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2011 World Cup Prep


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Welcome back... it depends if they're saying we should be higher based on the ranking system, or the play teams have demonstrated on the field with their approaches/lineups, or expected level of play on a level playing field, etc.

The Americans are still ranked #1 and they've just been pretty deep in sketchytown. That pretty much explains the rankings. What matters is the World Cup. And your ranking is worth less than a new pair of socks there.



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This goes with FIFA's photo above.

Handing over the baton in Ottawa

FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011™ just around the corner, Canada 2015 on the horizon – that in a nutshell was the theme in the Canadian capital of Ottawa on Friday 11 March, at the tenth stage of the FIFA/OC Welcome Tour for Germany 2011.

OC President Steffi Jones used the meeting in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel as a perfect opportunity to congratulate Canada on their recent selection as host nation of 2015 edition of the women's showpiece. "Canada have already shown with their successful hosting of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007 that they have everything it takes to organise a FIFA tournament.

"The Women's World Cup 2015 will represent a milestone in the history of our sport since it will be the first time that 24 countries are taking part in the tournament," said Jones at the one-hour informational event.

The President of the Canadian Football Association Dominique Maestracci, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife Laureen, Minister for Sport Gary Lunn, German Ambassador to Ottawa Dr. Georg Witschel and Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson were among the 150 guests invited by FIFA and the OC.

"The Women's World Cup 2011 in Germany will set new standards not only in terms of organisation but also as far as promoting women’s football around the world is concerned,” said FA supremo Maestracci. “I look forward to continuing this success story in 2015."

A delegation from the Canadian FA will carry out an inspection tour this summer at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, paying close attention to core areas of organisation such as ticketing, security, media facilities, accreditation and hospitality.

Symbolic exchange

In a symbolic handing over of the baton between the current hosts of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the next country in line, Jones presented Maestracci with a captain’s armband and a pennant in the colours of the German and Canadian FA's, which bears the numbers 2011 and 2015.

As well as the links created between the 2011 and 2015 tournaments, everyone at the Welcome Tour event was buzzing about the Opening Match of Germany 2011. The hosts take on Canada on 26 June in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, with the news that more than 60,000 tickets for the match had already been snapped up being very well received by the Canadians.

"Playing in the Opening Match against the World Cup holders in a sold-out Olympic Stadium in Berlin is the best thing that could have happened to us,” said Canada coach Carolina Morace. “My players can hardly wait for the kick-off on 26 June. It will be a unique test, but the pressure will be on the Germans."

The Opening Match is now guaranteed to break the record for the number of fans at a women’s football match in Europe, which currently stands at 44,500 for the game between Germany and Brazil in the Frankfurt FIFA World Cup Arena on 22 April 2009.

"Selling more than 60,000 tickets for the Opening Match in Berlin over 100 days before the World Cup starts is testament to the excitement surrounding the tournament,” said OC President Jones. “More important for us than any record attendances, though, is the fact that fans are flocking to all of the venues."

Former international-turned-TV pundit Jason de Vos was named as a Super Fan by Jones, and like those before him in the various other countries already visited on the Welcome Tour, he received a German women’s team jersey from tournament mascot Karla Kick. The next stop on the FIFA/OC Welcome Tour will be Rio de Janeiro on 21 March 2011.


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  • 2 weeks later...

24 March 2011

Canada opens camp in Italy

Canada's women's national team has opened camp in Roma, Italy, a four-week camp as part of the team's preparations for the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011. Coach Carolina Morace has called 24 players into camp from 23 March to 20 April.



GK- Stephanie Labbé | SWE / Piteå IF

GK- Karina LeBlanc | USA / Chicago Red Stars

GK- Erin McLeod | USA / Washington Freedom

D- Melanie Booth | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC

D- Candace Chapman | USA / Western New York Flash

D- Robyn Gayle | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC

D- Bryanna McCarthy | CAN / Toronto Lady Lynx

D- Rhian Wilkinson | NOR / Lillestrøm SK Kvinner

D- Emily Zurrer | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC

M- Chelsea Buckland | USA / Oregon State University

M- Kaylyn Kyle | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC

M- Diana Matheson | NOR / Lillestrøm SK Kvinner

M- Brooke McCalla | CAN / Master's Futbol Academy

M- Carmelina Moscato | Unattached / sans club

M- Marie-Eve Nault | CAN / Ottawa Fury

M- Sophie Schmidt | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC

M- Desiree Scott | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC

M- Brittany Timko | Unattached / sans club

F- Jonelle Filigno | USA / Rutgers University

F- Christina Julien | CAN / Ottawa Fury

F- Amélia Pietrangelo | CAN / Comètes de Laval

F- Jodi-Ann Robinson | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC

F- Christine Sinclair | USA / Western New York Flash

F- Melissa Tancredi | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Head Coach / Entraîneure-chef : Carolina Morace

