Whew, we can all take a deep breath. The suspense of the Women’s World Cup in Germany is over and although our country cannot celebrate a finals victory, we can bask in the glory of what was one of the greatest tournaments in any sport, of all time. The game got an 8.6 rating on ESPN, that is the highest rating for any World Cup game, men or women’s, in history. To put that into perspective, last year’s World Series between the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants got an overnight rating of 8.4. Wow. Even more spectacular, the World Cup final between theUS and Japan broke the Twitter record for tweets-per-second (7,196/sec). Who would ever believe all this popularity for women’s sport? It truly was total and utter enchantment.
There were so many compelling story lines. Japan playing their beautiful style of soccer to inspire its entire suffering nation after the tsunami disaster, Brazil and their flair, creativity, and unfortunate antics against the United States (how do you go off on a stretcher and then immediately get off and start running?), France and their intricate passes and superior skill, and of course, the United States and their never-say-die attitude, heroics of Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, and the rest of the bunch.
This is why we watch sports. To not only see the best players in the world compete on the grandest of stages, but to witness the blood, sweat, and tears that come with it. In order to get a full 180 degree view of the magnitude of an event like this, I interviewed Carmelina Moscato, a midfielder for the Canadian National Team. Canada (the host of the 2015 Women’s World Cup) was one of the most anticipated teams to come into the World Cup only to lose all three of their round-robin games. I wanted to get a sense of how it felt to have so much hype going in and so much disappointment going out.
Canada was the opening game against the home country of Germany, what was the atmosphere like in the 75,000 seat sold-out stadium?
The stadiums in Germany were one of the most impressive parts of this prestigious and professionally run tournament. The historic Olympiadstadium in Berlin was no different. Walking into a stadium so rich in story and culture was an absolute honor. The crowd at the opener was perfect, engaged and enthusiastic. I don’t believe it could have been a more inspirational or motivational set up.
Having spent months in a residency camp in Rome prior to the World Cup, do you think that affected the performance of the team?
I am a big believer that for anyone or anything to succeed you need a balanced approach. Looking back, and having the luxury of hindsight, I would say that I completely understand why we would take the residency approach; but it may not have benefitted us fully. For starters, it must be said that as an up and coming soccer nation, we have a long way to go to be at the top. Therefore the pure hours that residency provided us needed to be inputted. Taking a couple things into consideration however, notably that Rome is not our home or our sense of comfort, more mental breaks would have been useful. Ways for us to continue training, but also have some freedoms you naturally do not have in camp. Some people may have even flown home with more breaks to recharge their batteries…but what do I know? haha.
Were you impressed with the overall level of play? What countries surprised you?
I was extremely impressed at the increased level of technical and tactical improvements made by essentially every country at the tournament. Traditionally weaker nations stepped to the table and made every game interesting. There weren’t as many, if any, sure wins which makes the game more exciting, purer. This is what the game is about, closing these gaps between nations so that the game is played to the highest standard. The countries that surprised me the most were Nigeria, Australia and Equatorial Guinea!
Having underperformed as a country, what type of response are you getting from your fans back home?
Our response has been mixed to be honest. You have the people that will always believe in us as players and as a team, and they understand we have a lot left in us for the future. Then you have people that have jumped on the bandwagon and this result only confirmed any lack of belief they had in the first place. I think the final type of response is the “no response” because a lot of people don’t know what to say!
The final of the WWC got amazing ratings, what did you think of the Japanese victory?
Japan’s victory was a true testament to perseverance and the ability of a nation to come together to accomplish powerful things. Although I will always cheer for a North American neighbor if it’s not us in a match, I was happy to see the “underdog” win in a fairly played, well played match of soccer. It was a final you hope for, with all the twists and turns and players playing with all their heart. What that win did for the mourning country of Japan is just too powerful to put into words. The world should be proud of that Japanese team.