The Week in Women's Football: Reviewing English, Scottish & Spanish Leagues; Barca win Quad

Tribal Football
The Week in Women's Football: Reviewing English, Scottish & Spanish Leagues; Barca win Quad
The Week in Women's Football: Reviewing English, Scottish & Spanish Leagues; Barca win Quad
The Week in Women's Football: Reviewing English, Scottish & Spanish Leagues; Barca win QuadAction Plus
This week, we look at the first ever FIFA national team ratings for women’s fustal and we start our review of some of the European league’s season review with many ending for the summer, beginning this week with England’s WSL, Scotland’s Women’s Premier League and Spain’s Liga F, as well as promotion and relegation between the second tiers in each country, which provided some interesting stories.

We also examine the 2023-24 UEFA Women’s Champions League Final between Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais, and look briefly at Spain’s U-17 WNT qualifying for the FIFA Finals later this year in Dominican Republic, where they will attempt to qualify for their third consecutive World Title at that age level.

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FIFA Women’s National Team Ratings have begun for Futsal

FIFA recently launched a national team ratings for men’s and women’s futsal for the first time. We look at the initial rankings for women’s futsal. These join the men’s full national team rankings for football (started in December 1992) and for women since 2003 (see the latest 11-a-side rankings below).

Brazil is ranked number one, having won all seven South American championships to date, followed by three time European champions Spain in second and Portugal in third, with the latter finishing runners up to Spain in two continental champions.

There are 69 women’s national teams ranked out of 211 FIFA members, but with quite a disparity across confederations:

    UEFA—27 of 55 national associations

    AFC (Asia)—26 of 46 national associations

CONMEBOL—10 of 10 national associations

    Oceania--3 of 11 national associations

CONCACAF—2 of 35 national associations

CAF (Africa)—1 of 54 national associations

 

Futsal Women’s World Ranking as of May 6, 2024 

Rank Team Total Points 

1 Brazil 1364.75 

2 Spain 1302.33 

3 Portugal 1266.33 

4 Argentina 1202.84 

5 Colombia 1168.69 

6 Thailand 1163.97 

7 Russia 1152.29 

8 IR Iran 1146.96 

9 Japan 1139.54 

10 Italy 1122.66 

11 Paraguay 1107.24 

12 Ukraine 1106.29 

13 Vietnam 1096.34 

14 Indonesia 1057.12 

15 Netherlands 1045.34 

16 Uruguay 1044.61 

17 Poland 1043.44 

18 Finland 1040.75 

19 Venezuela 1038.73 

20 Costa Rica 1038.26 

21 Chinese Taipei 1032.95

22 Sweden 1025.43 

23 Hungary 1022.27 

24 Uzbekistan 1021.38 

25 China PR 1016.45 

26 New Zealand 1001.20 

27 Bolivia 990.27 

28 Malaysia 987.72 

29 Lebanon 981.18 

30 Ecuador 980.66 

31 Hong Kong, China 979.02 

32 Armenia 978.72 

33 New Caledonia 978.46 

34 Palestine 974.58 

35 Nicaragua 971.76 

36 Belgium 970.15 

37 Bahrain 962.22 

38 Myanmar 955.52 

39 Turkmenistan 945.43 

40 Romania 937.18 

41 Croatia 926.85 

42 Belarus 925.82

43 Serbia 921.63 

44 Bangladesh 920.38 

45 Bosnia and Herzegovina 917.55 

46 Macau 916.20 

47 Northern Ireland 913.15 

48 Afghanistan 907.13 

49 Slovakia 904.86 

50 Slovenia 899.83 

51 Saudi Arabia 899.62 

52 Kazakhstan 894.91 

53 Iraq 887.88 

54 Peru 887.83 

55 United Arab Emirates 885.35 

56 France 881.73 

57 Chile 880.14 

58 Czechia 879.82 

59 Morocco 876.52 

60 Guam 867.51 

61 Philippines 866.38 

62 Kuwait 863.43 

63 Latvia 857.75 

64 Moldova 857.06 

65 Gibraltar 854.63

66 Kyrgyz Republic 850.34 

67 Oman 848.46 

68 Lithuania 845.02 

69 Tajikistan 828.6

 

 

The two nations ranked from CONCACAF are Costa Rica and Nicaragua while the three from Oceania are New Zealand, New Caledonia and Guam.

