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Defeat shouldn't mask England's progress

Jacqui Oatley | 07:11 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

An hour after the final whistle in Helsinki, I sit at my laptop in the press box surrounded by confetti in the colours of Germany's black and gold.

Through my headphones I hear Kelly Smith's interview as it's being filed back to London, her words drowned out by the familiar sound of raucous, jubilant Germans. We've been here before. Two years ago, four years ago, etc.

So what's changed? Not much from a German point of view. Five European titles in a row, it's now 19 games without defeat against England. Not too much tweaking is required by them. But what, if anything, will this change for Hope Powell's side?

hopepowell595.jpgHope Powell's team fell at the final hurdle

First things first - despite the painful ending, there's no doubt this has been a successful tournament for them.

Four years ago I was commentating on England finishing bottom of their group at Euro 2005 on home soil.

Two years ago, England lost to the United States in the quarter-finals of the World Cup and returned home to find they'd only be paid the equivalent of £40 per day for their efforts.

They told me they'd have to work extra hours to make up for the shortfall in their income and their training programmes - which they'd so strictly followed in the build-up to the World Cup - could no longer be a priority. Progress? Hardly.

But two years on, the players have just told me after their first major final what a massive impact the new central contracts have played in their progress.

While six of the squad are full-time professionals in the United States, others are now paid £16,000 a year by the FA to enable them to train and recover in a way that other elite athletes do.

The benefits of a relatively small investment have been evident for all to see. So should we all pat Hope Powell and her players on the back, say "hard luck against those pesky Germans and better luck next time"? If we just did that, it would mean we've learnt nothing from history.

A thriving women's game was stopped in its tracks all the way back in 1921. Startled by its rising popularity, the FA decided to effectively ban women from playing football for 50 years saying, "...the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged." It was 1971 before the ban was lifted.

People forget this key fact when wondering why England are still trailing behind the Germans and Americans (though they've caught up with the Scandinavians).

England captain Faye White said that when the FA deferred the women's Super League by a year, the players said, "oh here we go again". They have become resigned to being let down by those in a position to give them a long-overdue leg up.

This is the FA board's chance to continue to make amends for the actions of their predecessors.

I spoke to new FA chief executive Ian Watmore at half time during our 5 live sports extra commentary on Thursday night. He was extremely positive about the women's game, said he wanted to prove it by his actions and was "convinced" the Super League would get the go-ahead in the next few weeks.

This group of players have done their bit. FA, it's over to you to make sure this latest opportunity to make a real difference is not lost and I'm not blogging about the same subject after the Germans have won the World Cup again in two years' time.

Comments

  • 1. At 07:59am on 11 Sep 2009, Born_Again wrote:

    Firstly I would like to congratulate the ladies on their achievements. Watching the game, and the goals again this morning, one thing struck me. The actual goalposts seem massive, and the goals scored were like being scored past children. I think if the actual frames were reduced by 10-15% in size for the ladies game i think this would actually improve the game. It would force the technique to be better as it seems the keepers have very little chance with a lot of shots and often get lobbed on their line.

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  • 2. At 08:17am on 11 Sep 2009, ajtreading wrote:

    Good point about reducing the size of the goal. I also noticed the goal keepers often get lobbed on their line.

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  • 3. At 09:02am on 11 Sep 2009, Rabster wrote:

    There seems to be little doubt that the English women have made progress, but last night Germany looked to be in a different class. If the powers that be do all they can to encourage new talent, that is all one could ask for. When did England's men last reach a Euro final?

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  • 4. At 09:04am on 11 Sep 2009, Sir Harry Whitesnapp wrote:

    The problem with the women's game is the pace is desperately slow and the touch of the players is poor on a good day. I also noticed there is no real physical contact most of the time and for instance you often see players winning headers completle unchallenged. Don't even get me started on the goalkeepers.

    The point here is I'm not trying to knock the women's game but it is what it is....if you like it fine, but the super league or whatever it is branded as will not have widespread appeal. It is fine as an amateur game (suitbable for Olympics for example) but it really doesn't have enough in it to entertain the masses and build a huge following.

    I heard some of the commentators complaining during the semi final about the lack of interest from the press in England....don't blame the press this time, blame the lack of anything meaningful to report on.

    Bad luck to England though as they did well in the tournament.

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  • 5. At 09:30am on 11 Sep 2009, dan2dons wrote:

    I agree with the sentiments about the quality of football last night. Unfortunatley, being played the day after the mens' succesful performance, the contrast was extreme. That said, I disagree with some of the comments about the womens game never taking off and that the world will only be interested in the mens game. Why? Well consider this blog, the responses, the fact that the BBC transmitted the game live... at the end of the day, what interests the public is success.
    Take Jessica Ennis. I didnt hear anyone criticise her success with comments like "she wouldnt have made the mens decathlon team", "well its only 8 events so it not a real challenge", "in comparison to the men her success is not something for the country to rejoice in"... No, we all recognised what she had done within her respective sport and celebrated.
    The same should be (and is) true for the England Womens Team: they reached a final in their respective sport. Something the men havent done since 1966!! So hats off to them...and to the BBC for getting onside.

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  • 6. At 09:36am on 11 Sep 2009, Kubali wrote:

    'When did England's men last reach a Euro final?'

    When did England's men last get smashed 6-2!?

