Germany crashed out of the 2011 World Cup in the quarterfinals on home soil, losing to a Japan team that at the time was a relative unknown but within two weeks became a world championship team.
The tale goes that everyone in Germany was suddenly a women’s soccer fan, as they called for coach Silvia Neid to be fired. The country suddenly cared that much more about women’s soccer.
But Neid kept her job, and since then Germany won a European championship and stormed through World Cup qualifying to recently reclaim the No. 1 ranking in the world. It’s a sequence of events that stands in stark contrast to a U.S. team — down to No. 2 in the world for the first time in almost seven years — which is on its third coach since winning a third straight Olympic gold medal in 2012. Tom Sermanni was ousted from his post in April simply for not being a ‘good fit’ (and for that bad Algarve Cup).
So hearing Neid say that Germany’s loss to Japan in 2011 wasn’t disappointing, and that it was good for women’s soccer? The horror!
“We are definitely not disappointed,” Neid told dw.de in an interview this week. “Women’s football has developed massively, both internationally and nationally, and that’s great. If you consider how long women’s football has existed and you see what has happened in the clubs and on the international level, I think it’s amazing. We shouldn’t be disappointed. We just have to keep working and keep presenting our sport in the best possible light. But that happens automatically, since it keeps developing. It is more dynamic, more robust, more technical, and everything is getting faster. It’s just like men’s football, and so we are content.”
Quite the contrast between two world powers, as everyone including Jill Ellis knows that Ellis will lose her job if the U.S. is unsuccessful in its quest to win the 2015 World Cup.
Neid goes on to identify eight favorites for the World Cup, which surprisingly includes Norway, the team the Germans narrowly defeated in the 2013 EURO final. She also identified Australia, Nigeria, Spain and England as “teams that could cause trouble for the favorites.”
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