The event is a household topic
As the fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup draws excitingly closer, host country China is preparing to stage a spectacular anniversary of two events which have made a significant impact on the women’s game. Not only will the world’s finest footballers be returning in September this year to the site of the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup (held in China in 1991), but also to the cradle of football.
It is well documented that football was invented in China over 2000 years ago, with the sport even more notably being played then by women as much as men. During the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007, China and its visiting teams and fans will therefore have real cause to celebrate a return of women’s football to its roots.
Celebrations kicked off for the pinnacle event of women’s football in April 2007 with the draw ceremony in Wuhan – one of the five venues for the Women’s World Cup. Held at the massive Guanggu Exhibition Centre, team representatives and visiting dignitaries (including former FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi and chairman of the FIFA Committee for Women’s football and the Women’s World Cup, Worawi Makudi) expressed their delight in witnessing a selection of groups that promise some seriously competitive and hard-fought matches. In Group A, defending champions Germany drew South American Champions Argentina, winners of the AFC and CONCACAF play-offs Japan, and an inform England. Group B saw three of the top five world ranked teams (USA, DPR Korea, and Sweden) combining with African powerhouse Nigeria to become the “group of death”. Group C will also be well contested with world number 3 Norway drawing Canada and Australia, both of whom could be the tournament’s dark horses, as well as Ghana. And finally, hosts China will face top-10 ranked Brazil and Denmark, and Oceania champions New Zealand who make their return to the world stage after last having played in the Women’s World Cup in 1991, ironically also in China.