Let’s be honest, European teams are the best. We’re just better than the rest of the world and there will definitely be an all-European last eight this summer – and all of the Americans who traveled to France with tickets to the final will be mega pissed off.
AFC? CAF? Concacaf? CONMEBOL? OFC?!??! LOL! You wish you were as good as us mighty Europeans. We gave the world football and as the originators, it’s our divine right to absolutely own everyone on the world stage, if not there would have been world champions from other countries by now.
Is it a good look to have one confederation/continent dominate in a World Cup or Olympics? No, of course it’s not. It’s not that likely that there will be an all-Euro last eight in any event, the likes of Brazil and the USA will fancy their chances against their “home” opposition. Just as Netherlands vs Japan is there for whoever wants to actually turn up, as Italy vs China is a potential banana skin for both.
It’s a World Cup and anything could happen. However, it’s absolutely no surprise to see nations will better run programmes, with honest and directed investment flourishing. Italy are reaping the rewards from a full-time league as well as a coach who knows her players. The Netherlands starting XI (and there is only one) is almost entirely full time and can boast players that play across the continent, honing their skills day in, day out. Like it or not, Lyon and the positive environment Jean-Michel Aulas has culminated plays a big part in France’s ability but so does the Clairefontaine academy.
The German league might appear polarised but remains fiercely competitive, it doesn’t matter that Lea Schüller and Marina Hegering play at the part-time SGS Essen, they’re cast in the same DFB mould as those like Alex Popp and Sara Däbritz who play at full-time VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern München.
Even though the majority of the Norway team play in the part-time Toppserien (with just a handful boasting fully full-time status), they come from a country with a rich history in women’s football, even if they are the relative European underdogs. Although there are still issues around the team regarding the NFF (Norges Fotballforbund), the team receives far better support than others elsewhere in the world.
Must do better
Nigeria are out of the World Cup and even as the perennial African champions, the Super Falcons consistently battle against the NFF (Nigeria Football Federation) for better treatment and payment that they’re fully entitled to. Just as CONMEBOL’s representatives as the World Cup battle against their home federations; Argentina and Chile even making the 2019 showpiece tournament was a triumph when you look at the last few years of their existence. So too Jamaica.
There is only so much the individual can do, Tiane Endler has mastered her craft after spells across the world and is currently enjoying a full-time contract at Paris Saint-Germain, Franny Ordega is another who’s bounce around the world growing as a player. But these are players who exist in bubbles as individuals who excel for their clubs, it’s when they stumble back to their underfunded, under-loved national teams that the problems within the federations get put under the spotlight.
The situation in Europe is generally better and when it comes to World Cups and Olympics, it tells. Even though, as a European, I might end up cackling should we be left with an all European last eight or four, I do feel the global frustration at how so many players and teams are let down by their federations. I want to see more African, South American, Asian etc teams going deep in tournaments and shining on the world stage.
Otherwise, what’s the point?