Women hope for Olympic effect to last

Promising future for game in Britain despite premature exit for Hope Powell's Team GB

If the concepts of legacy and sustainability have not fallen into utter disrepute as a result of the BBC's wonderful "Twenty Twelve" satire, they are now the focus for women's football in Britain. After the bitter disappointment of producing their worst performance in the most important match and losing Friday's quarter-final 2-0 to Canada, Great Britain are out of the Olympic tournament and may never take part in another one; just as much as the men, they would face logistical problems as the World Cup, with separate home nations, is used as the qualifying competition.

What matters now is building on the interest created over the four games played. The new Football Association Women's Super League, played as a summer competition and suspended for the duration of the Olympics, resumes on Wednesday week, with most of the GB squad involved. Next month Hope Powell, the GB coach, returns to her day job in charge of the England team, who will qualify for next summer's European Championships if they win their final group match against Croatia at a Midlands venue still to be announced. In both cases, it will be interesting to see the effect on attendances of a night like the epic 1-0 victory over Brazil in front of 70,584 last week. Had GB won on Friday, the belief was that they might have attracted even more to Old Trafford tomorrow for a semi-final against the tournament favourites, the United States.

Missing that opportunity for further exposure, as much as passing up a medal chance, was one of the greatest disappointments for Powell. "We've raised the awareness and profile of women's football and staying in would have helped us elevate it even more," she said. "We have to take the positive from it. We hope people who supported GB will want to support women's football in the future. People are now aware that it's a fantastic product."

Many will have been surprised by the quality of passing and control demonstrated over the fortnight since Great Britain literally kicked off the Games with their opening win over New Zealand. The introduction of the Super League, as well as Champions' League football in Europe, has improved standards, and lighter modern footballs make dependence on physical strength less important than technique. The average height of the GB starting XI on Friday was under 5ft 7in and the continuing success of an even smaller Japan squad emphasises the point. The Japanese, defending world champions, will be expected to beat France tomorrow and contest the final against whoever comes through the North American derby in the other semi-final, when players like Canada's midfielder Desiree Scott, aka "the Destroyer", will prove that women's football is still a contact sport.

According to Karen Carney, the GB, England and Birmingham City winger, spectators disillusioned with the men's game may come to find the FAWSL an attractive proposition. "We get a lot of positive feedback saying we don't dive, we don't swear as much as the men, so if that's something they like, we have to continue to do that and be respectful," she said, adding of the strong British penalty claim late in Friday's game: "Even if we had harassed the referee, she wouldn't have given it, so why bother? My mother taught me from 12 years old to show referees respect. I want to be a good role model for my five-year-old niece and I took her out on the pitch afterwards to enjoy the Olympic experience. It's about a legacy, and I look at her and it's about her and all the other girls like her."

The FAWSL website has as its main item "Find A Club" and suggests "Perhaps you're the next Casey Stoney, Steph Houghton or Eniola Aluko". The last word late on Friday at Coventry went to Canada's English coach John Herdman, who coached New Zealand for five years. He said: "Hope has done a phenomenal job in her 15-year tenure and with the elite structure that's been put in place here. You've seen people catch the bug. The need now is to seize the moment and hope the interest doesn't disappear."

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
News
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual televised question-and-answer session
peopleBizarre TV claim
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit