Ever since the FIFA Women’s World Cup was established in 1991, we have witnessed as this tournament keeps evolving and getting better with every edition, from crowd attendances to the support and attention the competition is receiving across the globe.
The Inaugural tournament was contested by 12 teams, who went head-to-head in 24 games to earn the bragging rights of being called the FIFA Women’s World Cup champions. Eight editions later the tournament has doubled the number and is now being contested by 24 teams.
Every edition has given birth to new female stars. Carin Jennings from the United State paved the way and inspired a generation of aspiring female football stars. Carin became the first recipient of the Golden Ball at the 1991 FIFA World Women’s Cup, which is an award that honours the best player of the tournament. Her teammate Michelle Akers was the lead scorer of the tournament.
After these phenomenal female footballers we witnessed as every edition of the competition produced stars. Below is a list of all the golden ball and golden boot recipients from 1995 to 2015.
In 1995 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup that was hosted by Sweden (First European nation to host this tournament) and won by Norway. Hege Riise from Norway was the star of the tournament as she walked away with the Golden ball award and her teammate Ann Kristin Aarones emerged as the competition’s top goal scorer.
The 1999 tournament which was hosted by the United States who went on to clinch their second title and their first on home soil, is regarded as one of the biggest editions of the women’s world cup. It was the first time that the tournament was contested by 16 teams and having an overall attendance of 1 199 221, an attendance larger than the previous two editions. China missed out on the trophy however their star player Sun Wen walked away with both the Golden ball and Golden boot (shared between her and Sissi of Brazil).
The USA became the first nation to host the FIFA Women’s World cup back-to-back as they hosted the 2003 tournament. Germany came out victorious and were crowned champions. Birgit Prinz who played a big role in Germany’s triumph, walked away with both the top goal scorer and best player of the tournament honours.
The 2007 FIFA Women’s World went back to China where the inaugural tournament was hosted. Germany were crowned champions for the second time, becoming the second nation to achieve this milestone after the USA who were champions in 1991 and 1999. Marta da Silva of Brazil emerged as the best player of the tournament receiving both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot.
Previously the FIFA Women’s World cup only honoured The Top goal scorer (Golden boot) and the best player of the tournament (Golden ball).
The 2011 tournament saw two more awards added to honour the best goalkeeper of the tournament (Golden Glove) and the best rising star of the tournament (Best Young player). Germany became the second European nation to host the Women’s World Cup and Japan became the first Asian nation to win the title, with Homare Sawa emerging as the recipient of both the Golden ball and Golden boot award.
The seventh edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup which was hosted by Canada in 2015 and won by the USA (for their third title) is known as the history tournament because, for the first time the competition was contested by 24 teams, and it remains as the tournament with the most goals as well as the biggest overall attendance.
Carli Lloyd of the USA walked away with the Golden ball award and matched Germany’s Celia Sasic’s goal tally however Sasic eventually clinched the Golden boot based on the competition rules.
The stage is set and the question is; who will make the headlines, inspire a generation of upcoming female footballers and become the star of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup?