Germany, the winners of the last two Women’s World Cups, is hosting this year competition and is the favorite to win it again. It’s unbeatable when playing at home and has a strong squad that features one of the best players in the history of the WWC and the cup’s top scorer, Birgit Prinz.
If Germany wins, it would no doubt be a great achievement and will cement Germany as the best WWC team ever. But is Germany the dominant team of the last decade? The answer is a resounding “No.”
There is a difference between being a dominant in the world cup and overall domination. Most of the confusion comes from looking at the Women WC with the lenses of the Men WC, which most pundits seem to do these days.
In the men’s game, the World Cup is the top world-wide competition and no other competition comes close to it, even the Olympics. In the women’s game, the two competitions are equal in significance.
Throughout history, FIFA tried hard to keep its Men WC status, as the most prestigious tournament, protected from competition.
Therefore, the men Olympics soccer tournaments played among amateurs at the beginning, and later, when they included professionals, they introduced the U-23 age limit with three overage wild cards.
But in the women Olympics soccer, and since the inception in 1996, full national teams participated without any restriction. It means that the same teams that play in the WWC are eligible to play in the following year’s Olympics.
Germany with the same squad that won the WWC twice in 2003 and 2007, failed to add the Olympic gold medal, the following year, on both occasions. In both of these tournaments (2004 and 2008), the gold medal went to the USA.
As a matter of fact, Germany has never won an Olympic gold medal. They had never played in the final game either. They only managed to win the bronze medal on three occasions (2000, 2004 and 2008); while the USA reached the title game every time and won it three times and lost once to Norway in 2000.
When it comes to head to head results, Germany and the USA met 4 times in these tournaments. Germany only won once 3-0 in the 2003 semifinals. In the 2004 Olympics semifinals, the USA won 2-1 to add to its two previous wins over Germany in 1991 (5-2) and 1999 (3-2) WWCs.
Also, the USA beat Germany in the last three meetings between the two sides. In two friendlies, they won 1-0 in Augsburg, Germany on 11/29/2009 and 4-0 in Cleveland, Ohio on 5/22/2010. And in the Algarve Cup final in Portugal on 3/3/2010, the US beat Germany 3-2.
The overall record for the US against Germany is 19-4-4 and since 2000, the record is 9-1-3. The only win by Germany in the last decade was in that 2003 semifinal game.
Another win came on PKs after drawing 0-0 in the Algarve Cup final in 2006. The US is the only country in the world that has a winning record against the Germans.
On the FIFA ranking, since the introduction in the summer of 2003, the two teams always shared the top two ranks. Germany was ranked first after winning the WWC 2003 and WWC 2007 but since March 2008, the USA has been the top ranked team.
The WWC will start on Sunday and, as a host, Germany is the heavy favorite to win its third title in a row. They will be pronounced as the best WWC team ever, but by no means is it the most dominant team of the past decade.
This title still belongs to the American women.
Or should we call it co-dominance?
The list of the title winners in Women soccer
1991: USA (WWC)
1995: Norway (WWC)
1996: USA (Olympics)
1999: USA (WWC)
2000: Norway (Olympics)
2003: Germany (WWC)
2004: USA (Olympics)
2007: Germany (WWC)
2008: USA (Olympics)
5 titles: USA
2 titles each; Germany and Norway
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