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  • 7. At 10:01am on 11 Sep 2009, tomoshywel1 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 8. At 10:25am on 11 Sep 2009, FortressFratton wrote:

    As an 18yr old, I can guarantee that at least 60% of boys aged 16-19 would have saved that goal. If you disagree, then you must come from Chernobyl.

    =============================

    Sorry but inventing statistics doesn't make your 'fact' a fact.

    The keeper was perhaps badly positioned, and maybe could have done more to stop it - but the strike was a long way out and extremely accurate - give the German credit for such an accurate shot rather than place the blame on the goalkeeper. You don't reach the final of an international tournament if your goalkeeper is as bad as people are making out here.

    Yes, the England team have work to do if they are to beat Germany in the future, but the team showed real promise (they reached the final!!) and scoring 2 goals against such a good side is testament to that. They need to work on their defence (too much playing it around at the back and giving it away!) and yes, they need to improve their goalkeeping, but all these comparisons to goalkeeping in the men's game does nothing to help and, frankly, are completely unfounded. Unless of course you've got a real statistic to prove your '60% of 16-19 year old boys' fact.

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  • 9. At 10:30am on 11 Sep 2009, abidallah wrote:

    Goalkeeping is always the last area of the game that develops. Take the criticism that the media gives to goalkeepers every time the African Nations Cup occurs. Over time it will improve, nothing more.

    England were simply outclassed defensively by an outstanding attacking side. The passing, movement and understanding between the front six of Germany would have easily graced any men's game.

    As for there being no real physical contact, complete rubbish. The England centre-mids and centre-halves certainly put it about, and both sides got up and got on with the game with far less hystrionics than the men.

    The final was a great advert for the women's game as it stands now, and it can only improve.

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  • 10. At 10:45am on 11 Sep 2009, EPF wrote:

    As a Non-league football fan, the women's game is at a similar level to that around the Blue Square North/South in terms of the pace of the game. The physicality is different, there are no hackers in the women's game like we see down here!

    This 'having a pop' attitude comes from groups of premiership fans who watch their football on Sky and think football stops after the top 6 in the championship.

    The women's game improves all the time and its about time we recognised the successes of our women's teams in male dominated sports, such as our Ashes winning cricketers and our finalist footballers.

    It was a first final for all but one of the players, people are allowed to have nerves and make mistakes, the Germans having been winning for years, they knew what to do. The better side won, but the england team gave their all.

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  • 11. At 10:50am on 11 Sep 2009, WorstBlogEver wrote:

    I watch Loads of football and this was a good game, germany were a class act. Female or Male why all the negative fuss. BBC show ONE game from the 6 england play, and all you get is boo boys comparing how none of these women could even play men's league/champoinship level, SO WHAT! As a man I personaly dont feel threatened by what I saw, but I have read so many bad comments on this particular site it makes you wonder about the male ego psych of this country.
    2011 Germany host the female World Cup as holders, 40,000 plus crowds will not be random. Guys need to wake up to the fact women's football is not going to go away any time soon, Even if the BBC choose not to show it.

    By the way if England women had played like that joke Croatia outfit did the night before, all the haters would have had have gone crazy, I mean Rooney's goal said it all.

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  • 12. At 11:17am on 11 Sep 2009, trigg_27 - Keep 606 alive for Rambo wrote:

    It's high time that more women's football was shown on TV. The more media exposure the game gets, the more people will be interested as either spectators or participants.

    And the more people involved, the more money becomes available to improve facilities and standards

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  • 13. At 11:18am on 11 Sep 2009, Villa_90 wrote:

    #11: 'That joke Croatia outfit' played like that because they were broken by one of the best England performances since we beat Germany 5-1. We made them look bad, rather than them being awful from the start. And the Rooney goal may have come from a bad error by the keeper but he had also made about three top class saves from one-on-ones previously, and made the mistake when the game was already lost. Every single goal scored by the Germans was unconstested by England's keeper, except the ridiculously well struck 40 yarder. She didn't even move for most of them. On the other hand, I agree that there shouldn't be so much of an issue made about how women footballers are only at such and such a level. There again, women football fans shouldn't complain that it isn't given much coverage because the reason for that is it's very low standard, apart from Germany and Brazil.

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  • 14. At 11:26am on 11 Sep 2009, williejohnisgod wrote:

    to Harry Whitesknapp - No physical contact? Faye White didn't make a mess of her make up, she dislocated and fractured her cheekbone in contact with an opponent. What's more, she played in an international final a couple of days later against the reigning champions. John Terry does it and he is a hero. Time to stop treating these players and their manager as girls playing a mans game, and start recognising their achievements on a budget that wouldn't keep Wolverhampton Wanderers going for more than a week!

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  • 15. At 11:32am on 11 Sep 2009, footymums wrote:

    However women's football is perceived, the crucial thing is that the women's game deserves to be given the opportunity to develop. This is the fastest growing participative sport in the UK and the FA and other governing bodies need to commit sufficient resources to let it prosper. This will allow it to move to the next level and the next level beyond that, with individual player skill emerging as the likely defining feature of the women's game

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  • 16. At 11:43am on 11 Sep 2009, imelati wrote:

    I think it was a great game for both sides but some of the goals were a little bit embarrassing, they should never have gone in. Yes the goalkeeping is really lacking in most female football teams but I play a lot of female football for fun and meet some really good goalies who have never considered playing for England. There is neither money nor any glamour in being a female goalie - at least the strikers get some glory to make up for the lack of money. Why would anyone give up their job/take time off to train on a football pitch for no money or credit?

