Mar
07
2008
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FIFA Statistics – 130 Active Associations

2007 will also be remembered as a vintage year for women’s football with the total of 443 matches and 130 active teams coming close to equalling the record year of 2006 (448 matches, 134 teams). This is all the more remarkable considering that almost exactly half of the games played in 2006 were accounted for by the World Cup qualifying competition, the engine, to all intents and purposes, of international women’s football. In 2007, this category played only an insignificant role, but this was compensated for by the Olympic qualifiers (26%) and, in particular, by 214 friendlies (49%) – a new record that easily surpassed the previous one (199 in 2003}. The fact that there were 130 teams active in 2007 is all the more remarkable given that prior to 2006, there had never been more than 100 teams playing at least one match in a calendar year.
Inter-European matches (28%) and all-Asian clashes (23%) make up the lion’s share of the overall total, with the two regions also involved in four out of five intercontinental games (21 %), which meant that the rest of the world, led by the USA, Mexico, New Zealand, Canada and Brazil, accounted for just a shade over one third.
With 19 wins, four draws and just one – albeit disastrous defeat – the USA had the best record of all the leading teams in purely statistical terms. The consequences of the astonishing 4-0 setback against Brazil are widely known, however, with the US women failing to make the World Cup final and forfeiting top spot in the rankings.
As in 2006, China PR were the most active with 33 matches, 12 of which finished in defeat for the Asians. Second place was claimed by the USA on 24 matches, three more than the German world champions. Although the teams played an average of 6.8 matches in 2007, there are still varying standards and levels in women’s football, as evidenced by the fact that only 50 of the 130 teams played seven or more international matches, leaving the majority of associations below the average. Some matches were left teetering on a knife edge, especially three six-or seven-goal thrillers. FYR Macedonia overcame Armenia 4-3, a score rarely seen in the women’s game, while Namibia v. Congo DR and Hungary against Romania both ended 3-3.
Cuba’s 21-0 trouncing of the British Virgin Islands was the second highest win in the history of women’s football,
bettered only by Korea DPR’s haul against Singapore (24-0 in 2001). In spite of these statistical blips, 2007, with four goals
per game, matched the average for the last two decades (3.9) almost exactly.