In praise of Laura Bassett and England’s women’s football team
Let’s stop for a moment and celebrate the efforts and achievements of Laura Bassett and the rest of England’s women’s football team. They truly did us proud. Despite appearing to be the stronger side in the second half of a tense semi-final against Japan, the team narrowly lost out in the cruellest manner when Bassett, to her horror, scored an own goal in stoppage time as she attempted to clear the ball. Bad luck on that scale is devastating in that very moment but we need to create some perspective here so that such a final and lasting memory doesn’t engulf the legacy that has been created by the efforts of these women. What Laura and her team-mates have done is to give us inspiration. The profile of women’s football has certainly been raised as a result of this world cup and both girls and boys should feel a sense of pride along with a renewed interest in the game. If we can get more girls playing the beautiful game then that is ultimately better than any piece of silverware to be carried back home. Two million fewer women are regularly participating in sport or exercise than men and we need to target these women when they are still girls. The team captain, Steph Houghton was quoted as saying: “We wanted to do England proud and I think we have…. We want to be role models. We hope girls are inspired to start playing at a younger age and try to get to a World Cup themselves.” These women are most definitely role models and they will hopefully help to make a very real difference that will be evident in the months and years to come.