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Archive for June 22, 2019

June 22, 2019 — The red ebb

The octofinal round of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup begins today, having eliminated eight teams, many from nations who just happen to excel in that other field-invasion sport, field hockey.

But there were a number of national teams which were not even qualified for the tournament this time around. If you take a look at a European map, there’s an entire area which is not represented: the region which was, in another generation, known as the Communist Bloc.

Think of it: Croatia’s men were the second-best team at last year’s World Cup. But the women’s team fell out of second-round UEFA qualifying without winning any of its eight games.

Russia, which prioritized its men’s national soccer team for last year’s hosting duties of the World Cup, saw its women finish third in its group behind England and Wales. Bulgaria, whose men’s team made the Final Four at USA 1994, didn’t even enter a women’s team for this World Cup.

North Korea, which made four straight World Cups between 1999 and 2011, did not make this World Cup after having been banned from the 2015 tournament due to doping results.

Indeed, the only Eastern Bloc country to make this World Cup was China. China is in the octofinal round playing Italy this coming Tuesday.

I’m wondering why it’s taking so long for the national governing bodies of some of these countries to fund their women’s soccer programs equally with their men.