Saturday 22 December 2018, 09:53

Another year showcasing the magic of women's football

  • We interviewed numerous current and former players and coaches in 2018

  • Their answers show that football is much more than just a sport

  • A selection from our extensive portfolio of interviews

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ may have shaped the past year, but there were plenty of highlights in women's football as well. Two tournaments offered players the chance to showcase their talents on the global stage and demonstrate just how quickly the women's game is developing. The FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in France provided a view of what is to come in the senior competition next year, while Spain were crowned champions at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay. On top of that, the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ qualifying campaign drew to a close and the participating teams discovered who they will face in the group stage at the Draw on 8 December.

However, tournaments were not the only aspects of women's football to feature on We also conducted numerous interviews with current and former players and coaches, as well as important figures from the global game.

Transforming IR Iran's women's football

"The strength, the tenacity and the vibrant culture of these women here is what caught my attention. They were so fierce, so strong and I wanted to be one of them." Katayoun Khosrowyar is the first Iranian women to hold a FIFA 'A' coaching license

New role as Germany coach

"I'm well aware of how big a responsibility it is and I know it'll be an incredible opportunity. I'm looking forward to getting to know the players. I already know a few of them, but there are so many new, young, exciting players I can't wait to meet. I'm really looking forward to reconnecting with people I've worked with in the past." Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, who took charge of Germany's women's team following the conclusion of the France 2019 qualifying campaign

Nothing is impossible

"My opinion is that disabilities can’t be an obstacle for someone who wants to play football." Ivana Vlajic, women's football coordinator for the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation

Bigger picture

"I had to relearn to walk three times in two years, so that was tough. I spent months in a wheelchair, crutches, the lot. It’s just difficult because you build up and need a new surgery, then build up again before another one." Belgium's Yana Daniels was sidelined for two years with a serious knee injury

The magic of football

"To be honest, football is something that I simply find wonderful. Being a player in the stadium was my whole world. I felt free-spirited and liberated, and it was a feeling that I wanted to keep hold of. As a referee, I can sense the excitement and the emotions of the players, and feel what the spectators are feeling. It’s really special."

Eyes on the prize

"I handled my situation of being homeless pretty easily. I had football to focus on. I wanted to represent my country and I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way." England's Fara Williams was homeless for over six years

Winning trophies never gets old

"When the day comes where I no longer feel the emotion that I feel, that will and desire to want to be here every time, to be nominated among the best players, to compete for a prize that represents the ultimate level, if I don’t feel this desire anymore, if I don’t get nervous before coming to be interviewed here at the awards, or emotional during them, maybe it will be because the hour will have arrived for me to stop, and for football to stop being the centre of my being. But if I still feel all this on every occasion, it's because I really feel it. It’s my life, ever since I was six years old." Marta was named the best women's player in the world for a sixth time

Special moment for South African football

"There are so many footballers in South Africa who look up to players in the national team. We want to open doors for them. We want the world to see that South Africa has talent, and have the players to compete on the world stage." Refiloe Jane helped the Banyana Banyana qualify for the Women's World Cup

The curse of the champions?

"For so many in our squad, this will be their first World Cup and those new players bring a youthful energy that, speaking as a veteran, is really contagious. I can see the concern but, while the public and media might see us as ‘defending’ this title, for us it’s a totally new challenge with a new team and a new dynamic. Hunger won’t be an issue." USA captain Alex Morgan on her team's motivation ahead of France 2019