Martin Dowey: Women’s cup is a pleasant surprise

The news that the women’s World Cup had started was met by an uninterested shrug of the shoulders from yours truely.

By Martin Dowey
Thursday, 25th June 2015, 5:18 pm
England's Lucy Bronze, centre, celebrates with teammate Fara Williams, left, as Jodie Taylor cheers on in the background in the second half of soccer action during the Round of 16 at the FIFA Women's World Cup Monday June 22, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Normally in a television battle at my house between the women’s game and a documentary on kittens, the latter might just edge it.

My wife pointed out my ignorance in the early stages of the tournament, and after putting her right I decided to give the World Cup a chance.

And it provided me with a very pleasant surprise.

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I don’t think publicity in films like Bend it like Beckham did the sport any good, because it just made me cringe.

Clearly attitudes towards the women’s game are very different to the view on men’s football though. Which looking at it now is very unfair.

One of the first stories to come out from the women’s World Cup was the fact that England had to share a hotel with their group-stage opponents France in the Canadian city of Moncton.

No matter what anybody thinks, this is ridiculous at this level of football.

But I suppose that this is one of many hurdles the women’s game is just expected the vault.

I watched that group game between England and France - not because I’d lost the Sky remote, but because I enjoyed it.

Technically the play is a still long way from the male game, but due to physicality that is always going to be the case.

One thing that impressed me was the standard of refereeing in the games I have seen.

The woman in black doesn’t buy any histrionics, which leads to the fact that many of the players can take a challenge better than their male counterparts, just because they have to.

Another major factor is that the England team are not a constant disappointment and the press they receive is fresh and positive, rather than the morbid bilge that surrounds Roy Hodgson’s side.

I’m still a bit wet behind the ears when it comes to this, but people are saying that England can go all the way. If they do then I’ll be cheering them on when they run out in Vancouver next month.

I’m not saying that when FIFA 16 comes out I’ll be taking control of any of the new women’s teams, but the next time a game is on my telly, I’m confident it will see off the challenge of that documentary.