The first edition of Weekly Women in the World has a look at the women’s Ballon d’Or shortlist, Australian Matildas ranked 10th in the world, USA qualifying for the World Cup and Canada’s struggle to find form.

Ballon d’Or shortlist announcement
Former recipients Nadine Angerer, Germany’s star goalkeeper, and US-all-time leading goalscorer Abby Wambach have both been nominated for the shortlist of FIFA’s Ballon d’Or award for best female footballer in the world.

Angerer was the most recent recipient of the award, having claimed the title of best footballer in 2014, while Wambach took out the 2013 title.

The 10 nominees that have been put on the shortlist also include World Cup winner Nahomi Kawasumi from Japan, 2006 winner Marta, who plays for Brazil, and another German, Nadine Kessler.

Veronica Boquete of Spain, Nilla Fischer of Sweden, Aya Miyama of Japan, Louisa Necib of France and Lotta Schelin of Sweden have also been nominated on the list, but many are already tipping Angerer and Wambach as the front-runners.

The top coaches nominated for the award also include Norio Sasaki of Japan and Asako Takemoto that coaches the under-17s Japanese side.

The award will be award to the best female football player in the world at the beginning of next year, January 12th, in Zurich, months before the World Cup where the winner can show why they are so deserving of the award.

Australian Matildas announced 10th in new rankings
Since the last FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking was released, the Westfield Matildas that represent Australia nationally dropped one rank to 10th overall in the world.

Norway has overtaken them for the ninth place position after a being involved in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers, and many are claiming that it is fair considering Norway are the former world and Olympic champions.

The Westfield Matildas now sit at 10th on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, a drop of one place since the last figures were announced in June.

The Matildas are second only to current world champions Japan in the AFC nations of the list, who themselves are currently ranked as the third best team in the world.

Germany and the USA have claimed the top two positions in the rankings, having made incredible headway in the qualifiers and are preparing to take the 2015 World Cup by storm.

The next chance for Australia to move up the rankings is December 19th, a full two weeks after the World Cup’s draw is announced for Canada, where Australia will be looking to prove that they should be ranked higher than 9th in the world.

USA’s qualifying win over Mexico
PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania saw Carli Lloyd take Team USA to a 3-0 victory over the Mexican national team to qualify for the 2015 World Cup.

Lloyd herself managed to net two first-half goals that set the tempo of the American girls and the national team coach Jill Ellis said after the game that Lloyd scoring had been the key part of their plan.

“We try to get her closest to the goal in areas we think she’d be more dangerous, and obviously she’s producing,” Ellis said to the Age.

The second goal from Lloyd came from a penalty kick in the 30th minute that gave USA the lead they needed to dominate the game.

Ellis was also pleased with the performance of star forward Abby Wambach, who only came off the bench in the 62nd minute, forced onto the bench only because of the incredible depth of the USA side.

“I’ve said from day one we have a lot of depth and so I think I can look at certain games and select tactically and personnel based on how I see the game,” Ellis said.

“So I mean, yeah, based on what I thought and what I felt, we wanted her to come off the bench. And she’s been fantastic. Her role on and off the field. She’s been superb.”

USA now look to play Costa Rica in the final of the CONCACAF final in the national competition this weekend. Regardless of the fact that USA has already qualified for the World Cup, Carli Llloyd refuses to take the game lightly.

“For me, it’s a final and a final we’re going to win,” Lloyd said.

“We want to win decisively. This was a great win, we’re heading to Canada, but we got one more and we want to win.”

Costa Rica has also secured a qualification for the 2015 World Cup when they won their position in the CONCACAF finals alongside the USA.

Canada preparing for the World Cup
Canadian boss John Herdman is not simply interested in hosting the 2015 Women’s World Cup – he’s planning on taking down the whole tournament.

The head coach has been lining up exhibition matches against the topsides in the world in preparation for the national event, and the first of these challenges comes in the form of top AFC nation Japan, who they faced this weekend.

“This is a really important game for us,” Herdman told the Edmonton Sun on Thursday.

“We’ve lined up Tier 1 opposition all year and we’ve brought Tier 1 opposition to Canada. We’ve had Germany, the U.S.A. here and to bring Japan here, we have a number of thoroughbreds that can win the World Cup.

“Japan are the reigning World Cup champions, they won a silver medal at the Olympics. We know they’re going to be in the final four somewhere (at next World Cup), so if you’re going to win a World Cup, you have to do it against Japan or the U.S. or Germany.”

There are many that consider the Japanese women’s’ national team the equivalent of Spain or the Netherlands when comparing them to a men’s national team.

“They’re a great team, I love watching the Japanese,” Herdman said.

“Certainly in 2011, they took the women’s game to a new level in terms of their technical capacities. Just how they played the game is amazing.”

“I think they’re everyone’s second-favourite team because of their style. I think when you play against Japan, you know that the ball will be moved quickly.”

Herdman is also going to take the chance to evaluate the players that he has available to him for the competition, and make sure that his starting eleven is the strongest that it can be.

“You’re always in an evaluation process with the players. They have to maintain a podium standard now, eight months out from a Women’s World Cup at home, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Herdman said.

“On and off the pitch they have to maintain that standard. I think what the players are saying the magnifying glass is definitely being put over them.”

“They know that those high performance behaviou​rs have to be there day in and day out to put this team on this podium in Canada.”

“I’ve worked for three years working with players, looking at youngsters, giving them opportunity. Now we’re getting closer. This squad that you see now is getting closer to the one you’ll see at the World Cup.”

Read about the news of the women’s footballing world every Sunday right here with Isaac McIntyre, in the WWW column, including news on the Canadian Women’s World Cup, the Australian W-League, the British FA WSL, the American NWSL and a whole lot more!

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