Lionesses can extend football fever in England

By Kathryn Batte

If you want to pinpoint the moment Women’s Football really took off in this country then 2005 is a good starting point. England hosted the Women’s European Championships for the first time and back then only two groups of four teams competed in the tournament, which Germany won for the fourth time in a row. England qualified automatically as hosts but finished bottom of their group, winning just one game. The final was played at Blackburn’s Ewood Park and attracted a crowd of 21,100 people, a record for a woman’s match in Europe. Had England made the final that figure would probably have been higher with over 29,000 spectators watching the hosts beat Finland 3-2 at the City of Manchester Stadium in the first game of the tournament.

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Ballon d’Or: treasured more in South America than Europe?

By Andrew Misra

“Gooooooooooaaaaaallllll”. Not just the introduction to Alan Partridge’s 1994 World Cup Countdown, but a shortened version of a noise regularly heard on South American television, radio and inside bars. Colombian commentator Javier Fernandez Franco, tunefully nicknamed the “Goal Singer”, unleashed a 37-second outcry of this after Carlos Bacca scored in the 2016 Copa America third-place playoff. Bacca’s effort wasn’t extraordinary either, rather it was scruffily turned in, bouncing over the line.

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