The only national association ranked from the prospective hosts of the next men’s EURO ranked in the women’s list from the four home nations of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland is Northern Ireland. This does not mean that these other nations don’t have women’s futsal national teams or leagues—they just haven’t played enough full international games to be ranked by FIFA

There is a planned Women’s World Cup for futsal next year, which was announced at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok on May 15 that it will be held in the Philippines. This writer feels that Philippines is a very good choice as the nation is very cued-in to women’s football after their national team was very competitive as last year’s Women’s World Cup and defeated the host nation 1-0 to ultimately knock New Zealand out of a place in the Round of 16. Asia also has 26 nations ranked, only one fewer that UEFA for the lead among confederations in the rankings.

FIFA has been talking about this for over a decade. I remember interviewing then Australian international goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri a few years after the 2007 Women’s World Cup while on tour in the U.S. and she said that Australia was supposed to play later that year in the first world futsal championship, which would particularly help grow the game in countries in West and East Asia, in which women were not allowed to play football in shorts or without a hajib. The women’s game has grown greatly in the region, symbolized by Morocco’s fantastic advancement to the Round of 16 in last summer’s WWC Finals.

Interestingly, the one African nation ranked is Morocco. The introduction of a growing professional women’s league in Saudi Arabia has helped grow the game as well through West Asia and Southeast Asia (see: The Week in Women's Football: Imports talk up Saudi Pro League; Canada hopes for Project 8 - Tribal Football). A global futsal Women’s World Cup can only assist with this expansion, as some young women start playing the indoor game and we see more movement between the two codes than typically in the men’s game, where players more often specialize in futsal.

Note: For the latest FIFA national team ratings for eleven a side, Solomon Islands new ranking takes the number of women’s national teams ranked to 193 (out of 211 FIFA full member associations—just a few years ago it was barely 150—so FIFA’s developmental efforts and incentives to the national associations have been working.

2023-24 UEFA Nations League and 2023 WWC Champions Spain over is first, with 2023 WWC runner-up England in second place. France, who lost the first Nations League Final to Spain, is third and the U.S. has fallen to fourth from second, even though they won the CONCACAF W Gold Cup this year, their loss to Mexico in the first round hurt them. Germany is fifth, followed by Sweden, Japan, Netherlands, Canada and Brazil. 

Zambia (65th, up 5), Puerto Rico (85th, up 18) and Kosovo (91st, up 9) have each hit all-time highs, while Solomon Islands (88th, up 21) make the biggest jump of all, following wins over American Samoa, Fiji and Samoa. Iraq (172nd) have now joined the World Ranking, which now features a record 193 national teams. That figure could be eclipsed in June, with six more teams just one official match away from joining, namely Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gibraltar, Libya and Sudan. Also Unranked include Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar of the AFC, Libya, Eritrea, Chad, Sudan, Djibouti and Mauritania of Africa and Gibraltar and Lichtenstein in UEFA, with all of the CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and Oceania members ranked.

 

European Leagues

 

England WSL

The title race came down to the last day of the regular season between Chelsea and Manchester City as both clubs were tied on 52 points from identical 17-1-1 (W-D-L) records, with the London side having a +2 goal differential (+47 to +45). Both teams were on the road for their final match on May 18. Colombian international forward Maya Ramirez (24), who joined the club mid-season from Levante of Spain, scored twice in the first half of a commanding Chelsea 6-0 win over Manchester United, while Manchester City defeated Aston Villa 2-0.

