FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007: enticing pairings
On 22 April, the Guanggu Science and Technology Exhibition Centre in Wuhan – the biggest city in central China – staged the draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007. The line-up for the group stage of the tournament, which will be played between 10 and 30 September, promises a great deal of excitement for the 16 teams and their fans. In Group A, reigning world and European champions Germany will face tricky opponents in the shape of Japan, England and Argentina. Hosts China PR are in a similarly intriguing group, with the team led by new coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors crossing swords with New Zealand, Brazil and Denmark in group D.
Group B appears to be the strongest group with 2003 World Cup runners-up Sweden, reigning Olympic champions the USA, African Champions Nigeria and the up-and-coming Korea DPR. Group C will see Norway, Australia and Canada lock horns.
More than 800 people attended the colorful draw ceremony, which fused Chinese culture and international style. The show featured ?bianzhong’, a traditional Chinese percussion instrument, as well a group of artists for which Wuhan is renowned. The crowd was also treated to an impressive parade of flags on the 16 competing nations. The highlight of the show, however, was undoubtedly “Dance of the Cranes”, with an artist dressed as a crane performing acrobatic manoeuvres while accompanied by dancers. The official song of the FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007 was also performed live.
Among those present at the ceremony were Wuhan Mayor Li Xiansheng, FIFA Vice-President Issa Hayatou and Jack Austin Warner, FIFA Executive Committee member and AFC President Mohamed bin Hammam, Chinese Minister of the General Administration of Sport Cui Da Lin and Vice-President and General Secretary of the Chinese Football Association Xie Ya Long.