Before Sunday’s championship game, the U.S. women’s soccer team won 5 games and 1 draw in the 2015 World’s Cup. Our ladies may very well have been hoping for Japan as their opponent. Thanks to an own-goal in stoppage time, England handed a victory and a much anticipated rematch to Japan.
Japan was the reigning World Cup champion, having defeated the U.S. in 2011. A year later in the 2012 London Summer Olympics final game, the United States beat out Japan in a 2-1 victory, capturing Olympic Gold.
The two nations met again Sunday evening in Vancouver. At stake? Supremacy in women’s soccer.
It wasn’t a contest. The US Women dominated from start to finish. And records weren’t broken. They were created. And Carli Lloyd led the way – fastest goal ever in a Women’s World Cup final, 3 goals scored in first 15 minutes. Add in that there were more goals scored in the the two US-JPN Women’s World Cup finals (11) than in the previous 5 WWC finals combined (10). US first team to score twice in the first five minutes of any Women’s World Cup game. That’s the kind of game it was.
Since 1991, in the seven Women World Cup finals, all but one have been won by either the US, Germany or Japan. The one exception being Norway in 1995.
Indeed, the top four teams at the end of the day in 2015 were Germany, England, Japan and the U.S. All economic powerhouses. Coincidence? Probably not. More interestingly, a recent analysis by Kuang Keng Kuek Ser of Public Radio International shows an interesting correlation between success in the Women’s World Cup and a country’s performance on gender equality.
More than any other nation worldwide though, the U.S. opened soccer to young girls decades ago and backed it with funding. As the Washington Post noted,
“The success of women’s soccer in the U.S. had a lot to do with the implementation of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs — including both public and private schools that receive federal funds.”
Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law forty-three years ago.
“Look at Brazil, for example, whose women’s soccer team has done well despite great (or terrible) odds. While Brazilian boys are taught to play soccer as soon as they can walk, Brazilian women were actually totally banned from playing the game between 1941 and 1979.”
How fitting that the day after the most patriotic day in our nation, our US Women’s soccer team gives us an even more spectacular fireworks show. Thank you ladies. You make America proud.