Other first half goal scorers for Chelsea were Swedish international Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (27) and German international Sjoeke Nüsken (23)—who joined the team this season from Eintracht Frankfurt. In the second half, fellow German international Melanie Leupolz (30) and English international Fran Kirby (30) — also involved in her last game for Chelsea like head coach Emma Hayes (see more below) — scored in the second half. Kirby’s next destination has not yet been announced.

Chelsea’s Colombian international forward Mayra Ramirez, third from right, celebrates with teammate Jess Carter, fourth from right, after scoring the fourth goal in their 6-0 English Women's Super League 2023-24 regular season ending match against Manchester United at Old Trafford, in Manchester on May 18. Photo courtesy of Martin Rickett/PA;  Provided by The Associated Press – Sports.

Chelsea and Man City remained tied on points to end season with 55, but Chelsea had the advantage in goal differential (+53 to +46) and, even if City had pulled back the goal differential in their final game, Chelsea scored more goals during the season (71 vs. 61). Chelsea’s title win was their fifth in a row and seventh in the WSL, all under Hayes (in addition, they won the Spring Series in 2017 when the league adapted their now traditional Fall/Spring season format). Hayes also won 5 Cups, 2 League Cups and a FA Community Shield (seasonal opener between the previous season’s League and FA Cup winners).

But this season Chelsea lost to Arsenal in the WSL Cup final, fell to United in the FA Cup semifinals, and were narrowly dispatched by Barcelona in the Women’s Champions League semifinals (2-1 on aggregate). The five consecutive titles are a testament to the players, coaching staff of Emma Hayes and club management, particularly as the league’s teams have rapidly increased their investment, sponsorship and visibility, driven in large part by England’s title in the hugely impactful home Women’s EURO in 2022 and second place finish to Spain (1-0) at the 2023 WWC in Australia/New Zealand. Hayes is off to lead the U.S. Women’s National Team as head coach, with the Olympic Games Finals in Paris in July/August her immediate priority.

Arsenal finished third on 50 points (16-2-4) to again make next season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League. Liverpool was fourth on 41 points. Fifth place Manchester United (35 points) finished ahead of sixth place Tottenham Hotspur (31 points) and defeated the London side in the FA Cup Final at Wembley (4-0) on May 12 in front of a Wembley Stadium crowd of 76,082. Spanish international Lucia Garcia (25) of Spain scored the third and fourth goals in the Cup final. Garcia was one of the 11 protesting players against then Spanish WNT head coach Jorge Vilda and the Spanish FA after the England EURO in 2022 and was left off of the 2023 WWC Finals squad. Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner’s contract was then extended for another year with an option for a future year at the end of the 2023--24, and overall, he has done a nice job since leaving the NWSL’s Orlando Pride in July of 2021 after two and half seasons in Florida.

Jamaican international Khadija Shaw (27) of Manchester City won the 2023-24 WSL Golden Boot with 21 goals (with three assists) in 18 games, far ahead of English international Lauren James (22) of Chelsea and Norwegian full international Elisabeth Terland (22) of Brighton and Hove Albion, who both had 13 goals. Shaw was named the Football Writers Association Women’s Player of the Year and also captured the Barclay’s Women’s Super League Player of the Season award. This was Terland’s second season with the Seagulls after moving from Brann at home, where she had 10 goals in 14 games in the 2022 Toppserien. English international forward Alessia Russo of Arsenal finished fourth with 12 goals. 

For Manchester City, Australian international forward Mary Fowler scored four goals in 21 games (with 13 starts) since joining from Montpellier in France after the 2021-22 season, and was named as one of nine women athletes (including football’s all-time international goals leader Christine Sinclair from Canada) to feature as a Barbie doll (by Mattel) replica, along with tennis great Venus Williams and athletes from other sports.

Bristol City were relegated from the Super League with one win and six standings points and will be replaced by Crystal Palace of the Championship, who in 2024-25 will play their first ever season in the WSL (see more on Crystal Palace’s core of Welsh international players: The Week in Women's Football: Imports talk up Saudi Pro League; Canada hopes for Project 8 - Tribal Football).