Assistant Coach / Entraîneure adjointe : Elisabetta Bavagnoli

Assistant Coach / Entraîneure adjointe : Andrea Neil

Goalkeeper Coach / Entraîneur des gardiens : Max Colucci

Fitness Coach / Préparateur physique : Mario Familari

Video Coordinator / Vidéaste : Sian Bagshawe

General Manager / Gérant d’équipe : Misty Thomas

Equipment Manager / Gérante de l'équipement : Maeve Glass

Support Staff / Personnel : Karina Sefron

Support Staff / Personnel : Joe Parolini

Nutritionist / Nutritionniste : Dr. Maura Colella

Therapist / Thérapeute du sport : Giuseppe Ciferni

Therapist / Thérapeute du sport : Roberta Villa

Therapist / Thérapeute du sport : Daria Castellana

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One addition to the team that was there the previous time: Pietrangielo. Bélanger and Woeller are not with the team. I wonder what is going on with Bélanger. She was good in Mexico and Brazil. And now she isn't even being selected. That's one question I want know. Is she injured/ not good enough or has problems with the team?

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One addition to the team that was there the previous time: Pietrangielo. Bélanger and Woeller are not with the team. I wonder what is going on with Bélanger. She was good in Mexico and Brazil. And now she isn't even being selected. That's one question I want know. Is she injured/ not good enough or has problems with the team?

This is something that anonys me to no end. Parker is another player that we know nothing about except she is listed on Western New York's website as a roster player. Who do we blame for the lack of information?

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Media support goes hand-in-hand with the pay grade for women's soccer. Whereas men's soccer around the world supports an entire industry of broadcast programs, pundits, professional scribes, analysts, photographers, publishers, etc - women's soccer in that neighbourhood is still pretty much volunteer and amateur around the world. There are some bleeding edge things happening in different countries, but outside of the social engineering of association and confederation efforts almost anyone in the biz is in for the same love of the game as the players. The women's soccer 'information' industry is predominantly amateur and fractured narrowcasting via social media. Very few have been able to professionalize things.

And if I knew more or less, I'd still be praying about the same that both Bélanger and Parker have time to get in enough training and matches to be physically and mentally healthy and game-fit for late June.

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Not sure why she is not in Rome, but Belanger apparently was invited to the camp

According to the guy who wrote the latest story on Josée. It looks like she has a problem with her ankle since January. I don't know how serious it is. But I know one thing. I hope she'll be match fit for the tournament.

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From the CSA's perspective they are short-staffed and we have about 10 teams. The focus right now is on the men's and U20 teams. From the team's perspective, it's not high on the list of how they choose to select their 10 non-coaching staff when they travel.

If you want something done right you do it yourself. With so many bright educated players and so much downtime the players could probably do a really good job themselves. The CSA would have to approve content of course, but I see two dozen great content providers (articles, opinion, interviews, photos, video, etc).

I also suspect we'll see a change soon at the association level now that we have 2015 - each additional filled seat contributes heavily to the CSA's bank balance. That likely equates to seed investment of money, time and attention paid to marketing and awareness of women's soccer over the next couple of years.

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Speaking of injuries...


French defender Sandrine Dusang (right) tore up her knee on the weekend and won't be on the field against us in Germany. She's been seven seasons on both the national team and perennial Euro powerhouse Olympique Lyonnaise.


In a sport that requires so much commitment, I can't even begin to imagine the pain she is going through right now.

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Final test for women in the middle


The recent Algarve Cup, held in the south of Portugal, was an important competition in many respects. A timely dress rehearsal for four teams that will be taking part later this year at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™, it also gave the eight other competing nations the chance to acquire some valuable international experience in an increasingly prestigious event. Last but certainly not least, for the 62 referees and assistants referees officiating at the tournament it also marked the final phase in their efforts to earn selection for Germany 2011, the end of a long and nerve-wracking four-year process.

“They were a bit emotional and anxious and they were under pressure, but they stayed alert the whole time,” Sonia Denoncourt, the head of women’s referees at the FIFA Refereeing Department told FIFA.com. “They know very well that this is their final examination. They’ve done all the tests we’ve asked them to and we’ll be looking at the results now. Then, in about mid-April, we’ll be announcing the list of 48 match officials (18 referees and 30 assistants) who’ll be going to Germany.”

Congregating in the Algarve town of Olhao on 24 February, the 62 candidates spent the next two weeks with a team of trainers and instructors made up of physiotherapists, coaches, a psychologist and two masseuses. The hopefuls spent the first few days of the get-together having their fitness levels, English and knowledge of the Laws of the Game tested, all this before the week-long tournament got under way on 2 March.

