Scoring an equaliser

Scoring an equaliser

Finally, women can take part in international football and get the credit, attention and respect that they deserve

Friday, 25 August 2023, 20:22

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Like many households on the Costa del Sol, mine is a Spanish-English one, so when the two countries come face to face in a big sporting competition the atmosphere is always a little tense. However, never in my 14 years in Spain has such a monumental occasion come about: the two countries head-to-head in a World Cup final! In fact a quick Google search reveals that the closest the two countries have been to a big game was in the 1996 Euro quarter finals.

But that was men's football. What made last Sunday's match so monumental was the fact that it was the women's World Cup,

This time I decided that the only way around it was to support both teams and have a 'may the best team win' attitude. Very sporting (although when it came down to it, it turned out that I was a little bit more English than Spanish).

It's not the winning but the taking part that counts, as the saying goes and never has a truer word been spoken. Finally, women can take part in international football and get the credit, attention and respect that they deserve.

When I was at school the boys played football and the girls played netball. My brother had a season ticket for Ipswich Town Football Club as a birthday present for many years, while my cousin and I were taken into Ipswich town to go shopping for our birthday presents. We didn't complain of course and still remember fondly our trips into town on the bus to choose a new outfit from popular girls' clothes shops of the time like Chelsea Girl or Tammy Girl.

We did get to go to football matches, when either my brother, my grandfather, or one of the fellow supporters they sat near, couldn't go. Supporting the lads was one thing and in the '90s you'd probably be called a 'Ladette': a charming term for young women who were considered to be interested in boys' stuff like football, drinking pints and wearing football shirts and the likes. Daring to dream that girls could play professionally too was a bit like the idea of being able to see the person you were talking to on the phone – an impossible concept back in the 1990s.

A close family friend of ours played for Ipswich Town Ladies (yes, Ladies) but they were never going to make the big time, not back then.

Now it's perfectly normal to be able to see the person you're talking to via WhatsApp, Skype, or the myriad of video conferencing apps. More advancements mean that my 10-year-old niece plays for a girls' football team and nobody bats an eyelid.

She and my nephews get as excited - if not more because frankly the England women's team is far more exciting than the men's at the moment - about the women's games as they do for the men's. "They don't see a difference. It's all the World Cup to them" their parents say.

Spain may have won the World Cup, but all the teams involved in the tournament have scored a historic equaliser for women everywhere.

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