Summer is a favorite season, especially for soccer fans. Kids across the country pull out their soccer equipment and dust off their cleats in preparation of practice and group fun. Parents and coaches collaborate to get teams together and ensure the sports equipment lockers are stocked and ready to go. But soccer fun goes far beyond kid play and potential coaching gigs. As FIFA fans know, women’s soccer is a non-stop roller coaster of emotional energy and excitement, and nothing proves that more than the current excitement over the FIFA Women's World Cup.
What’s the FIFA Women's World Cup and Why Is it a Big Deal?
One of the joys of soccer is that it’s a gender-neutral sport. Teams are generally still divided into men’s and women’s leagues, but it’s nonetheless a sport everyone can play and enjoy. Modern soccer is a worldwide sport, but its roots are deeply set in European soil. Therefore, FIFA stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association, which is the sport’s official worldwide governing control agency which mandates all rules and regulations.
Women swept the field in 1991, when FIFA allowed senior women's national teams into the arena, and since then the sport has just soared in popularity. The 2015 women’s competition is hosted in Vancouver, Canada, and increased the annual accepted competing teams from 16 to 24. The FIFA Women's World Cup is a tournament that occurs every four years and involves four stages of game play: a preliminary round, group stage, playoffs, and finals.
The preliminaries were played in April of 2013. The eight lowest ranking nations played four-team mini-tournaments which decided who progressed to the group stage. Those advancing four teams then joined the other 38 potentials in the group stage tournaments which competed in September of 2013. Four teams from that stage advanced to the playoffs in October 2014 to be divided even further. The two winning teams from that stage advanced to the finals which are currently being played in Canada.
Who’s Expected to Win and Why Is Everyone Tuning In?
There’s big money in sports, but betting odds increase when you’re well educated regarding the sport and teams in question. International women's soccer is a huge draw for professional gamblers and those who simply consider themselves petty dabblers, according to casino staff all along the Las Vegas strip. However, that can lead to problems for the businesses if they don’t play their cards right. In order to cut their own losses, most casinos have limited bets at $1,000 as opposed to the routine $15,000 bets for various other sports. This is a blanket rule to limit exposure and keep the casinos in the black. The professional women soccer players are so talented and consistent that there are just far too many people winning their bets right now.
The U.S and Germany have shared the spotlight many years since the U.S won the first Women's World Cup. In fact, those two countries have won the most cups at two a piece. This year, they’re neck-in-neck once more with little more than a handful of points separating them from taking home the cup. However, a lot can happen before the July 5th final. France, Japan, and Sweden are pulling up behind the two top powerhouses. While it’s still anyone’s game, the red, white, and blue may have something besides American Independence to celebrate the first weekend of July.
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