"The level has really improved, pretty much in keeping with the improvement we’ve seen in the standard of play."

Sonia Denoncourt, Head of women’s referees, FIFA Refereeing Department

“The level has really improved, pretty much in keeping with the improvement we’ve seen in the standard of play,” added Denoncourt. “Expectations for the World Cup are very high. We’ve been working to a very strict programme since 2005 and we’ve noticed in particular that fitness levels are excellent. We’ve been getting together after every game to analyse situations, and it’s been very productive because everyone’s been taking part and asking questions to clear up any doubts they’ve had.”

Having spent the last four years together, the 62 contenders have built up a real rapport with each other. “They’re competing for a place at the World Cup but they’re not at odds with each other.”

It is an important point. Team spirit is a vital ingredient in the success of any group of match officials, as the candidates are well aware. “Obviously I want to be in Germany but I want to get there through my own merits and not because one of my colleagues has made a mistake,” said Canada’s Carol Anne Chenard, who refers to her fellow hopefuls as “friends”, even though they are all vying with her for a place at the biggest event in women’s football.

Last year was an especially intense one for all of them. FIFA’s Refereeing Department started 2010 with a group of 110 referees and assistant referees to assess, all of whom officiated in at least one of the four international tournaments held during the course of the year: the Algarve Cup, the Youth Olympic Games, and the FIFA U-20 and U-17 World Cups, held in Germany and Trinidad and Tobago respectively. Their performances were then evaluated and a final shortlist announced.

Arduous process

And though it might sound like a cliché, women referees sometimes face added hurdles to make it to the top. “It’s not easy to balance refereeing with work,” said Denoncourt, well aware of the day-to-day problems these brave women face. “And it’s not easy to be away from your family for more than a month when you’re a mother, let alone get back into shape after you’ve been pregnant.”

Reaching the required standard requires great dedication and commitment. The FIFA team provides aspiring tournament officials with guidelines to help them stay in shape and also evaluates their knowledge of the Laws of the Game on a continual basis through a series of online tests.

“In a lot of cases the development of female officials is impeded by the lack of opportunities they have to officiate in elite competitions in their countries,” concluded Denoncourt. “We’ve improved in that respect, but there needs to be greater involvement and support on the part of their football associations.”

“See you in Germany maybe,” the hopefuls say as they bid nervously excited farewells to each other at Lisbon Airport. 48 of them will be reunited come 26 June and the start of the big event. In the meantime, however, they face a nailbiting wait to see if four years of hard work and dedication has paid off.


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A bunch of red & white U19s from a country smaller than Montreal in residents who didn't listen when everyone told them they couldn't compete with the Germans:


Nia Jones scores for Wales.

The Wales under 19 side battled to a great 1-1 draw with Germany at Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli this evening in the opening UEFA Elite Round game.

The Germans took an early lead from a corner on eights minutes, defender Luisa Wensing rising at the far post to score from a bullet-header.

It could have been the signal for an all-out onslaught by the Germans, but instead, Jarmo Matikainen's young team fought for every ball and held the German attack at bay. Few chances came to either side for the rest of the opening 45 minutes, but Wales were beginning to grow in confidence as the half wore-on. Captain Nia Jones was very impressive in keeping the shape of the Wales defence under severe pressure.

In the second half, Wales came-out on a mission and denied Germany the time and space to build from midfield. The reward game with just ten minutes to go when captain Nia Jones scored the all-important goal for the girls in red.

It was the signal for an all-out attack from Germany but Wales held their ground and took the point from a famous 1-1 draw.

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Steve, it was a reference to an upset defeat of a German team in a group opener. The interesting thing about the Welsh win is the captain Nia Jones scored on their only shot on net (in the picture above) - and she is a central defender.

Thanks Jonny. No Aslani, Lindahl or Landström. Still not the best Swedish team but closer. Our press is always positive spin, it would be interesting to read a neutral third party opinion. Sweden are very entertaining when they're on their game, especially when they're committing numbers to the top.

Canada: 1 Karina LeBlanc - 2 Emily Zurr, 7 Rhian Wilkinson, 9 Candace Chapman, 8 Diana Matheson - 6 Kaylyn Kyle, 13 Sophie Schmidt, 20 Marie-Eve Nault - 12 Christine Sinclair, Melissa Tancredi 14 (10 Christina Julien 86 ') , 16 Jonelle Filigno (21 Jodi-Ann Robinson 67 ').

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Nigeria appoint German as assistant for women's team


The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has confirmed the appointment of German trainer Thomas Oblias as an assistant for the World Cup-bound women's side.

Obliers, 43, is expected to work alongside coach Eucharia Uche as the technical assistant.

He has agreed a four-month deal with Nigeria starting in April.

