The United States won for the third time the 2015 Women’s FIFA World Cup, the first time in 16 years. The newly expanded 24 team tournament was held across Canada with the finals being held in Vancouver. The tournament was held from June 6th to July 7th 2015. The tournament was used as a European qualifier where the three highest ranked teams from Europe qualify to the Olympics. For the purpose of football England could not qualify Great Britain a spot to the Olympics due to disagreements between the four home nation football associations.
The final for this edition was the same as the 2011 World Cup and 2012 Olympics where the United States went up against Japan to add a new chapter to their recent rivalry. The United States got a dream start to the match as Carli Lloyd scored within the first 3 minutes of the match in front of a partisan crowd. The dream start didn’t end there as by the end of the 16th minute the United States had a 4-0 lead with Carli Lloyd scoring a hat-trick leaving the Japanese opponents in shock. Japan was able to pull within two, but a Tobin Heath goal killed any momentum the Japanese girls built as the United States won 5-2.
In terms of qualification for the Olympics seven eligible European teams were fighting for three spots. Spain was knocked out first as they were the only nation that failed to reach the knock-out stage. In the round of 16 Germany and France were able to win their matches against Sweden and South Korea 4-1 and 3-0 respectively. It was an unfortunate match for fifth ranked Sweden, but a poor performance in the group stage forced it to go against Germany. Lucky for Sweden the other three eligible European nations; Norway, Switzerland and Netherlands also all lost in the round of 16. According to FIFA teams losing in the same round are ranked the same. This meant only France and Germany qualified to the Olympics by virtue of their quarterfinal appearance.
The final quota place for Europe will be decided in a four team tournament between Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland to be held in 2016. Personally I don’t like the fact that a world championship decides continental qualifiers. I know football in Europe is quite packed, but it wouldn’t have been a stretch to organize an 8 team continental tournament to decide which nations qualify. The fact they are forced to do a four team tournament shows the limitation of using the World Cup as the European qualifier.
Quotas by Nation
- France – 1
- Germany – 1
- FIFA. Women’s FIFA World Cup Results. Access on July 5 2015.