The first Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Women’s World Cup occurred in November 1991, sixty-one years after the men’s first World Cup.
It was held in China with matches taking place in Guangzhou, Foshan, Jiangmen, and Zhongshan.
During the inaugural tournament there were only 12 teams involved – these were Nigeria, China PR, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Brazil, New Zealand, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the USA. The USA defeated Norway in the final match, with Sweden coming in third place.
The following FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1995 was also held in China and involved the same 12 teams. However, the teams keep on expanding going from 16 teams in 1999 upto 24 teams in 2015 and 2019.
The 1999 and 2003 Women’s World Cups were both held in the United States. Although initially in 2003 China were to hold the event, the tournament had to be relocated to the USA due to an outbreak of SARS.
As compensation, FIFA awarded China its automatic qualification as they should have been the host nation, and they were also automatically chosen to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007.
Germany hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011, followed by Canada in 2015 and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup took place in France.
The 2023 tournament will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The matches will be played over nine host cities across the country and these include Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpelier, Nice, Paris, Reims, Rennes, Valenciennes.
The opening match of 2019 will take place on Friday 7 June at the Parc des Princes, Paris, while the honour of hosting the semi-finals and final will be played at the Stade de Lyon, Lyon.
During the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, two players made a record of appearing in six World Cups, something that has not been achieved by either female or male players.
One is a Brazilian footballer known as Formiga. She was born Miraildes Maciel Mota on 3 March 1978. She is a Brazilian midfielder and currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain. She holds many international records as a member of Brazil women’s national football team.
She is the only player who has been present in all Olympic Games Women’s Football tournaments since their first inclusion in the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Homare Sawa of Japan was born on 6th September 1978 in Fuchū, Tokyo and she is the other player who has played in all six World Cup tournaments. At the tender age of 15, Sawa made her Japanese international debut. She scored four goals during her first match against the Philippines on 6th December 1993.
She captained the national team of Japan that won gold during the 2011 World Cup and led them to a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. In 2012, Homare was named 2011 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
Christie Rampone, was born 24th June 1975 and is an American defender who at the age 40 years old became the oldest player in Women’s World Cup history back in the 2015 tournament. She’s the former captain of the United States women’s national football team.
Rampone is a 3-time Olympic gold medallist, and also a 2-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion. She has played in five FIFA Women’s World Cup finals and four Olympics women’s football tournaments.
The United States is the only country to win the competition three times in 1991, 1999, 2015. In 2011, Japan was the first Asian team to win a FIFA World Cup.
In 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup was played on artificial turf for the first time and also featured the youngest coach in World Cup history. Her name was Vanessa Arauz, from Ecuador, and she was only 26 years old. She is still the current head coach for Ecuador’s women’s national football team.
Michelle Akers of the USA became the player who scored the most goals during one game. She scored 5 goals in a game between the USA and Taiwan in 1991.
In 2015, Carli Lloyd from the USA national team was the first woman to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.
The fastest goal in Women’s World Cup history took place during a match between Sweden and Japan in 1991. Lena Videkull, from Sweden, opened the scoring with a goal just 30 seconds into the game.
Taiwan, Thailand and Equatorial Guinea are three countries that have qualified to play in the FIFA women’s World Cup, which is something the men’s teams have never done.
In 1999 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, the FIFA Women’s World Cup final had the most spectators in attendance, there were 90,185 fans at the match between the USA and China. China lost 5-4 on penalties to the USA.
During the 2015 Women’s World Cup tournament in Canada there were 764 million viewers. The USA stated that there were 23 million viewers watching the final between the United States and Japan in the final, which is the most-watched football match in USA’s history.
The Official Women’s World Cup trophy includes a plate at the base bearing the engraved year and name of each FIFA Women’s World Cup champion.
Hand-crafted by Milanese specialists Sawaya & Moroni, designed by William Sawaya for the 1999 tournament.
The trophy features a spiral band, which has a football enclosed at the top. The trophy symbolises the athleticism, dynamism and elegance of women’s international football.
The Official Trophy is about 18 inches tall and made of sterling silver clad in 23-karat yellow and white gold. In 2015, it was estimated to be worth approximately $30,000.
This is in stark contrast to the men’s World Cup trophy which is fabricated in 18-karat gold and has an estimated value of $150,000.
However, every winner of the Women’s Champions, has a new trophy constructed for them to take home, while there is only one original men’s trophy.
The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup was won by reigning champions the United States, whom beat the Netherlands 2-0 at Lyon in the Final.
The USA team coach, Jill Ellis, became the first manager to win two Women’s World Cup titles, after guiding the side to victory in 2015 and 2019.
Feature Image FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 Winner’s USA by Getty