What a thrill to have a first-time champion. Spain had to battle through a group that included perennial hot pick Japan, then beat past finalists Netherlands and Sweden and outduel England 1-0 for the Cup win. I’m so sad for the Lionesses, but excited to have more power players in the game. And I’m so, so sad for the Matildas. They played out of their skins, as did Sweden in a VERY chippy bronze medal game. And France in that EPIC shootout with Australia. And Colombia! Nigeria! Everyone! What a delight this tournament was.
But, it wasn’t without tragedy and a little drama. Spain’s captain Olga Carmona, who scored the winning goal and dedicated it to her best friend’s late mother, found out after the match that her own father had passed away. Absolutely tragic. Second, what in the EVER LIVING FUCK was with the Spanish Federation president planting an unwelcome kiss on Jennifer Hermoso? He also grabbed his crotch to celebrate the victory, which… feels very frat boy of him. Third, Luzy Bronze of England appeared to decline shaking the hand of FIFA president Gianni Infantino after he said some stuff that sounded pretty sexist. Finally, the Spanish women are embroiled in a fight with their own soccer federation over working conditions and the coach’s behavior — which notably, the players seemed to celebrate separately from him when possible. Several of the players on the team were part of the protest or spoke out in support of it, and when a tournament like the World freaking Cup only comes along every four years, the internal wrestling match between playing for your country and hating your coach and your federation and wanting to support a walkout… I don’t envy any of the players that battle and that decision, and I hope everything they gave on the pitch results in the rewards they deserve. And Lionesses, and Matildas, and everyone else… women’s soccer isn’t the USA’s game anymore, and that’s the way it should be. That’s how women and girls around the world win for a long, long time. Bring on the Olympics.