    It's true that publicity will never pick up until the play starts improving, but players will not start improving until they are paid a decent salary and appreciated for their efforts! So its kind of a catch-22 here.

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  • 17. At 11:49am on 11 Sep 2009, imelati wrote:

    Oh and what do you mean no physical contact?! When these girls are fouled or knocked over they just get up and get on with it. None of the diving theatrics that dominate the men's game!

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  • 18. At 11:51am on 11 Sep 2009, smartgoodtimes wrote:

    I have been involved in the women's game for a long time, and this was a big step for the women's game in England to get the coverage and support. As for the performance, it wasn't brilliant and yes there were areas that needed to be improved but they can be physical they can move quicker and I know they can do it because I have seen it. A judgement can't be made on watching one game, and simply they can perform better.

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  • 19. At 11:55am on 11 Sep 2009, Guns wrote:

    Congratulations to our ladies, when the men make it to the final of a major tournament then we can start knocking Women's Football. They battled their way to the final next time they will do better its a learning curve. Keep your heads up you have done more then our ens team actually failed to qualify for the last European finals!

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  • 20. At 12:04pm on 11 Sep 2009, cs15hammer wrote:

    I love watching the women's game. Well done ladies. I love international tournaments for either men or women - and I'd watch a tournament like that over more of the usual Premier League or Champions League hype and fodder anytime. In the women's game there is lots of skill, fitness and good sporting attitude and deep feeling for representing their country. It's been great to see this England side growing in the last few years. I don't see the point of comparing it to the men's game or criticising either the men or women's game in this comparision.
    Yes the English men haven't reached a major final for donkeys but it's different.
    As for changing the size of the goals I don't normally see so many goals scored and the games can be entertaining too when there is a bit more chance of a goal. The goals yesterday magnified it because the Germans were so good at finishing and exploiting weakness. One comparision with the men's game that does stand up; those Germans!

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  • 21. At 12:12pm on 11 Sep 2009, MouserDem wrote:

    I watched all of England's games at the Euros and the last World Cup and in spite of the scoreline in the final, this tournament was definitely a major step forward. Although the World Cup was seen as progress, if I remember rightly England won one game and their highlight was a scraped draw against the Germans, a game where they set out to not lose and nothing more. The little I saw of England at this tournament showed they attempted and accomplished so much more than at the World Cup, but this leads me on to my second point. While the team took significant steps forward, the media, BBC included, took several huge strides backwards. The only tv coverage I could find was the final, hastily arranged after victory in the semi. Even the coverage on this website has been woeful - no Caroline Cheese text streams to read and participate in, no commentaries, the Confed Cup got more coverage and that's little more than a dress rehearsal. So the team can be proud but the BBC (and I love and support my beeb - I'm not a habitual beeb basher) have no reason to be smug.

    As for the guy who said earlier that there's no physical contact - didn't you see the facemask? Broken and dislocated cheekbone mate, sustained at this tournament, how much more physical contact do you want?

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  • 22. At 12:12pm on 11 Sep 2009, KK10_ynwa wrote:

    To those of you who have mentioned the lack of quality in the womens' game, I'm afraid you have hit on the wrong point. I am 19 years old and I love football, and yes, I am a girl. As much as I like wathcing and supporting the mens' game, and indeed I do watch Liverpool play every week whether it be on tv or at anfield, I have never felt I could aspire to be a football player purely because the players that I can watch on tv are men. I have played football for most of my teenage years just for fun, I've never dreamed about playing for England like most young lads do, but watching the ladies team last night, for the first time I could identify with the players because they were female, it was inspirational and aspirational. Promoting the ladies' game not only encourages girls to play football but allows them to aspire. The dream of playing football for your country exists for girls where it did not before. Surely this is not something we should discourage?

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  • 23. At 12:14pm on 11 Sep 2009, MouserDem wrote:

    My previous comment, when I said I watched all the Euros and World Cup in my first sentence, I meant all the previous Euros staged in England, not the one in Finland that finished yesterday.

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  • 24. At 12:16pm on 11 Sep 2009, dannytrfc wrote:

    The problem with the perception of the women’s game is that people watch one game and dismiss it on the basis that it’s “too slow” or “not physical enough”, or listen to the lazy media coverage of England being “thrashed” by Germany.

    Trust me, as the fan of a team in the habit of being thrashed of late, that was not a thrashing, despite what the scoreline suggests. If England had come up against this Germany team 2 or 3 years ago it may well have been a thrashing on the cards. The improvement is there for all to see and making it to the final is a great achievement, despite the outcome. If the men’s team reach the final in 2010 and are then beaten by Brazil or Spain will it be called a failure? Not a chance.

    Another benefit may be that women’s football may well be the only form of the game left on terrestrial television any time soon!

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  • 25. At 12:24pm on 11 Sep 2009, Barnes B 25 wrote:

    I think congratulations are in order to all involved in women's football in the UK, especially after all the hard work off field to get them recognised. We continue to treat women's football as second class citizens when patently they are not. They play the game with far more spirit, and in some cases skill, than many of the professional footballers. Why is it that women athletes get support in many events, that was not available previously, long distance running, tennis,etc and yet a support for a successful football team is almost an after thought?
    So we lost, but they all gave 110% and you can't ask for more. Who else can say that on their day, they were second in Europe?
    I enjoyed the final, which I saw in Spain, and expect to see them in future tournaments.
    Well done again.

