of fans share their passion for the Women’s World Cup
Sports

of fans share their passion for the Women’s World Cup

Getting up at 3am to watch a women’s World Cup match. Agnès didn’t hesitate for a second to cut the night short to watch her favorite team, the USA, play. This 54-year-old woman does not miss a meeting with this C

WC 2023 in Australia and New Zealand. Like her, more and more French people follow the competition, despite their schedules, at night or early in the morning. Supporters who regret the lack of enthusiasm around this World Cup.

“I watch all the matches of all the teams”

Because of the time difference, some fans like Agnès set their alarm clocks to watch certain matches from France. “I watch all the matches of all the teams”, she explains. This Lyonnaise “diligent” does not play football but is a regular at the Lyon stadium, often to watch men’s matches but also women’s matches. Her passion for the Women’s World Cup came in 2019 with the last edition of the competition, which took place in France. Since then, she has followed each of the 32 teams, and especially Les Bleues. “The level is rising, it is more and more pleasant to watch the matches”, she analysed. Also a way to “support women’s sports” according to her. “We have the right to play football, and watching these matches is also saying ‘women can do all sports’adds Magali, another fan of this World Cup.

“The game is more fluid, there is more cohesion between the teams”

Like her, it is above all for the game that Fatine, 23, French-Moroccan graduate of Sciences Po, does not miss almost a game in this World Cup. When she can’t watch one, she watches the match replayed on the FIFA website. Fatine prefers women’s football to men’s football. “The game is more fluid, there is more cohesion between the teams, less conflict to contest, for example, the referee’s decisions or simulate injuries for example, and it makes something more interesting to watch than men’s footballaccording to her.

A technique and a game that also appeals a lot to Isabelle Gibassier, former player for the France team from 1981 to 1983, and always passionate. She also gets up at night to watch absolutely every game in this WC, without exception. “It must be a treat for the referees because it’s not all the mistakes you see in men’s football.” she says.

“They have niaque”

This is the first World Cup that Fatine is so passionate about. “There are many twists and turns in this World Cup”, rejoices Fatine, referring in particular to the elimination of “star” teams such as the USA, Germany or even Brazil. Of “surprise” which pleases the fans and are also good signals for women’s football according to Isabelle Gibassier: “These surprises do not mean that the “big nations” in women’s football are less good. It means that the other nations are developing and that is a very beautiful thing. It means that women’s football is moving forward”according to her. “We see that there is a lot of desire in the selections. Including in those who have very little funds like Jamaica for example. They have niaque”excited Magali, 54.

According to this former soccer pro, the France team is already doing a very good performance in this World Cup. “The more they advance in this competition, the more they make extraordinary matches”assures Isabelle Gibassier. “It’s a good dynamic”rejoices Fatine, who is trying to convince her friends and family to watch the matches with her.

Isabelle Gibassier, a former player in the France team from 1981 to 1983, is passionate about the Women's World Cup.
Isabelle Gibassier, a former player in the France team from 1981 to 1983, is passionate about the Women’s World Cup.

– Isabelle Gibassier

“There is not enough enthusiasm”

All the supporters of this World Cup lament the lack of enthusiasm in France about the competition. “I tried to buy a France team shirt, in a sports shop of the official sponsor of the FA, and they didn’t have any more. They told me they had sold everything and they wouldn’t recommend it.”says Isabelle Gibassier blowing, “there is not enough enthusiasm, it makes me sad”. Ditto when she wanted to buy the thumbnails of the Panini album with the players of this Mondial, “I only found them in one store, whereas for the Men’s World Cup you can find them everywhere”she regrets before concluding: “There is still work to be done!”

The same observation when Fatine talks about this competition around her. “At work, only one other person watches the games. And again, only those from the France team. Otherwise, I don’t hear about it at all.”she complains. “When I compare with the men’s World Cup: when we went to the round of 16, there was already noise everywhere in the streets”, Fatina said. She regrets the few advertisements on TV or in the media.

“If we are world champions, many doors will open”

Agnès tries to promote the Women’s World Cup on social networks dedicated to soccer fans. “Football influencers are just starting to talk a bit about the Women’s World Cup”, the supporter is surprised. A lack of interest that more generally concerns all women’s football in France according to her: “When you watch the matches in the women’s championships in the UK or the USA, everything is sold out. We’re still a long way off.”she says.

So how to interest all French people in women’s football? For Isabelle Gibassier no doubt: “If we are world champions, many doors will open and then it will also attract young girls who don’t dare to take the step. I think that can only make things move forward.”, she hopes. In the meantime, she, like all the fans, will wake up on Saturday morning to be at 9 o’clock, coffee in hand, ahead of the game between France and Australia.

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