July 17, 2011

A closer look: THE FINAL

Match preview

The time we wait for the last match of FIFA WWC 2011 Germany is almost over. The final between Japan and the favoured American team will be held in Frankfurt this evening (20:45).
Japan has never made it this far in a World Cup and the United States are looking to become the first nation to win three World Cup titles after their achievements in 1991 and 1999.
Japan will be led by captain Homare Sawa. Playing in her fifth and likely last World Cup, Sawa has put her team on her back in this competition with a fabulous amount of four goals she scored.
She made the decisive assist on the goal that knocked out the host-nation Germany in the quarterfinals as well.
For the USA, Abby Wambach's reemergence could not have come at a better time. After a long lean period she lead her team into the finals including two important goals, e.g. in the quarterfinals when she rescued her team into the penalty shoot out.
Japan and the USA have met three times in 2011. The United States has taken all three games by scores of 2-0 (twice) and 2-1. The USA has an all-time record of 22-0-3 against Japan. However, although these statistics indicate that the United States could easily win, statistics may lie. Japan will certainly have a chance if they manage to confirm their perfomances in the quarterfinals and especially semifinals.

The referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (Germany)

The German Bibiana Steinhaus has been selected to referee this final, that is certainly the climax of her career. She will be accompanied by her country(wo)men Katrin Rafalski and Marina Wozniak, Jenny Palmqvist from Sweden will be the Fourth Official and Maria Villa from Spain is standby as Reserve Assistant Referee.

Impressive career path
Born in Bad Lauterbach in the beautiful Harz Mountains in 1979, she followed her father's path and became referee in 1995. Since that point, her career did not stop rising. At first, she had only to absolve two years in women's Bundesliga, before she moved up into male football in 2001. In 2003 she whistled the female DFB Cup final and only two years later, she got the FIFA badge in women's football.
Then - in 2007 - she moved up into 2nd Bundesliga. This promotion led to some turmoil à la "How can a woman, who in general does not understand anything of football, move up into male professional football?!" How often had one to bear such stupid comments. However, she confirmed this promotion and the ones who had doubts remained silently...
A few weeks ago, some trouble came up about Steinhaus as e.g. Steffi Jones, LOC member, argued the case for a promotion of Bibiana into German Bundesliga. Many others supported Jones. One has to take her last season's appointments into consideration. Many important matches in 2nd Bundesliga, matches that were important for teams moving up and down (e.g. Augsburg vs. Bochum). A very funny thing about her insets in 2nd Bundesliga is the fact that - without any doubt - the players behave in another way to the referee. That's why this suggestion of Jones did not seem to be that wrong but it was pretty reasonable. Herbert Fandel however, head of DFB's referee comitee, was not influenced by all this. He said that no referee in 2nd Bundesliga deserved a promotion, Steinhaus either. How can one publish that 4 days ahead her first match? But as one knows her, she will not be influenced, she is a pro and that with only 32 years.

After her final nomination Herbert Fandel said that it was "a huge joy for him and the whole DFB and that it made them proud".

She confirmed this impression in her two group stage matches:
Dresden, Group C, MD1: United States vs Korea PRK 2-0, rated with 7,1
Frankfurt, Group D, MD3: Equatorialguinea vs Brazil 0-3, rated with 8,4



  1. very good perfomance by the officials.
    Apart from that one error (offside) who was certainly serious but which had no affect on the result at all, it was nearly faultless.


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