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  • 26. At 12:24pm on 11 Sep 2009, bluethirdkit wrote:

    Personally I was pleased for English football that the women did so well and that they really matched and worried the Germans into the second half. I watched it as an England fan and enjoyed it [till half 70 mins anyway.] The game deserves to devleop and hopefully the FA will make sure it does.
    I don't get to see much of this sport, but it did seem to me that the game was potentially worse than the quality I remember from the last Women's World Cup.
    Yep, two great finishes at least, but yes woeful goalkeeping [positioning and weak wrists] and I was really worried about the lack of challenges and physicality. My 15yr old niece kept moaning about girls falling over - not fouls, just falling over - I thought the England second goal was a joke on Germany - great close control and good cross, but really is it illegal in the women's game to just put the full weight of your body through the ball and take it out of play.
    This is not a criticism of women nor patronising, we just hope and expect more. [I can be equally critical of the men] Yes you may be a fraction slower and slightly weaker body v. body, but thankfully people like Hope Powell will not accept excuses and will expect improvement.
    Hope - please stay on and may the girls go for the top prize in Germany.

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  • 27. At 12:31pm on 11 Sep 2009, tomoshywel1 wrote:

    'You don't reach the final of an international tournament if your goalkeeper is as bad as people are making out here.'

    No, only if the oppositions keeper is even worse, as is probably the case.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    The final was a great advert for the women's game as it stands now, and it can only improve.

    Agree

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    'By the way if England women had played like that joke Croatia outfit did the night before, all the haters would have had have gone crazy, I mean Rooney's goal said it all'

    The 'I watch a lot of football' comment was clearly nonsense then if your suggesting that Croatia are a joke. How are the Croatian male national side a joke? It is a fact that Croatia have qualified more times for a major championship than England have.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    'I've never dreamed about playing for England like most young lads do'

    Globally, I reckon this probably isn't true.

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    Otherwise, KK10_ynwa:

    You talk more sense than most here.

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    'It's true that publicity will never pick up until the play starts improving, but players will not start improving until they are paid a decent salary and appreciated for their efforts!'

    OMG, are you serious? I think thats the best comment ever haha. haha. I apologize if you were joking, I can't quite tell if you are. If not; haha!! Is that your attitude towards work? If money is such an important factor in your level of motivation, why on earth did you end up in a job where you can post comments on a BBC sport blog at 12 on a weekday? Yet again, your current job would also help explain how you managed to come up with something like that lol.

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  • 28. At 12:34pm on 11 Sep 2009, Alfdawg wrote:

    40 yard screamer my left nut! Where was the keeper!!

    Hopefully after this result women will accept that there game is indeed amatuer and will remain so. Who wants to watch this tripe! Its about as physical as ballet.

    Football is a man's game, end of

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  • 29. At 12:34pm on 11 Sep 2009, theboynavey wrote:

    The womens game is a joke. You caould take any amateur sinday league team and put them up against England womens team and i would expect the men to win 100 times out 100.

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  • 30. At 12:37pm on 11 Sep 2009, tomoshywel1 wrote:

    haha

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  • 31. At 12:40pm on 11 Sep 2009, tomoshywel1 wrote:

    Hut?

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  • 32. At 12:42pm on 11 Sep 2009, bluethirdkit wrote:

    fair point on keepers both ends. I did mean poor [woeful may be bit harsh] goalkeeping from both sides. I never properly understood why this has always been the weak point of the womens' game - perhaps the comment earlier on perceived glamour helps a little as explanation.

    Re tackling though. I wonder if FIFA/FA could sanction training matches versus men's teams - yep e.g. Blue Square sides. The women are tough enough and it may just encourage them to be more physical in each challenge [or do the damn referees blow up in a patronising/continental manner?]

    It may be the edge which is required for the next tournament and take the women where they want to be - top.

    Well done Hope and the ladies - may some of this improvement and great attitude rub off on our ever improving men's side.

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  • 33. At 12:45pm on 11 Sep 2009, Alfdawg wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 34. At 12:46pm on 11 Sep 2009, Alfdawg wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 35. At 12:46pm on 11 Sep 2009, Alfdawg wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 36. At 12:53pm on 11 Sep 2009, Dean Barrow wrote:

    Alfdawg you are an idiot

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  • 37. At 12:55pm on 11 Sep 2009, Alfdawg wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 38. At 1:28pm on 11 Sep 2009, imelati wrote:

    Tomoshywel1 - You really do jump to conclusions don't you? Has it ever occurred to you that I might be:
    1. On leave 2. Having lunch at my desk 3. A student 4. Working from home 5. Self-employed?
    Silly person.

    Anyway, I was being tongue-in-cheek: of course money is a motivation with most human beings, but it's also the excuse everyone gives when women's football is discussed.

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  • 39. At 1:41pm on 11 Sep 2009, meyers7 wrote:

    At 12:42pm on 11 Sep 2009, bluethirdkit wrote:
    I wonder if FIFA/FA could sanction training matches versus men's teams - yep e.g. Blue Square sides. The women are tough enough and it may just encourage them to be more physical in each challenge [or do the damn referees blow up in a patronising/continental manner?]

