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Supporters have continued to show their support for women’s football as the momentum established by the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ continues to build. An impressive new record crowd figure was set in England, while fans have continued to turn out en masse in the USA. FIFA.com looks at the action on and off the field in both countries, plus the latest from Norway, Sweden and Finland.
The landmarks continue to tumble for English women’s football, with the latest being a record club attendance of 30,710 at Wembley Stadium for the FA Women’s Cup Final – the first to be played at the famous London venue. There was a first for Chelsea too as they scooped the club’s inaugural silverware with a 1-0 defeat of Notts County on Saturday. A lone first-half strike from Korea Republic star Ji Soyun, following an assist from player of the match Eniola Aluko, proved enough to separate the sides.
Chelsea, who saw off the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City during their cup run, have risen up the pecking order in recent years and currently sit one point off the pace on the league ladder. “I don’t have to be ferried around in the golf cart as a manager without a trophy anymore,” said manager Emma Hayes in reference to the success enjoyed by club counterpart Jose Mourinho in recent years. “I can walk with pride from corridor to corridor. Chelsea is about winning, and now I can join that illustrious crew at the players’ dinner next year and not feel like a spare part.”
USA: Been there, Dunn that
It was a case of recent history repeating in USA’s NWSL over the weekend with strong attendance figures combined with yet more goals for one of the league’s form players. Washington Spirit strengthened their hold on third with a 3-1 win over the visiting Houston Dash. And while Crystal Dunn nabbed the Spirit’s first-ever league hat-trick to stretch her lead as the NWSL’s leading scorer, the match was also notable for Dash midfielder Carli Lloyd failing to get on the scoresheet for the first time since USA’s group matches at Canada 2015.
Meanwhile, Seattle Reign stretched their lead at the summit on the back of a 2-1 win at Boston Breakers in front of a sell-out crowd. There was also a full house at Chicago Red Stars where the locals saw Christen Press score twice, only for the visiting Kansas City to twice draw level. A goal from Colombia star Lady Andrade on her NWSL starting debut, and a last minute winner from Elizabeth Eddy, ensured Western New York Flash revived their finals’ hopes with a 2-1 victory at Sky Blue FC.
Top three: Seattle Reign (30 points), Chicago Red Stars (27), Washington Spirit (24)
Northern Europe: Leaders seek to strengthen further
There was little change at the top in league action across the Nordic nations over the weekend. In Norway, LSK Kvinner maintained their healthy eight-point advantage at the top. The champions won 3-1 at Kolbotn, while second-placed Avaldsnes had to make do with a far tougher 1-0 triumph at Valerenga. In Sweden, Rosengard returned to form following a rare three-match winless run with a comfortable 4-0 win over struggling AIK. Rosengard’s star Swiss forward Ramona Bachmann scored twice to move clear of Pitea’s Pauline Hammarlund as the league’s top scorer. Eskilstuna now sit a point off the pace after they drew 1-1 at Vittsjo. Finally, in Finland, leaders PK-35 Vantaa are well placed to claim a fifth title in six years after extending their cushion at the summit to nine points with a 3-0 win over Ilves Tampere.