Arsenal set a women’s world football record for a season average attendance with a 29,999 2023-24 average (with a WSL record high of 60,160 versus Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on February 17). Next season the Gunners will play 11 matches at the Emirates, which typically seats 52,029 fans. Arsenal smashed the previous women’s football record which the NWSL’s San Diego Wave set in 2023 of 20,718 per game. There is still growth needed at many of the other clubs as half of the 12 WSL teams averaged less than 5,000 fans a game this season; Arsenal and Manchester United are the only sides to average above 10,000.

At least every WSL team played at least one match in their main men’s stadium this season. Over one million people cumulatively attended a Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship fixture, with 971,977 in the Super League for a 41 per cent increase on 2022-23 (689,297). The season average attendance for the division was 7,363, again a 41 per cent gain from last year (5,222).

 The final 2023-24 WSL team average attendances were as follows:

Arsenal             29,999

Manchester United         10,957

Chelsea             9,266

Manchester City         7,108

Bristol City             6,974

Aston Villa             5,100

Liverpool             4,668

Tottenham Hotspur         4,317

Brighton & Hove Albion     3,553

Leicester City             2,656

Everton             2,071

West Ham United         1,892

WSL League Average        7,363

The Manchester derby between United and City at Etihad Stadium in March drew a peak audience of 997,000 on BBC One, which was the most watched Barclays Women’s Super League game ever. Sky Sports meanwhile also achieved a record viewership figure for the league for Leicester City’s game with Chelsea drawing a peak audience of 823,000.

 

Scotland

Rangers of Glasgow won the first stage of the 12 team Scottish Women’s Premier League with 60 points from an undefeated 19-3-0 record, while Celtic and Glasgow City each trailed by four points on 56 points with 18-2-2 records. In the first round, Scottish international forward Amy Gallacher (25) of Celtic led the goal scorers table with 22, two goals more than second place American Jorian Baucom (27) of Hibernian with 20 goals—who previously played in the NWSL and for MSV Duisburg in Germany in 2020-21—while English import Rio Hardy of Rangers (27)—who has played in Iceland and Cyprus and at home with Durham and Coventry City in the second tier English Championship—finished third with 19 tallies.

Aberdeen did well in their third season in the SWPL 1, finishing seventh in the first round with 25 points, while Dundee United and Hamilton Academical were tied for last and prime candidates for relegation. 

In the Championship Round, Celtic made up the four point first round deficit with Rangers as both clubs were on 25-4-2 records for 79 points going into the last game of the season but Celtic had a +16 goal differential for (+107 to +91); the two clubs finished deadlocked in the derby on May 6 (0-0) after Celtic won (2-1) on March 17 with Natasha Flint (27), a former English youth international at multiple levels who played in the 2014 U-20 WWC in Canada, scoring both goals. This was Flint’s second stint on loan with Celtic, coming from Leicester City of England’s WSL last season and this season playing a few games  with Liverpool of the WSL before returning on loan again to Celtic. 

Celtic captured their first title for the women’s team (the men also won the Scottish league title this season), in the last game of the 2023-24 campaign on May 19 with a 1-0 defeat of Hibernian while Rangers won 4-0 against Patrick Thistle, with both being home games for the Glasgow giants. Celtic and Rangers remained tied on 82 points but Celtic clinched their first ever Scottish Premier League title on a +13 goal differential (+108 vs +95). Both teams had a 26-4-2 record with 18 goals allowed but Celtic scored 126 to Ranger’s 113. Glasgow City finished third with a 23-4-5 record for 73 points and will miss the UEFA WCL, ending a sixteen year consecutive streak in the WCL/Women’s Cup back to 2008-09, making the Quarterfinals in 2014-15 and 2019-20.