    -----------

    Speaking as a Yank, I know our USA women's team uses training matches against U17/U18 boys club sides. I believe a couple of the WPS teams do also (maybe U16).

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  • 40. At 1:56pm on 11 Sep 2009, jaskirtd wrote:

    great blog Jacqui, and well done to the england team, fantastic tournament and huge strides forward hopefully for our womens game. i remember the euro's in england 4 years ago and the development, maturity and progression the team has made has been huge. and to reach the final and to play against the Germans like we did up until the 60/70th minute was brilliant to watch and I'm a very proud for what they achieved.

    And I've seen Rachel Brown (the england keeper) play many times and she is a fantastic goalkeeper.

    Also just a note, I watched most of the matches on Eurosport - great coverage from them - and was MASSIVELY disappointed with the BBC's lack of coverage, although the final was covered fantastically, Lucy Ward is a great commentator! There is a following for womens football and I hope that the World Cup and Euros are covered fully in years to come. The BBC and FA can do a lot to move the game forward and develop the talent (U19 champs) into making an England squad that can lift the trophy next time.

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  • 41. At 2:23pm on 11 Sep 2009, Snee38 wrote:

    "As a Non-league football fan, the women's game is at a similar level to that around the Blue Square North/South in terms of the pace of the game"

    That is the biggest joke i ever heard womens football is a long long long long long long way off! i know doubt one day womens football will reach a good level but at the moment it is painful to watch! i will always support england women in a game, and indeed started to watch the game yesterday but i had to turn it off because i saw my 6 year old son kicking a ball against a wall on his own and it was more entertaining!as for the goal keepers they need to step up their game tenfold before womens football should even be shown on tv.

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  • 42. At 2:38pm on 11 Sep 2009, JimmyDix wrote:

    I agree with snee38, comparing the standard to the blue square north/south is wishingful thinking. On the evidence from this tournament there is some way to go before it reaches that level. The goalkeeping continues to be atrocious and lets the womens game down, there is no excuse for keepers being lobbed standing on there goalline!!!
    maybe putting women basketballers in goal, with height and have a good track record of ball handling skills might do the trick!

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  • 43. At 3:06pm on 11 Sep 2009, jones_gone wrote:

    If getting completely outplayed and humiliated by a team whowere slow, technically imprecise and lacked any kind of physical presence (I only saw a handful of tackles throughout the entire game) makes for a 'successful' tournament, I'd hate to see them have an unseccesful one. For such a poor team to reach the final tells us all we need to know about the quality of the international women's game - about on a par with a pub team.

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  • 44. At 3:11pm on 11 Sep 2009, adam-o wrote:

    Good blog although I have to chip in with this Blue Square debate -

    My local team is Bognor Regis Town who last season got relegated from the Blue Square South. From what I have seen of the ladies England team, I beleive that if they were to meet, Bognor would win fairly comfortably.

    The Ladies keepers cannot catch, they struggle to save much and are dwarfed by the goals. The mens game (even at non league level) is much faster and physical. The two games are very different, and unless some changes are made to ladies football, I would still much prfer to watch a non league game to a top class ladies match.

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  • 45. At 3:17pm on 11 Sep 2009, nailbiterblood wrote:

    This was a very exciting and even game until the fourth german goal. The english women have improved dramatically when one compares them with the side that drew in a drab game against the Germans in the world cup. Ms. Oatley is right that they are on a par with the scandinavians but a good way behind the Germans, Americans and Brazilians. It would help alot if they could find a decent goalkeeper. Now, doesn´t that sound familiar ?

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  • 46. At 3:18pm on 11 Sep 2009, 2001calm wrote:

    No 'Hope' Powell should have made a substitution circa 60mins. The players were tired.....why wait until 80min to bring fresh legs onto the field. Pro badges don’t necessary make a good manager/coach.

    I watched the inaugural US WPS season which highlighted competitive and entertaining games.....better touches/passing and for the purpose of this forum excellent goalkeepers. The England players are lacking a competitive league, only Kelly Smith & Anita Asanti really showed the standard everyone in the WPS has been playing.

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  • 47. At 3:46pm on 11 Sep 2009, Snee38 wrote:

    i could have beat englands womens team on my own with an extra big goal for them to score in :) mabey that should be the future of the inter gender sport one man 11 women would be close games

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  • 48. At 4:03pm on 11 Sep 2009, bluethirdkit wrote:

    shame all these unreconstructed mysoginists are wrecking an interesting chat about how women can quickly improve the sport so that it becomes the spectical they deserve. Sure it isn't directly the effort or ability of the individual players.
    Show some respect gents and stop making our side of the argument look like neanderthal idiots. aka GROW UP! or at least get funny.

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  • 49. At 4:14pm on 11 Sep 2009, Dean Barrow wrote:

    The quickest way to improve the sport is to improve the keeping. I keep goal at a very low level (saturday aft veterans) and I would be embarrased by some of the goals that have been let in over the tournament. Perhaps they should reduce the goal size by 10% to improve keeping and stop teams shooting from 40-45 yards knowing there is a good chance they will score if the ball is on target

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  • 50. At 4:27pm on 11 Sep 2009, sirjawa wrote:

    Yes the women's team has improved but they will never win anything with that Keeper, the worst keeper I have ever seen called a professional. Also the pundits sheer denial of the truth won't help. The co commentator claimed their was nothing the keeper could have done when Germany scored from a corner when clearly she could have punched the ball clear and not flapped around in the 6 yard box. The studio pundits played the same game by claiming that "It's a fine line between England being great and Germany scoring 1, 2 or 3 goals" er I don't think so 3 goals is quite a big margin and even if it had been 3-2 to Germany that still wouldn't define England as 'great'.

