If you missed the game live, find the highlights of the draw between Sweden and Nigeria in the Women’s World Cup. The match was fantastically entertaining, as most 3-3 draws tend to be, but pay particular attention to some of the post-goal celebrations from the Nigerians.
There’s such exuberance to them, such sincerity.
Some people enjoy women’s football, some don’t - and that’s fine - but it would be difficult for anybody to dispute that the competition has a freshness to it and a sporting purity which is very refreshing.
Because many of the players at Canada 2015 are unused to playing in front of a global television audience, most of them are clearly embracing the novelty of appearing on such a large stage. In combination with the natural gravitas of a World Cup, it’s producing some wonderfully authentic moments and, if there’s one quality the tournament has so far had in spades, it’s emotional authenticity.
Beyond that one game, most of the others have possessed the same quality. Because men’s football is so popular and because the players have got so used to their own ubiquity, it has naturally become a bit more inhibited. The stars are more aware of their brand and image and a lot of their actions can consequently be quite contrived.
In Canada there’s none of that - or at least there’s very little. Players respond wildly to equalising goals and joyfully to winners and there isn’t a ‘trademarked’ celebration or choreographed routine in sight.
That’s how football is supposed to look. At the point at which games are decided, it’s meant to have a slightly chaotic quality and it should make television viewers smile to themselves.
To talk of this World Cup having an innocence might sound patronising and may appear like an attempt to belittle the competition’s standard, but that’s not the intent. Rather, there’s just something very relatable to the spirit with which the games are played: a very real and likeable quality.