa 6 (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)
3 Flag of the United States.svg Kristine Lilly 5 (1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007)
Flag of Norway.svg Bente Nordby 5 (1991*, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007)
Flag of Germany.svg Birgit Prinz 5 (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011)
Flag of the United States.svg Christie Rampone 5 (1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Karina LeBlanc 5 (1999*, 2003, 2007*, 2011, 2015*)
Flag of Germany.svg Nadine Angerer 5 (1999*, 2003*, 2007, 2011, 2015)
Flag of Brazil.svg Cristiane 5 (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)
Flag of Brazil.svg Marta 5 (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Christine Sinclair 5 (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)
Flag of Nigeria.svg Onome Ebi 5 (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)

*Did not play but was part of the squad.

Most matches

#PlayerMatches
1 Flag of the United States.svg Kristine Lilly 30
2 Flag of Brazil.svg Formiga 27
3 Flag of the United States.svg Carli Lloyd 25
Flag of the United States.svg Abby Wambach 25
5 Flag of the United States.svg Julie Foudy 24
Flag of Germany.svg Birgit Prinz 24
Flag of Japan.svg Homare Sawa 24
8 Flag of the United States.svg Joy Fawcett 23
Flag of the United States.svg Mia Hamm 23
10 Flag of Norway.svg Bente Nordby 22
Flag of Norway.svg Hege Riise 22
Flag of Germany.svg Bettina Wiegmann 22

See also

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