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  • 51. At 4:28pm on 11 Sep 2009, bluethirdkit wrote:

    OK is there a female athlete out there who can identify why women's goalkeepers are poor - Jacqui, perhaps someone can blog on this.

    It is not just height. The England keeper reached that long shot, she just didn't have the strength/technique to keep it out.

    But also positioning, they seem much more reluctant to rush out and make themselves big than even the most lowly male keepers. Even the first German goal had a question mark about 'line-sitting' [a similar accusation levelled at the English defender who blocked the ball of the line and then stood in the same place waiting for a follow-up shot]

    We all know women can jump [athletics], run [most sports], catch [basketball/netball] and have strong wrists [volleyball]. Why can't they focus on some of this. Surely two great women's keepers in a fairly good squad like England would give them a huge advantage over possibly more skillful opposition.

    As someone wrote above, at 2-1 and 3-2 it was game on, so a class keeper may have made all the difference. And the German keeper was no better.

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  • 52. At 4:41pm on 11 Sep 2009, 2001calm wrote:

    There's no need to change goal size or any other element of the game. Just as not every out field player can play in goal, only competition and possibly financial incentives would improve standards of all positions.

    The ladies game has improved from the 80's and 90's, and there are further opportunities to improve. Real footballers appreciate skills regardless of the gender, only people whom have never played at a decent level would criticise.

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  • 53. At 5:14pm on 11 Sep 2009, KK10_ynwa wrote:

    Patronising female footballers and putting the ladies' game down is certainly not the way forward. Those of you who count yourselves as football fans should encourage the game at whatever level, whether the players are men or women.
    However, I am glad to see that most here are open minded with balanced views.
    It is a shame that I cannot say this of everyone.

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  • 54. At 5:23pm on 11 Sep 2009, freddawlanen wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 55. At 5:30pm on 11 Sep 2009, sirjawa wrote:

    Blimey thats a bit strong! The grass roots of mens football is lacking funding and England still doesn't have the FA academy of excellence that every other major country has. Money comes into male football mainly through tv and as people pay to watch top level male football why should the money go anywhere else?
    The thing is you can't pour money into girls football without the evidence to show there is a large enough number of girls waiting to play to make the expense valid.
    Sports can't be forced to succeed purely because they are ethically rich if people don't want to see it thus making it financially rich.
    I absolutely don't support sexism or being against women's' football just because it's women but to improve one must listen to criticism and improve. Empty compliments and patronising they did wells from the pundits help no one.

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  • 56. At 5:35pm on 11 Sep 2009, brisolbilly wrote:

    What is wrong with some people? Knocking the women who get paid a pittance compared to the men for doing something that the men haven't done for donkeys years. Why all this comparison with men when it doesn't happen in other sports? Do we tell female athletes that they shouldn't bother because they'll never be as quick or strong as the men? Do we deride their efforts? Should we just let the Williams sisters leave tennis after explaining that Roger and Andy will just be so better love?

    No, its different - get over it. If you truly beleive that girls and women shouldn't play then perhaps you would be kind enough to explain to my girls team at school why they can't play a sport that they love. Perhaps you could also bring out your other pre-war theories about women.

    I'm as disappointed as many others about the result (think Hope got it tactically wrong actually) but please stop slagging these footballers off. Think it says a lot when people like Roy Keane, David James and John Terry can say such positive things about application, technique and spirit in the women's game when the fans cannot.

    My U12's girls team have got training tomorrow. Not looking forward to telling them that they shouldn't bother because only boys should play.

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  • 57. At 5:49pm on 11 Sep 2009, ConnectorMan wrote:

    OK, big shock. The womens game is not as advanced as the mens game. How much longer has mens football been played at a high level than womens football? Give the game a chance to develop and while it will never be the same as the mens game as after all, men and women are built differently, its quality and appeal will improve with time. The only thing that will hold this development back is a lack of investment and old fashioned prejudice. I used to coach youth football and up to the age of about 13 girls football is more physical than boys because girls tend to develop more quickly. Its only after this sort of age that boys catch up/go past girls in size and strength and a lot more of the girls lose interest. It is therefore harder for a 14-16 year old girl to find a local club to play for than it is for a boy. Investment is needed from this grass-roots level to develop the game and with the much increased interest in football in general among females there is no reason why this country cannot then compete with the very best in the world as they are not far behind anyway.

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  • 58. At 6:03pm on 11 Sep 2009, ukctstrider wrote:

    I think both sides of this argument need to take a step back and look at the reality of the situation.

    The female game has a long way to go to catch up with the male game, but it has nowhere near the length of history and it's improving in huge leaps and bounds in a very short space of time. The momentum of improvement needs to be kept up and that means having a professional domestic league where the players are on living wages (which £16k is not) so they can do nothing but play football.

    Since when, incidentally, did football need to be entertaining for people to want to watch it? What happened to pride and passion? The mens team have been quite frankly woeful for as long as I can remember and the hype around them has been as far from the reality as can be imagined. We should be watching and supporting the womens team out of national pride at the very least.