According to NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire, the German comes with a wealth of experience and strong knowledge of women's football.

"It's now official that Thomas Obliers will work as technical assistant to Eucharia Uche," Olajire told BBC Sport.

"His wealth of experience in women's football is exceptional and will compliment that of an equally experienced former international (Eucharia Uche).

"Obliers is expected to assist in our World Cup preparations as well as Olympic and All Africa Games qualifiers."

Speculation in the local media had centred around the future of Uche, who led the team to a record sixth African title last November.

But Olajire was quick to dispel this rumours that Uche would be fired before June's World Cup in Germany and also insisted that the issue with her two year's worth of unpaid salary is being dealt with.

"The issue of her salary is being handled by those in charge and will be cleared as soon as possible," he added.

"She is the head coach of the Super Falcons and will be in charge in Germany."

Nigeria have qualified for every edition of the Fifa Women's World Cup since it was first staged in 1991.

The Super Falcons are in a tricky group with hosts and reigning champions Germany, a vastly-improved France and Canada.

Sixteen teams will contest the World Cup which runs between 26 June and 17 July in Germany.

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Falcons prove supremacy in Namibia


Nigeria’s women football team, the Super Falcons, confirmed their supremacy, at least on the African continent, with a 2-0 win over the Namibian national team. This followed its 7-0 victory over the Namibian team two weeks ago in Abuja. The Nigerian ladies thus won the tie 9-0 on aggregate. The team paraded an array of locally-based players as the technical crew continue to work on it, in preparation for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off in June in Germany.

Though the Brave Gladiators, as the Namibian team is known, tried their best, the Falcons scored through Ebere Orji and a penalty converted by Stella Mbachu, both in the first half.

Reports on namibiasport.com.na, concede that the Falcons were vastly superior to the home team and that they dominated the match throughout the 90 minutes of play. In the whole of the first half, the ball hardly entered the Falcons’ area. The Namibians were forced to play defensively as forays by Falcons attackers overwhelmed the hosts.

The Nigerians scored the first goal when Orji took advantage of a fumble by the Namibian defence in the 20th minute to slot the ball past the Namibian goalkeeper, Sussana Eises. The second goal was a penalty when Gladiators’ defender, Rejoice Kasaona, handled the ball in the box. Falcons’ Mbachu sent Namibian goalkeeper, Sussana Eises, the wrong way and it was game over.

The start of the second half was almost marred by heavy rain, which seemed to invigorate the Namibian side. The Gladiators threw everything into attack, to at least get a goal. The onslaught was led by pint-sized striker Juliana Skrywer. The rain however made play more difficult on a bumpy pitch. As a result the Namibians committed more errors.

The Falcons had beaten the Namibian team 10-1 on aggregate in their last meeting. The Falcons are billed to face the winner of the Equatorial Guinea versus Cameroun tie.


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Caroline Seger is such a champ.

As to the potential winners, Seger regards the host nation as favourites, but not to the exclusion of every other team. "Germany are always the favourites. They’ve already proved they’re a great team. When they have to play well, they play well - especially in tournaments. I’d also mention the Canadians. They’ve made major changes to their football and the way they play. They are going to be very, very dangerous."


I'm not sure about how sharp Australia is, we haven't seen them in an unusually long time. But Sweden and Japan are two teams you cross your fingers you don't run into in Germany.

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It looks like Chelsea Buckland, uncapped at every level, will make Canada's World Cup team. I'm a bit surprised that she made the team, since well, she's still uncapped. I would say Morace has her roster pretty much set as Buckland is not one of the regulars.


In other news, Josée Bélanger wasn't able to recover in time to go to the World Cup. I'm pretty sure Morace's decision to include Buckland was because she knew Bélanger wouldn't be able to come back in time.

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Woot! I'm thrilled for Chelsea. I covered her play for the Whitecaps Prospects in the PCSL and she is as fierce a competitor as I've seen, and a real handful for defenders. She's my second favorite player in the game today. I'm sorry she won't be back with the Whitecaps this season, but I'll be rooting for her in Germany.

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It's really unfortunate for Bélanger who is one of my favourite players. I was hoping she could recover in time since she has been hurt for a while now (somewhere around January or February of what I can remember). You have to be good to succeed but luck is also important. Let's hope the one who will be offered to replace Belanger will seize the opportunity.

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EP has a column at Red Nation -

Canada's role in the 2011 Women's World Cup

One of the most positive aspects about this summer's Women's World Cup, is the fact that the tournament is being hosted by the German Football Federation - therefore, we know with certainty that the event will run both smoothly and efficiently. While Germany is the expected favourite for top spot when the final takes place on July 17th, another team stands out to challenge for gold - the USA, as expected. Other than that, I see this tournament reinforcing a number of trends that have been evident for some years now:


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