2011 Women’s World Cup
The 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany in late June and early July made new inroads for women’s soccer into the consciousness of mainstream society, both in North America and throughout the rest of the world. Host Germany, the two-time defending champions, presented a well-organized event with solid attendance figures, despite losing at the quarterfinal stage to Japan. Utilizing primarily smaller stadiums (25,000–30,000) for most games, Germany broke away from the model of previous tournaments in which the majority of games were held as doubleheaders. Publicity in Germany was high, with over a half-dozen magazines dedicated to the tournament, while others ran prominent reviews. Panini Stickers, the European equivalent of Topps Baseball Cards, produced a women’s set for the first time, with over three hundred players from the sixteen teams. The stickers themselves (sold in packages of five) were extremely popular, and the sticker books sold out. Granted, a small thing but evidence of further mainline acceptance of the game.
There were two very salient aspects of the sixth edition of the FIFA World Championships. The first was the emergence of fluent, flowing play from two of the semifinalists–France and Japan—who had never made it that far before, while the United States team moved away from its traditional hurly-burly style to