These high goal differentials, combined with Glasgow City’s fall-off, is worrisome for the competitiveness of the league, which we have seen in the past in other markets such as England and France, where a top two or three teams become virtually untouchable by the other clubs in the league. The investment from the Glasgow giants is going to continue to widen this gulf. The Scottish league is becoming a popular league with imports from America and other markets (China and India included in recent seasons) but the other clubs in the league need to invest more so that there is more competition at the top.

In the relegation group, Motherwell finished at the top of the six teams with 45 points while Aberdeen finished next (in eighth) with 40 points, while Hamilton was directly relegated with 14 points and Dundee United (15 points) had to go into the repechage to retain their top division spot next year, as Spartans finished in tenth with a 12 point advantage (27 points).

For the Golden Boot race in the second stages, Scottish youth international Bayley Hutchison (20) of Aberdeen led with 12 goals, with Natasha Flint of Celtic second on eight goals, U-17 youth international and one to watch for the future Laura Berry (16) of Motherwell was third with seven goals, followed by American Murphy Agnew (25) of Celtic—who played with Newcastle Jets in 2022-23—and two Scots who all had six goals: former U-17 international Louise Brown (26) of Montrose and Kirsty Howat (27) of Rangers, who has played for numerous Scottish age-group national teams.

Tied for seventh with five goals were three Scots and two Americans. The Scottish players were U-17 and U-19 internationals Mya Bates (19) of Spartans and Kathleen McGovern (21), who joined Hearts this year from SC Sand of the German second division, along with former Scotland U-17 international Morgan Cross (23) of Motherwell (who played last season with Coventry City of the English Championship) and Americans Jorian Baucom (27) of Hibs and Carlee Giammona (23) of Glasgow City, the latter who joined the club last December on the last day of the transfer window from Monterrey of Liga MX Femenil, where she made the semifinals of the 2023 Apertura but Rayadas fell to UANL Tigres 1-0 on aggregate; Giammona did score two goals in a quarterfinal second leg (6-3) home win over Tijuana (8-4 on aggregate). Giammona played at the University of Alabama and Pepperdine University in Malibu, California and with American U-16 and U-18 youth national teams.

In the second tier, Queens Park Rangers won automatic promotion with a 23-3-2 record on 72 points in the eight team league, while Kilmarnock pipped Livingston (49 to 47 points) to make the play-in round with the eleventh placed side in the top tier (Dundee United). In the two club’s last match of the season on May 19, Kilmarnock went on the road to tie Boroughmuir Thistle (0-0), who finished fourth, while Livingston fell at home to Queens Park Rangers (3-2), when a win would have ultimately lifted Livingston (located about 30 miles east of Glasgow) into second place on the final table.

On May 23, Dundee United came from behind to defeat Kilmarnock 2-1 at home to remain in the Premier League for 2024-25. Brodie Greenwood (18), a U-19 Scottish international, scored the crucial second goal in the 73rd minute—she played last season for Hearts and the previous year with Aberdeen—all in the Premier League.

 

Spain

With two games left in the Liga F regular season that ends in mid-June, thus far, Barcelona has run streets ahead of the competition in the 18 team Liga F for 2023-24, going undefeated with only one tie (27-1-0) record for 82 points and scoring 129 goals versus 9 allowed for a goal differential of +120.

The two Madrid rivals Real and Atletico are in second and third on 64 points and 54 points respectively; if they finish in the top three, they would both qualify, along with Barca, for the 2024-25 UEFA Women’s Champions League. Atletico finished fourth last season to Levante and missed out on Europe’s premier club event but this season they have an advantage over Levante (51 points), along with Madrid CFF (50 points) and Athletic Club of Bilbao (50 points) in a close race for that last WCL spot.

Barcelona clinched a fifth consecutive Liga F title and ninth overall with a 4-1 win at Granada on May 4 in Round 26 (out of 30 regular season matches), with two goals from Swedish international Fridolina Rolfo and singles from English international Lucy Bronze and Norwegian international Caroline Graham Hansen. Barca’s only dropped points in one Liga F match this season were from a draw against Levante in February. The Blaugranes completed a historic quadruple by also defeating Real Sociedad (8-0) in the Copa del la Reina final on May 18, taking  the Spanish Super Cup over Levante (7-0) on January 20 and the UEFA Women’s Champions League on May 25 in Bilbao (see more below).

