The 2003 Women's World Cup Final
A new technical dawn and whether domestic leagues are impacting international success
If the 1999 World Cup was supposed to be a new dawn for women’s football, the 2003 edition suggested that it was more of a false one. The tournament was moved from China to the US at short notice after a SARS outbreak and the country was understandably less prepared. The dates clashed with the men’s sports calendar and games were forced to take place as double headers, with the grounds used considerably less iconic than the ones in 1999.
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Despite this, the 2003 World Cup also marked a real step forward in the development of technical football within the women’s game. In the introduction to Inverting the Pyramid, Jonathan Wilson writes that “the history of tactics, it seems, is the history of two interlinked tensions: aesthetics versus results on the one side and technique versus physique on the other.”1 If physique had won out in the 1990s, the dawn of the 2000s saw technique take the crown.
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