The FIFA Women’s World Cup is recognized as the most important International competition in women’s football and is played amongst women’s national football teams of the member states of FIFA, the sport’s global governing body. Contested every four years, the first Women’s World Cup tournament, named the Women’s World Championship, was held in 1991, sixty-one years after the men’s first FIFA World Cup tournament in 1930. The current format has sixteen teams competing every four years for the winner’s trophy.
The inaugural tournament was hosted in China in 1991, with twelve teams sent to represent their countries. The 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup was held in Sweden with twelve teams. Over 660,000 spectators attended the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the United States. The United States and Germany have won the championship twice, and Norway once. Germany is the two-time defending champion.
The 1999 and 2003 Women’s World Cups were both held in the United States; in 2003 China was supposed to host it but the tournament was moved because of SARS. As compensation, China retained its automatic qualification to the 2003 tournament as host nation and was automatically chosen to host the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Germany will host the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as decided by vote in October 2007. The 2015 event is currently being contested between Canada and Chile.
At the 2007 World Cup in China, U.S. captain Kristine Lilly competed in her fifth World Cup, making her the only woman and one of three players in history to appear in five World Cups.
For World Cup qualifying junkies waiting on details of CONCACAF’s qualifying procedures for next summer’s World Cup—the wait continues. But word from U.S. Soccer is that an announcement will be made soon with matches taking place in late October and/or early November.
The U.S. has yet to face a serious threat in the qualification for any FIFA women’s tournament.
The actual tourney is 26 June – 17 July, 2011.