Poyet impressed by quality on display at groundbreaking Women's World Cup

By Sports Desk August 19, 2023

Gus Poyet has been impressed by the quality on display at this year's Women's World Cup and believes the tournament will inspire the next generation of women's football stars.

The expanded 32-team tournament in Australia and New Zealand has caught the imaginations of many, while a first-time winner is guaranteed ahead of Sunday's final between Spain and England.

Both host nations have posted record attendances for women's games, with Australia playing in front of three 75,784-strong crowds at Sydney's Stadium Australia and 43,217 watching Spain's semi-final victory over Sweden in Auckland.

The global competition has also been characterised by headline-making upsets, with Germany and Brazil suffering surprise group-stage exits as Morocco and Jamaica advanced at their expense. 

Speaking to Stats Perform ahead of the showpiece between Spain and England, former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder Poyet hailed the tournament as a triumph.

"With respect to the other girls, when you see the best players playing, that's it," Poyet said. "That's football. 

"I think we need to be realistic and it is simple when you have a number of people playing football… men play football – I don't know how many – all over the world. 

"You can choose from those quantities, [there are] so many people to make so many clubs and so many competitions all over the world, that is why they keep going. Second division, third division… you go to England and it is National League, local leagues, Sunday League…

"But for the girls, they didn't play football that much in the last 40 years, quantity-wise. Then it is very difficult to find a way to make all these clubs play at the same level we are watching at the World Cup. 

"It is time, I think we need to give them time but the football that we saw, the goals we have seen, the ability of certain players, is nice to see. 

"We don't need to ask too much, too quickly. We need to take time, I think they need time and it is going to be part of life for everyone nowadays. 

"If you have a daughter, they will say that they want to play football and it will be natural. 

"When we were young it was different. There were a few [top players], but not the quantity that women's football needs. But it's nice to see that the quality is there."

Sarina Wiegman's Lionesses are looking to become just the second team – after Germany in 2003 and 2007 – to win the Women's World Cup as reigning European champions.

It will be the first meeting between England and Spain at the Women's World Cup, with the Lionesses losing just two of their previous 13 matches against La Roja across all competitions (W7 D4), including a 2-1 quarter-final win at last year's European Championships.

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