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Women's Football World Cup

The 2011 women's World Cup was brilliant. The level of football was superb and some of the dramatic results captivating. Australia did well but suffered from several defensive lapses. The story of the tournament was Japan though. After the natural disasters in their country earlier this year they claimed the title in amazing fashion.

Australia's tournament began against Brazil - a tough gig, but they played well, losing narrowly 0-1. They scored their first win (3-2) against Equatorial Guinea, but made a couple of defensive errors that nearly cost them dearly. Needing only a draw in their final match it was another defensive error that saw them fall behind 0-1 to Norway. Eventually they fought their way back to 1-1 before clinching it late to win 2-1. Into the quarter finals again.

The match against Sweden was a disaster. Most distressingly we failed to learn from our mistakes in the round matches. Poor defense lead to two early goals. We battled hard and thanks to a wonderful strike from Ellyse Perry went into the break 1-2 down. In the second half we worked hard and it looked doable before a final calamitous defensive error saw us go down 1-3. Disaster. The young players deserve credit for a good tournament, but we should have done better. We moved into the top 10 of the FIFA ranks on the back of this.

Japan were a delight. They defeated the reigning champions, pinching a goal and somehow keeping the Germans out. The took apart Sweden 3-1 after initially going behind. They battled hard against the USA and twice came back from a goal behind before taking it out in a penalty shootout. Their joy was palpable. Good luck to them.

The standard of football has improved dramatically. Comparing it to men's football is perhaps unfair but inevitable. The skill and technique on display was excellent and the power has definitely increased. Goalkeeping, a weakness in the past in my view, has definitely improved. Well worth watching.