    The positives aside... It can be quite painful at times watching the womens game. There is still a huge gulf of training to get them up to standard and I'm not convinced that Powell is capable of doing it by herself. I see this very much in the same light as bringing Capello in for the men. No Englishman is good enough so we have Pearce leaning from a top class manager. Powell needs to be a number two to a more established manager (probably a man) and gaining experience that way, instead of the current trial and error method.

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  • 59. At 6:29pm on 11 Sep 2009, Carl Showalter wrote:

    6. At 09:36am on 11 Sep 2009, unounos wrote:

    'When did England's men last reach a Euro final?'

    When did England's men last get smashed 6-2!?

    After leading 2-1 at half time. The women's team has outperformed the men's team in recent years, simply by reaching a final. why try and belittle this?

    Now that Spain have finally won something, I say that the England men's team are the biggest underachievers in world football today. in the last 20 years, we've failed to qualify for 2 major tournaments, got dumped out of the Euros by a terrible Romanian side, failed to even make an impact on ten man Brazil and lost so many games on penalties I've lost count. all this while employing a string of high profile managers on ridiculous money. our return for all that? nothing. call that achieving?

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  • 60. At 6:50pm on 11 Sep 2009, m1ke068 wrote:

    Football is a man's game, end of.

    So is ice hockey. Im from Canada, and our most popular sport is hockey. And that my friend, is more of a mans game than that diving little princesses game (football) will ever be. END OF
    Anyway..the Canadian womens team in hockey ( a mans game remember) is not ever subject to the petty, chauvanistic, small minded criticism I read on this blog. The country gets behind the team and the women's game is highly encouraged. Same as football in Canada. I was in Edmonton and witnessed a 45,000 crowd cheer on the women U 19's final a few years back (Canada V U.S). Now thats support. What are you actually covering up by saying football is only a mans game ? I bet your one of those little pncy divers in football are'nt you? Come on now. Its okay to dive, your a man rememeber

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  • 61. At 7:05pm on 11 Sep 2009, Accrington Stanley bought my parents off with fast food vouchers wrote:

    Without saying anything about the quality, the teams were horribly mismatched. Is there much point when one team wins everything because everybody else is so much worse?

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  • 62. At 8:00pm on 11 Sep 2009, WorstBlogEver wrote:

    I remember seeing Seaman being beaten from a even more improbable shot in the 02 WC match agianst Brazil. As a (semi pro) Rachel Brown is not the best goalkeeper in the womens game, so why judge all female goalies by her standards? I thought Germany showed good levels of TECHNIQUE in there finnishing.

    I have seen far to many top/bottom level male games with such ridiculous levels of agression, in which all kinds of anoying stuff bogs the game down in more media related nonsense that time and time agian deflects from the actul play in the game. So to hear guys suggest that women games have NO body contact is ridiculus, the girls just dont go in to break legs and intimidate opposing players.

    There seems no point arguing over the media/FA's support for the female game, Englands ladies have done well in spite of them not because of them. Dont be confused by the reputaion the England badge gives these women, as they dont represent the same blind history the men have. England ladies would be considered a emerging force, whilst the German women are just like there men, a leading power in the game.

    And yes in a male football obsesed country blided by the ONE home soil 66 winning side, beating a nation like Croatia formed only maybe 12 years ago, having porformed pretty crap in the last tournament they knocked england out in, is sign yet agian we just dont have a realist veiw when it comes to our mens national game. Are Croatia going to win ANYTHING soon? and yet that result is supposed to signal Englands intent to the world. What the girls have done in such a short space of time is great and in the long run will lead to more success, inspite of the haters.

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  • 63. At 10:10pm on 11 Sep 2009, VirginianRed wrote:

    First of all, I'm a man who in general does not enjoy watching female team sports. However, I am enough of a patriot to get behind and cheer any team in any sport male or female if they put on an England shirt/skirt.

    This past week or two, our English women did a great job getting to the Euro final and should be the pride of England right now. I for one am proud of them. Forget how many goals were scored, they played their hearts out and lets face it, the men's team went for decades without beating the Hun (let not talk about penalties). To lose to the Germans is a national trait for us English - which the men are currently in the process of shaking off.

    Given that the England women's team have, no domestic league to talk of; almost zero media exposure; very little capital investment, very little national support; until recently had nothing to play for other than their love of the game. Yet, in the relatively short amount of years they have been sanctioned by the FA and therefore been in existence, they have raised the level of their game and progressed quickly to the point where they did well in the world cup, and now made it to the Euro finals. Fantastic accomplishment really. Once some or all of these short comings have been addressed, we will start seeing the England women's team beating the Germans and winning major tournaments.

    Now, will that make the women's team comparable to the men in strength, pace, physicality, stamina, striking the ball, hard tackling, power heading, long shots on goal? No, obviously not, the women's game is not as physical as the men's game - although, proportionally it is every bit as physical.The two games are different but, once that is accepted and an open mind is applied, the women's game can be as entertaining and compelling as the men's, and has a rightful place in English sports.

    Does all this mean I would go out and watch a women's rugby game this weekend? Well, that's just say "Rome wasn't built in a day". However, if the England women's team were playing a game within a 100 miles of me on Saturday, I would be out there shouting them on.

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  • 64. At 10:12pm on 11 Sep 2009, joe_banana wrote:

    hahahaha Women playing a man's sport. How cute.

