The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada has been a very enjoyable tournament so far, as we draw closer to the last 16. For the first time in it’s history, the competition has expanded, with 24 nations represented on the biggest stage in women’s football.
Spain are one of those nations competing, amongst countries from each continent, demonstrating that the female game is rapidly growing.
Although many may have dismissed the tournament for it’s artificial pitches and often one-sided games, it is of vital importance that a country like Spain with it’s rich footballing tradition, put up a good showing.
It is well known that the coaching of all age levels in Spain is strong, especially with teams such as Barcelona, who have been built around the belief of passing football throughout it’s history.
However, despite this strong football identity, Spain’s recent success in the men’s team has failed to spread to the women’s team.
The women are certainly not to be underestimated, as shown by a competitive display against one of the tournament’s favourites Brazil, only narrowly losing to a first half goal, however when it comes to competing for major female honours, Spain’s women are not in the same bracket as the Germans and the USA for example.
It is difficult to know why. Without doubt the women’s game is not as strong as the mens, however as this tournament has proven, there are a lot of talented teams in the women’s game.
Spain’s stars are mainly based in the female Primera División, for leading teams such as Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, however few players have drawn attention from some of the other leading nation’s top leagues. Brazil’s leading player Marta applies her trade in Sweden – a big nation in the women’s football, yet very few Spaniards have attracted interest from other footballing nations, which is important if the women’s team is going to grow and become a bigger force on the world stage.
However there is some hope, and the key to the problem has to be passing. The women’s game is naturally slower than the men’s game, meaning that if there are players that can pass the ball around the pitch quickly and accurately, teams can prosper.
Having female footballers that let their passing do the talking, should now be the aim in Spain. If a similar style of play can be incorporated into women’s football; a style that has been so effective for the men’s team, this surely has to be the way forward.