What is the Women's World Cup? Get the lowdown of 2015 event in Canada
Special to MLSSoccer.com
It takes seven games to win it all. At this summer's edition of the Women's World Cup in Canada there are several changes from years past, namely expanded field and roster sizes. And for the first time, Hawk-Eye goal-line technology will be utilized and controversially, the matches will be played on artificial turf.
Hawk-Eye technology makes its debut at Women's World Cup
As women's soccer developed around the world creating dark horse contenders, the biggest international soccer tournament had to adapt. For 2015, eight more teams were added for a total of 24 nations from six confederations. (This has steadily increased from 12 in 1991 and 16 in 1999.) As a result of more games, the roster size increased by two, to 23.
Final rosters for every competing nation in 2015 Women's World Cup
Competition kicks off between the host nation and China on Saturday, June 6 in Edmonton. With 52 matches to be played in six venues from Moncton to Vancouver, the tournament will be the largest and longest. It also allows for many solid favorites to take home the title and trophy. The final will be played on Sunday, July 5 at BC Place.
For the first time in U.S. history, the team is not entering the tournament with the #1 FIFA World rank, that honor goes to Germany. But also France, reigning champion Japan, Brazil, Sweden and Canada will not make it easy to reach the final. What was once considered a small group of potentials has now increased, and the tournament can be anyone's any day.
Complete match schedule on FIFA
Adding to the intensity, 2015 will be the first time a World Cup - male or female - has been played on artificial turf. Back in fall 2014, the players filed a suit accusing FIFA and Canada Soccer Association of gender discrimination, as the men do not compete on turf at the World Cup level. The surface has been known to cause injury, overheat up to 10-degrees from atmospheric temperature and impact the speed and quality of play. However, the organizations were not budging and thus the players dropped the lawsuit to focus on preparing for the games.
Players drop gender discrimination suit against FIFA, CSA
The inaugural Women's World Cup in 1991, held in China, was called the World Championship for Women's Football for the M&M's Cup - as FIFA did not want to make it a "World Cup" just yet. Back then, the women played 80 minute games. FIFA bestowed the World Cup brand upon the 1995 tournament and increased matches to 90 minutes.
In the past six Women's World Cups, there have been four victors - U.S. in '91 and '99, Norway in '95, Germany in '03 and '07, Japan in '11.
Just like in men's soccer, stars above the jersey shield signify World Cup titles, and in the case of the United States women, they have earned two. It has been 16 years since the team hoisted up the highly coveted trophy.