Women’s World Cup: Paddy’s guide to watching it with your da

Thought you liked football, m8?


The 2023 Women’s World Cup is just a few days away and with England among the favourites as reigning European Champions – are you watching, Sir Gareth? – Ireland qualifying for a first ever tournament, and the best the men’s game can muster at the moment being some MLS dross, this might be the perfect opportunity to introduce your da to women’s football.

However, enduring 90 minutes of your aul fella’s remarks might prove difficult. So, with that in mind, Paddy Power News has produced this beginner’s guide to watching women’s football with your da.

United States’ goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher concedes a goal during the France 2019 Women’s World Cup semi-final football match between England and USA, on July 2, 2019, at the Lyon Satdium in Decines-Charpieu, central-eastern France. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

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‘A Women’s World Cup?! It’s PC gone mad’

Your da might still think Keysey and Gray were stitched up or start frothing at the mouth when he sees – shock! horror! – a female pundit on TV, so you could have a hard time convincing him to watch a every game at the Women’s World Cup this year.

But it is football after all, so we suggest you sell it as an opportunity for you both to have a few cans watching the games. No da worth his salt would refuse the chance to guzzle beer for a whole month.

‘More VAR? The game’s gone’

There have been many rule changes in recent years that your da has disagreed with – banning the two-footed tackle from behind, for example, or stopping play when someone’s suffering a brain bleed. But none get him screaming ‘the game’s gone’ quite like VAR.

And to be fair to him, we’ve all been there – you’re celebrating an injury-time equaliser only for someone in Stockley Park to rule it out because a player’s nostril hair is deemed to have strayed into an offside position.

However, officials at the Women’s World Cup will announce VAR decisions via microphone to fans in stadiums and viewers at home for the first time at a senior FIFA international tournament. Meaning he should foam at the mouth a bit less while VAR silently draws lots of random squiggly lines on the screen.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 7: Alex Greenwood #6 of England moves to the ball during an international friendly game between England and USWNT at Wembley Stadium on October 7, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images).

‘Who’s gonna explain the offside rule?’

Even though your da might think the offside rule is as complex as Euler’s formula, male and female officials have been running the line across top level leagues for years and the rules are the same for everyone, so he has nothing to worry about there – although you’ll have to warn him he’ll see a lot less crying and rolling around the floor after tackles than he’s used to on Super Sunday.

‘What’s wrong with Saturday 3pm kick-offs?’

Remember the moaning your da did in 1994 and 2002 about kick-off times in the wee hours? Well, 2023 Women’s World Cup co-hosts Australia and New Zealand have spared Ireland and England any ungodly 4am kick-offs. Instead, you’ll be able to watch Ireland beat Australia in their group opener at 11am while eating a smashed avocado brunch – your da can even pour lager on his cornflakes if he wants.

‘Anyone but England’

If your da is not of the ‘It’s Coming Home’ persuasion, you can reassure him that seeing England women’s team falling flat on their faces in the latter stages of a tournament is every bit as satisfying as watching the men’s team lose.

And if you see the same unbridled joy on your da’s face when the Lionesses go out on penalties in the semis, then you’ll know the female game has reached parity with their male counterparts in his heart.

But as England are the reigning are among the pre-tournament favourites, it’s more likely he’ll spend the next couple of months in a bunker devoid of any contact with the outside world, which might not be the worst result, all things considered…

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