At the other end of the table, Villarreal (22 points) is in a relegation battle (with Granada (24 points), Levante Las Planas (24 points), Real Betis (27 points) and Valencia (29 points) with only two games left in the regular season, while Sporting de Huelva’s fate was decided a long time ago as they won only two games all season (2-3-23 for 9 points). Huelva did defeat Granada 2-1 on May 25 to snap a 13 game winless streak (with two ties). Huelva’s two goals in the match both came from imports: Miku Kojima (24) of Japan in the 13th minute—who had four goals this season in 27 matches and played the previous two seasons with Deportivo Alaves in Liga F—and Raiderlin Carrasco (21) of Venezuela, who has three goals this season in 27 matches in her second season with the club; she has been capped at the U-20 and senior level for Venezuela.

For top scorers in the Liga F (again with two games left), Norwegian international Caroline Graham-Hansen (29) has 19 goals and her club teammate and 2023 WWC Winner Salma Paralluelo (20) is one behind on 18. In third was Cristina Martin-Prieto (31) of Seville and Spain with 15 goals—she completed her second season in Seville after five seasons with Tenerife. Tied for fourth on 13 goals was a trio including Norwegian international forward Synne Jensen (28) of Real Sociedad—who completed her third season in Basque Country after moving from Norway, where she had played her entire career except for one season with Wolfsburg in Germany in 2015-16 and spent time on their Frauen-Bundesliga side as well as their second team in the 2 Frauen-Bundesliga—2023 WWC Winner for Spain Alba Redondo (27) of Levante and Spain’s Shelia Guijarro (27) of Atletico Madrid, who was in her first season in the capital city after leaving Villarreal, where she played since 2018.

In seventh place was Barcelona’s Claudia Pina (22) with 12 goals, who won a FIFA U-17 WWC in 2018 in Uruguay but was one of the protesting players after the EURO in England and was not called into the national side for the 2023 WWC; she has also won two UEFA Champions League titles at Barca. Three players finished the top ten scorers list tied with 11 goals: Anita Marcos (23) of Valencia, who won two European titles with Spain’s U-19 national team in 2017 in Northern Ireland and 2018 in Switzerland and is in her second season at the club, Danish international Signe Brunn (26) of Real Madrid (in her first season after playing the last two seasons with Olympique Lyonnais of France and a few games on loan with Manchester United) and Kayla McKenna (27) of Jamaica and Villarreal, who was born in the U.S., played at Duke University and for the Houston Dash before playing the last two seasons for Rangers in Scotland before her move to Villarreal ahead of the 2023-24 season. 

In the second tier Primera Federacion Femenina, Barcelona II won the title for the second consecutive season with a 18-4-4 for 58 points but cannot move up to Liga F as a second team to a first division side is not allowed to compete with the parent club in the same division—the men’s league has had the same rule for decades. Thus, second place Deportivo de la Coruna took the automatic promotion spot after finishing second on a 16-8-2 record for 56 points—two points behind Barca II. Deportivo returns to Liga F after three years in the second tier Primera RFEF league.

They clinched their ascension to the top league with a 3-1 win at home over Cacereno in the penultimate round in front of 14,057 spectators; Brazilian forward Millene Cabral scored a second half brace for the winners. For the second promotion spot, Espanyol defeated Osasuna 3-2 on aggregate over two legs in the promotion finals after Espanol of Barcelona defeated AEM Lleida 4-1 on aggregate over two legs and Osasuna dismissed Alhama 3-1 on aggregate in the semifinals.

