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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More honour in the women's game


Mexico's Monica Ocampo, right, celebrates scoring against England. (Jens Meyer/Associated Press)Mexico's Monica Ocampo, right, celebrates scoring against England. (Jens Meyer/Associated Press)
Every match-day of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, CBCSports.ca senior writer John F. Molinaro will break down the day's action with a few of his thoughts.
No doubt male chauvinism and a lack of respect for the women's game still hurts this tournament. Hopefully the sublime skills that the women in Germany have displayed the past two days will help to convert soccer neanderthals.
It's difficult to change attitudes, so one thing that male soccer fans who still don't want to give the Women's World Cup the time of day should know is that the women's soccer is known for having less diving and cheating.
It's physical, to be sure, but what's interesting to note is that the women are less likely to go to ground, sell an innocuous foul as "an injury" and they display more of a "let's get on with it" attitude than their male counterparts.
It's not uncommon for a game to conclude without a single instance of chicanery on the part of the players. 
There is considerably more honour in the women's game - surely that has to appeal to die-hard soccer fans who consider diving and conning the referee the scourge of the sport.
*****
Like the opening day of the tournament, Day 2 produced another highlight reel goal of super quality.
Christine Sinclair wrote herself into Canadian sports lore with a spectacular free kick effort in a 2-1 loss to Germany on Sunday - a goal made all the more remarkable that Sinclair scored it while fighting the pain of a broken nose suffered earlier in the match.
Not to be outdone, however, was Mexico's Monica Ocampa. On Monday, the Mexican scored on agorgeous piece of skill from the run of play, dancing between a few defenders before striking a 40-yard shot that beat English goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and tucked just under the crossbar.
As CBC Sports commentator Jason de Vos pointed out during the broadcast of the game, which ended 1-1, Bardsley was slightly at fault for being off her line and not better timing her jump to block the shot.
But full credit must be given to Ocampa for having the confidence to hit such an audacious shot.
And if that goal doesn't convince some of you to drop your chauvinistic attitude and recognize these players as first-class athletes than nothing will.
*****
It's apples and oranges, so you'll pardon the comparison, but thus far this tournament has been more entertaining to watch than last year's World Cup in South Africa.
All four games have been competitive, and have been decided by one goal or less. If any match had the potential to get ugly it was the New Zealand-Japan affair, but the Kiwis held their own in a2-1 loss against the Asian powerhouse in what turned out to be a fun game to watch.
While not exactly making up for the dire slate of games soccer fans were forced to endure the first two days of competition in South Africa, it does give hope that this tournament, at least, will live up to the hype and provide spectators with a steady diet of quality football.
Follow John F. Molnaro on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/JohnMolinaro