Playin' on Purple: Women's World Cup neglected

I will be the first to admit that women’s sports are boring. Women are not as good as men at sports. Men are better, but women athletes are outstanding and incredible and can do whatever they set their minds to (even if that is beating a man at something). In some cases, women can be better than men at some sports. I am not going to turn this article into a battle-of-the-sexes argument, because both sides of the argument are set in stone that they are the correct party.

Everyone knows that the battle of the sexes will never have a winner. Men will make their points and women will make theirs, neither side ever compromising or giving in. People will always stand on opposite sides of the spectrum. End of story.

It doesn’t matter who is better; the fact is that women are neglected. They have probably one-third of the fans that men do and they are never mainstream broadcast (have you ever seen a WNBA game on ESPN, ESPN2 or TNT? Rarely).

Last summer, the World Cup was the biggest sporting event of the year. It was bigger than the World Series, NBA finals and the Super Bowl. What made the World Cup so special? It was broadcast worldwide. Soccer is like the world’s favorite pastime. Every nation was tuned in to watch those games.

This summer, the Women’s World Cup is being held. I didn’t even hear about the Women’s World Cup until this week, and the biggest women’s soccer tournament was well under way, if not half-over. These women have been working hard to get to the World Cup, and it’s not the front-running story on any newspaper, magazine, website, talk show or TV news station.

The finals of the Women’s World Cup are approaching the last stages. On Saturday, the final eight teams played in their quarterfinal games. The teams were Germany, France, Brazil, England, Japan, Australia, Sweden and the United States.

The United States has had quite the ride in this tournament. It was ranked No. 1 going into the tournament, and has been doing a good job defending that ranking. The U.S. started out on a strong note, with two victories against both Korea and Columbia. Sweden then came and beat them with a shallow victory of 1-2.

Sweden’s victory closed out the group play and ended the U.S.’ 18-game winning streak in group play. The U.S. outshot Sweden 20-9, but Sweden’s goalkeeper, Hedvig Lindahl, made several saves to keep the U.S.’ efforts pointless. The U.S. went into the quarterfinals in second place in Group C.

Now if the No. 1 seat getting beat by Sweden has not enticed you enough to sit and watch a game, then let me point out a few things ESPNW’s Joanne C. Gerstner suggested to look for in the Women’s World Cup.

First, look for the state of the superpowers; keep an eye on how Germany, Sweden and the U.S. do in the quarterfinals. They have been the top dogs for years. Second, watch how the home-country pressure has placed Germany in a unique position. They are the two-time defending champions playing on home soil. Third, watch the injuries list and which key athletes will be benched because of those injuries. And finally, watch how the style of game play has changed over the years. Now, not only technique is important, but you also have to have a flow and some creativity to be successful and win.

I know that the Women’s World Cup might not take precedence over a Yankees or Red Sox game, but take a minute to watch it. You might be surprised at how intense the game can get. The semifinal matches are on July 13 and the final is on July 17. Keep a weather eye out for the victors. Maybe Team USA can come home on top.