Espanyol has returned to Liga F after three seasons in the second tier. Espanyol lost the first leg to Osasuna 1-0 away but rebounded for a 3-1 win at home with a brace from Paraguayan international Lice Chamorro (25) in the first half (she had 13 goals on the season) and Ana ‘Anita’ Hernández’s (32 and from the isle of Mallorca) goal in the second half.

Paraguayan international Lice Chamorro kisses the Espanyol crest after scoring against SE AEM in the semi-final of the play-off. She helped Espanol of Barcelona return to the top flight with two goals in the final leg matches against Osasuna. Photo courtesy of el1900.com: Carlos Mira.

Espanol captain Julia Guerra (22) said after the game: “It’s been a long road, but we’re where we deserve to be… It’s wonderful to see people so happy.”

Espanol captain Júlia Guerra (22), who has been with the club since playing in their youth teams and is a college student, is carried on her shoulders after clinching promotion after defeating Osasuna 3-2 on aggregate at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season. Photo courtesy EFE.

It wasn’t easy for Espanol, who lost their head coach Adrian Gonzalez during the season to the Washington Spirit as interim head coach, until Jonatan Giraldez completed the season at Barcelona; Gonzalez has had a positive impact at the Spirit as they currently sit in third in the table and are only three points out of first place, after just missing the playoffs last season. Gonzalez will stay on as Giraldez’s assistant while new head coach Juan Ibarra took Espanyol back to the top flight.

 

Barcelona wins the 2023-24 UEFA WCL title to capture an historic quadruple this season

Barcelona won the 2023-24 UEFA Women’s Champions League title in front of a partisan crowd of 50,827 at San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain by defeating Olympic Lyon of France (2-0) for their first ever win over Lyon after losing two previous WCL Finals to the French powerhouse (4-1 in 2018-19 and 3-1 in 2021-22).

Reigning World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or Feminin title holder for 2023 Aitana Bonmati (26) scored in the 63rd minute and then long-time star Alexis Putellas (30) scored in the 95th minute to a rapturous crowd. There had been reports—including out of the U.S.—that with head coach Jonatan Giraldez leaving for the NWSL and the Washington Spirit, Putellas could be out at Barcelona and lots of clubs in Mexico (Club America at the front of the line), the U.S., and England would be interested in her.

The game’s two scorers positioned a nice bookending of arguably the top two stars in Europe over the past five years: iconic Putellas (30) and current star Bonmati (26), as both won the 2023 WWC, 2023-24 Nations League title and 2023-24 WCL together. In the days after the WCL Final, Putellas re-signed with Barcelona for two seasons, with an option for the 2026-27 season. Barca won a historic quadruple this year of the Liga F, Copa de la Reina, Supercopa, and WCL, with the latter being Barca’s third in the last four seasons 2020-21, 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Note: Olympique Lyon head coach Sonia Bompastor replaced Emma Hayes as Chelsea head coach for the 2024-25 season (see above) the week following the final. She played in over 150 international matches for France and with the Washington Freedom in the UWS in 2009 and 2010—her only stint abroad. She has been OL’s head coach for three seasons, winning three league titles and the 2021-22 Women’s Champions League title.

 

Spain wins European U-17 Championship and will be a favorite for this year’s FIFA U-17 WWC in Dominican Republic 

Spain won the U-17 European title this year to qualify for the 2024 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Finals in the Dominican Republic in October/November. Spain is the two-time reigning champions (2018 in Uruguay and 2022 in India) and will be joined by:

UEFA

England

Poland

CONCACAF

U.S.

Mexico

Dominican Republic (host)

AFC

Japan

Korea DPR

Korea Republic

CONMEBOL

Brazil

Colombia

Ecuador

Oceania 

New Zealand

Africa has not yet determined their three finalists, with the winners of the following Fourth Round two-leg ties in June advancing to the D.R.:

Burundi vs. Kenya

Zambia vs. Morocco

Liberia vs. Nigeria

 

- Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football.  His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women’s football.  Get your copy today. Follow Tim on X: @TimGrainey