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FIFA U-17 World Cup — potential springboard to growth of women’s football in India

The 2022 FIFA U-17 Ladies’s World Cup got here to a fairly thrilling finish on the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. Spain retained its title in dramatic style, beating Colombia within the closing with the assistance of a late personal aim. A style of the excessive requirements of U-17 soccer and the excitement generated by the occasion have been features for the Blue Tigresses from the worldwide occasion.

“Although we couldn’t get the outcomes we needed, we’re very comfortable for the help we acquired on and off the sector,” India’s defender Kajal instructed Sportstar after the marketing campaign.

“I wish to play extra worldwide matches. I hope extra women will take up the game and extra dad and mom will permit their daughters to play soccer,” she added.

Over 1,85,000 turned as much as watch the matches, making it the third most-watched U-17 Ladies’s World Cup.

Launchpad for stars

The match was first held in 2008 and has seen the rise of a number of superstars of ladies’s soccer, together with Ballon D’or winner Alexia Putellas. Dzenifer Marozsan, the Golden Ball winner in 2009, went on to develop into a five-time Champions League winner and a three-time girls’s footballer of the yr in Germany.

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A number of the individuals this yr are already one the cusp of greatness.

Colombia captain Linda Caicedo had already performed the U-20 Ladies’s World Cup earlier than main her nation to its first-ever FIFA closing (males or girls) within the U-17 World Cup. She scored 4 targets, successful the bronze boot and the silver ball. Agudelo — the youngest member of the Colombia U-17 workforce — made the ultimate save in sudden loss of life to assist her workforce make it to the ultimate.

Glad denouement: FIFA president Gianni Infantino (left) presents the winners’ trophy to Marina Artero after Spain’s 1-0 win within the closing on the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. Infantino praised India for internet hosting the competitors nicely.
| Photograph Credit score: AFP

Spain’s Vicky Lopez made 4 key contributions for her workforce and gained the Golden Ball. The midfielder, who honed her expertise at Madrid CFF and joined Barcelona this summer season, noticed membership soccer serving to her succeed on the worldwide degree.

One other standout performer was Germany’s Mara Alber. The Hoffenheim participant turned out to be the architect in assault behind Loreen Bender (of Eintracht Frankfurt). The 2 contributed to 11 of their workforce’s 16 targets within the match.

Membership soccer had groomed these gamers and its worth hadn’t gone unnoticed. “I hope the [Indian] women get into good soccer golf equipment,” said head coach Thomas Dennerby after India’s run within the match ended.

Simply the precise time?

The World Cup got here at simply the precise for India and for ladies’s soccer globally.

It was an important first occasion to kick off the brand new All India Soccer Federation (AIFF) regime’s journey underneath president Kalyan Chaubey. The near-term way forward for Indian soccer appears promising: the AIFF has introduced the Nationwide U-17 Ladies’s League and mentioned the potential for internet hosting extra Asian Soccer Confederation (AFC) and FIFA occasions.

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Ladies’s soccer globally goes via a purple patch: England performed Germany in entrance of a sold-out Wembley Stadium in July this yr in the course of the European Championship, and as many as 91,000 folks watched the semifinal of the Ladies’s Champions League between Barcelona and Actual Madrid. There was a lot curiosity in that recreation that tickets had been bought out two months earlier than the match.

And such a buzz for the U-17 Ladies’s World Cup in India augurs nicely for the senior Ladies’s World Cup set to be held subsequent yr.

Match winner: Linda Caicedo (centre) fights for the ball with Yu Xingyue (left) during a World Cup contest between China and Colombia in Navi Mumbai. Caicedo scored four goals in the tournament, winning the bronze boot and the silver ball.

Match winner: Linda Caicedo (centre) fights for the ball with Yu Xingyue (left) throughout a World Cup contest between China and Colombia in Navi Mumbai. Caicedo scored 4 targets within the match, successful the bronze boot and the silver ball.
| Photograph Credit score: AP

Actuality verify

That the Indian workforce had an extended technique to go to match the requirements of one of the best groups turned clear on the World Cup. It misplaced all its matches within the group levels, conceding 16 targets — essentially the most variety of targets within the match. The early elimination was a actuality verify for the Blue Tigresses and drove dwelling the necessity for a greater construction and a greater infrastructure in girls’s soccer.

Within the workforce’s final press convention, Dennerby dwelled on the necessity for a long-term programme and for extra publicity excursions and matches.

“In an enormous nation like India, it could possibly be a very good factor to have an AIFF Academy the place we are able to have one of the best gamers — from the Below-17, Indian Arrows, Below-19 and the senior groups practising collectively, seeing one another and having position fashions,” he mentioned.

It would assist girls’s soccer if the AIFF does handle to host extra worldwide matches and tournaments. AIFF’s current conferences with FIFA president Gianni Infantino and AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa do provide some hope.

“India has been a unbelievable host. This makes me consider that you are able to do extra in different competitions as nicely,” Infantino mentioned, assuring that he will probably be again to the nation subsequent yr.

“FIFA and AFC wish to deal with India to host extra future occasions, and over the previous couple of years since I’ve taken over on the AFC, I believe India has performed an enormous position in Asian soccer,” added Ibrahim Al Khalifa.

The slogan of the World Cup was #KickOffTheDream. Followers and stakeholders of ladies’s soccer in India will hope their goals actually do kick off after this World Cup.

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