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Women’s World Cup Provides Thrills On The Field, But Organizer FIFA Doesn’t Have Its Game Together

The United States Women’s National Team, in its two matches, provided plenty to draw attention at the Women’s World Cup in France. The 13-0 drubbing of Thailand, and the...

(Photo Credit: Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters)

The United States Women’s National Team, in its two matches, provided plenty to draw attention at the Women’s World Cup in France.

The 13-0 drubbing of Thailand, and the celebrations of the late goals, drew a critical eye from those thinking the actions failed the sportsmanship test. That created early controversy. Then the U.S. topped Chile and its brilliant goalkeeper 3-0 with a lineup full of substitutes. And now Brazil’s Marta has become the all-time leader in World Cup goals scored, men’s or women’s.

The U.S. plays again on Thursday, taking on Sweden at 3 p.m. on Fox, to conclude group play. The weaker teams are falling out and the intensity will increase.

Meanwhile, however, FIFA, the world organizing body, has been more Thailand than U.S. in its handling of this marquee event.
Note this from The Guardian, a British news organization, which starts with FIFA’s ticketing errors at the start of the tournament: “Undermining the brilliance on the field is the fan experience off of it. Where the smaller cities have embraced the tournament, partly for the tourism it brings, the mood in places such as Paris and Nice has been underwhelming. FIFA, in an effort to rectify the colossal seating error that led to parents being divided from children, recalled and reissued tickets to some matches. Fans who arrived with their original tickets – unaware new ones had been issued – were unable to gain entry, were forced to queue for reprints and, in the case of the opening match, missed the ceremony and start of the game.”

The Guardian also reports ticket sales have failed to meet expectations. Originally 20 games were said to be sold out; it turned out to be 14. And while more remote playing sites embraced the tournament and a bump in tourism, “the mood in places such as Paris and Nice has been underwhelming.”

Most people will experience the Women’s World Cup via television. It’s unfortunate that those who made the journey to France – or the French who won’t make the journey to the stadium – give the event less gravitas than it is due.

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