The eighth FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off with France playing South Korea at Parc des Princes, Paris on 7 June 2019 and the final will be contested at Stade de Lyon on 7 July 2019. With growing global interest in the women’s game; wider TV coverage; and big brand sponsorship, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 promises to be the most celebrated in the tournament’s history.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup was first officially contested in 1991, when the competition took place in China, but the origins of women’s international football predates any hook-up with FIFA.
The Mundialito was an international women’s football tournament, first held in September 1981 in Kobe and Tokyo. Four teams––Denmark, England, Italy and Japan––took part in the tournament, with Italy emerging as champions.
Such was Italy’s then domination of the women’s game, that the hosting of the tournament transferred to Italy for its next four iterations––in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1988––matches taking place in Jesolo, Caorle, Arco and Riva del Garda.
1984 saw a West German women’s football team at an international tournament for the first time, where they eventually ended up runners-up to Italy in the final. The following year saw a team from USA compete, and the next year Brazil, China and Mexico; with a team from France making an appearance in 1988.
Across seven years and five tournaments, England’s only no-show was in 1986 and, in 1985 and 1988, the England Women’s Football Team emerged victorious, on both occasions defeating Italy in the final, to become winners of the Mundialito (the little World Cup).
The 2019 team, managed by Phil Neville and captained by Steph Houghton, have a proud pedigree to uphold.
© Donnie Blake
Donnie Blake is supporting the England Women in France.
Check out some of Donnie’s World Cup novels on Amazon.