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Rebecca Smith, a former New Zealand player who is now a FIFA administrator, has raised a poignant question that resonates with many fans, commentators, and reporters following the women’s tournament: “What could these teams accomplish if they were fully supported by their federations?”
This World Cup has been an exciting display of skill, resulting in some of the most shocking upsets in the history of women’s soccer.
The group stage saw the elimination of three of the top 10 FIFA-ranked teams – Germany, Canada, and Brazil. Surprisingly, six of the 16 teams advancing to the knockouts are ranked outside the top 20.
Included in this group are Jamaica – the first Caribbean team to reach the knockouts since Cuba in 1938, and South Africa and Nigeria, two of three African teams in the last 16. This tournament has witnessed the highest number of African teams at this stage in either men’s or women’s World Cup history.
All three teams earned their place with thrilling offensive plays, smart defensive strategies, and determined last-minute goals.
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Smith, speaking to BBC World Service, expressed her excitement: “This is astonishing. These teams have not only escaped their groups but have shown that they can compete at the highest level and do so with flair.”
Jamaica’s accomplishment of not letting in a single goal during the tournament is particularly impressive. South Africa has also made strides, a significant achievement for African soccer.
South Africa shocked Italy with a last-minute 3-2 win, securing second place in Group G, while Jamaica managed to get through Group F with a draw against Brazil. Nigeria’s comeback victory over Australia was equally astounding.
Off the field, these three teams are united by common challenges.
Jamaica’s journey included changes in management, concerns over facilities, and efforts to secure independent funding. Support came from various sources, including Cedella Marley, daughter of Bob Marley.
Nigeria faced financial problems, particularly regarding bonuses. They even considered boycotting their opening game, a situation that caused considerable tension.
South Africa and Jamaica’s players were also upset over non-payment by their respective associations, a problem also faced by England.
In South Africa’s case, disputes led to fielding a 13-year-old girl in a crucial pre-World Cup match. The senior players refused to play on a substandard pitch that might cause injury.
Smith emphasized that funding and support for these teams should not depend on success alone. “These national teams have given their all; they deserve proper backing and funding regardless,” she said.
The fact that these teams are winning may force their federations to support them more, and this could ultimately be a positive development. But as Smith notes, the situation is unjust, highlighting the urgent need for fair treatment and funding in women’s football.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword Women’s World Cup
Who are the standout teams in the Women’s World Cup 2023 group stage?
Jamaica, Nigeria, and South Africa are notable for their impressive performances during the group stage of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
What has made these teams’ success particularly remarkable?
Their success is remarkable not just for their on-field achievements, including some of the biggest upsets in women’s football history, but also for their fight for respect and support off the field amid various challenges.
Who is Rebecca Smith and what is her perspective on the tournament?
Rebecca Smith is a former New Zealand international player who has become a FIFA administrator. She has expressed admiration for the teams’ successes and raised questions about what they could achieve with proper support from their federations.
Have there been any off-field challenges for Jamaica, Nigeria, and South Africa?
Yes, these teams have faced significant off-field challenges, including financial issues, lack of support from their federations, and disputes over playing conditions and bonuses.
What has been the reaction of prominent individuals to these challenges?
Individuals like Cedella Marley, daughter of reggae legend Bob Marley, have shown support, and concerns have been raised by various parties, emphasizing the need for fair treatment and proper funding for women’s football.
How have the African countries performed in this World Cup compared to previous years?
South Africa and Nigeria’s progress into the last 16 marks a significant achievement, with never so many African teams reaching this stage of either a women’s or men’s World Cup.
Who was responsible for funding the Jamaican team’s preparations?
The Jamaican team sought independent funding, including contributions from Cedella Marley, and set up online crowdfunding campaigns to prepare professionally for the tournament.
Were there any unexpected outcomes in the group stage?
Yes, three of the top 10 sides in the current Fifa rankings – Germany, Canada, and Brazil – were eliminated in the group stage, and six of the 16 teams entering the knockouts are ranked outside the top 20.
More about fokus keyword Women’s World Cup
- Women’s World Cup 2023
- Jamaica Women’s National Football Team
- Nigeria Women’s National Football Team
- South Africa Women’s National Football Team
- FIFA Women’s World Rankings
- Profile of Rebecca Smith, FIFA administrator
- Cedella Marley’s support for Jamaican football