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  • 65. At 03:54am on 12 Sep 2009, freddawlanen wrote:

    Shock horror, I have a go at all the sexist scum commenting and I'm the one who has my comment removed.

    BRAVO BBC it's so good to see this institution is still in the dark ages.

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  • 66. At 05:13am on 12 Sep 2009, iangidigasu wrote:

    Look at Jacqui, I mean Oatley. I think she's very very sexy. What do you think?

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  • 67. At 12:34pm on 12 Sep 2009, jeremee wrote:

    Well Done Girls..........

    But sadly once again English people find it very difficut to handle failure.....whats that noise about reducing the goal post all about. Is that not the same goal post that the Germans played with............learn from the mistakes of today and work on changing the tactics for tomorrow........blaming your opponent, referee or the texture of the pitch just sucks.......the CHEESE has moved.....look for a new one!!!!!!

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  • 68. At 7:43pm on 12 Sep 2009, The-casual-bystander wrote:

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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  • 69. At 9:25pm on 12 Sep 2009, helgerrard wrote:

    I am English and male, live in Finland and teach Girls football (used to play in the 4th division in England). I also went to most of the games and this was a great competition and very high level of football quality.

    England played really well and some players came to life during the competition (Carey was great). I was reeeaally disappointed in the BBC.com coverage you should be ashamed.

    I was at the final me 20 other blocks and thousands of Germans. Germany had a master class in football and unfortunately England made a couple of mistakes which cost them losing the ball in midfield and they were tired. All in all the girls did a great job and agree I don't understand why you did not show all the games you missed a chance to show case a different type of game more skill less dives and more original football.

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  • 70. At 11:22pm on 12 Sep 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    I am living in the states and their is an abundance of womens footy on telly. IT IS AWFUL !!!!!!!!! Yes speed and power and physicality are lacking but for me the main problem is the lack of finesse in their first touch and the passing is woeful. Initially I was surprise at how bad it was becuase the US womens game is apparently the measuring stick, I can only imagine how bad UK womens is if they are playing catch-up.

    As far as the first touch/passing, I don't understand why it is so bad. I have played and watched many amateur and youth games as well as lower level English and Scottish games and they would wipe the floor with these womens teams. It can't be lack of training or interest from media because from what I understand top level US women players are getting better coaching than Stenhousmuir, Kettering Town and East Fife players yet those players have far more accurate passing and superior touches (as well as the obvious physical advantages and increased aggressiveness/contact) I would watch Blue Square/Scottish 3rd division any day rather than attend a top level womens game.

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  • 71. At 01:42am on 13 Sep 2009, Rob Saunders wrote:

    I know its difficult to understand, but men and women are different.

    Men do not play women at tennis. Male and female athletes do not race each other, The same nonsense being written about the football team would arise with club male players beating female Grand Slam tennis players, and male club athletes beating world famous female athletes.

    Judge the womens team against all the other womens teams, any comparison with men is totally stupid

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  • 72. At 03:06am on 13 Sep 2009, Gunnerforlife2008 wrote:

    england were lucky to even get to the final, we only just scraped past a poor holland side who hardly threatened us one bit.

    in the final versus germany, the defensive and goalkeeping ability from the girls against that german side was abysmal at best. few of the 6 goals were avoidable or stopable, the space they allowed them and the poor vision and first touches of a couple of girls let us down. as for the number 7, carney is it, why does she persist on running the balls into dead ends or kicking it further ahead thinking she has pace when she hasnt.

    well done to them for sticking it out and getting to the final but shudnt be too hard should it as at national level the only 2 other genuinely quality sides are not european ie usa and brazil. so really england should be at least 2nd best at european level considering the experience of half the squad. again well done on getting to the final but in it they wree shocking and tbh a massive let down. the effort, ability, control and attitude of closing down just wasnt there one bit.

    well done germany, deserved winners. and no that isnt anti english thats just been honest from the games i saw which happens to be true but no one else will dare say it

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  • 73. At 03:08am on 13 Sep 2009, Gunnerforlife2008 wrote:

    oh and i agree with one comment about there been a lack of physical contact. saw again carney got a tap on the foot went down, and got up crying her eyes out.

    love the english club game in womens and mens but the national level of the womens england team isnt what it could be and no where near it

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  • 74. At 03:13am on 13 Sep 2009, Gunnerforlife2008 wrote:

    hahah women get on with been fouled eh? tell that to the young english women who got up crying after been tapped on the foot by accident. womens sport for me is just as good as mens as its all apart of our country but would prefer watch and support the england cricket team as they have more competition

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  • 75. At 3:13pm on 14 Sep 2009, jones_gone wrote:

    "As far as the first touch/passing, I don't understand why it is so bad"

    lack of spacial awareness

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  • 76. At 11:16pm on 15 Sep 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    wales-wails

    "As far as the first touch/passing, I don't understand why it is so bad"

    lack of spacial awareness

    I agree mate but isn't that a coaching issue, and a relatively basic one at that?

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  • 77. At 11:26pm on 15 Sep 2009, Lincoln Hawk-s wrote:

    #71 Roysses

    The comparisons are going to be made. Men's football is the most popular sport in the world by a country mile and football fans will compare it (fairly or otherwise) against any and all other sports, male or female, especially a weaker version of it.
    Watching women play football is like seeing a dog walk on it's hind legs, it's surprisong to see it done at all never mind done well.

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