On Tuesday evening, Great Britain’s women football team pulled off a shock by beating the Brazilian woman 1-0 at a busy Wembley stadium. Stephanie Houghton scored two seconds into the game, and that was more than enough for team GB to secure victory and top the group. Kelly Smith had the chance to double the lead from the spot in the second half but the Brazilian keeper saved her penalty. Although it was a group match and both teams were already through, the win was not only important because of the draw for the next round, but also for woman’s football in Britain.
One of the biggest attendances for a women’s match in Britain came in 2007 when Arsenal women defeated Leeds in the Women’s F.a cup final at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground. That day 24,582 came to watch the final. In last night’s match between the GB Ladies and the Brazilian women, there were 70,584 people packed in Wembley. Whether it is because of the Olympic spirit, a passion for women’s football or the attraction of seeing the Brazilian player Marta, who has won the FIFA world player of the year five times, there is no doubt that the match last night could be a stepping stone for woman’s football.
Although the woman’s game does not get even half the coverage that the men’s game get there is no lack of excitement or intensity. This was seen in last night’s match with the GB woman keeping the Brazilian team at bay. Although the skill level is questionably lower than the men’s game the GB woman showed last night that they can play slick football and with some quality build up play that lead to chances for the GB woman to double their lead. With GB getting an early lead, it meant that the crowd could get involved with chants of Team GB, and these were heard when the game went into a lull.
This is encouraging signs for women’s football, as most of the crowd at Wembley would have enjoyed their experience, meaning they may be interested in learning about the Woman’s premier league in England thus boosting attendances. With this being the only Olympics for a long time where GB will participate, there is a sense of pressure that the GB women are dealing with. With Canada on Friday at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry in the quarter- finals, GB will be made favourites to go through to the semi-finals, which will create a great opportunity of a medal.
The Women’s super league is already half way through its season with the well-known Arsenal team racing away with the league. However with also the Premier division, north division and south division about to start, there is matches that will be starting all around the country and a cheap prices as well there is no reason why crowds at women’s matches can not increase.