Why Aren’t Top 3 In Women’s World Cup Final? Maybe ‘Convergence’

The Women's World Cup has reached its final stages, and the tournament has been full of surprises. The United States, the reigning champions, were eliminated in the round of 16 by Sweden, unable to find their scoring form. Germany, the second-ranked team, also failed to progress beyond the group stage. Even Sweden ranked third in the world, was unable to secure a spot in the final after a late goal from Spain's Olga Carmona in the semifinals.

So, what led to these unexpected results? While there are specific sports-related explanations, such as the absence of key players like Mallory Swanson for the United States, there may be a broader explanation that suggests a more competitive landscape in women's soccer in the coming years.

According to Stefan Szymanski, a sports management expert and author of "Soccernomics," the concept of convergence applies to women's soccer as it does to the men's game. Convergence suggests that over time, the gap between countries with varying levels of economic development and soccer infrastructure will narrow. Less productive countries will grow faster by adopting successful strategies from more advanced nations. This phenomenon has been observed in men's soccer, where a group of nations has a realistic chance of winning the World Cup, and the gap between winners and non-winners is not massive.

While there is less data available for women's soccer, due to historical bans on the sport in many countries, Szymanski believes there is a shift in power from the United States to Europe. Richer countries with greater rights for women are becoming more competitive, while poorer nations with fewer rights for women still face challenges. This shift may help drive positive change in women's soccer globally.

As an observer of the Women's World Cup in New Zealand, it is evident that the boost American women received from Title IX, which ensured equal opportunities in college sports, is now being matched by Europe's growing focus on women's soccer. This increased competition is a positive development, offering the opportunity to witness and report on the best level of competition possible.

As an American and a sports fan, it is not disheartening to see the end of U.S. dominance. Instead, it is exciting to see other nations becoming stronger and providing tougher competition. True competitors know that the satisfaction of victory is even greater when achieved against formidable opponents at their best.  

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post