|The German team celebrate after winning the FIFA 2003 Women's World Cup
In the UK women have had a long, and ongoing, struggle to overcome prejudice and lack of opportunities to play football. What’s the story in other part of the world?
In the USA there is a women’s professional league. Many talented young players from the UK have gone to the US to take up football scholarships at universities due to the better opportunities to pursue an academic education and develop their football talent as well. There are also professional women’s leagues in Italy, Australia (the W-League), a few professional players in Sweden and Japan and some semi-professional players in Germany. In England, the Football Association is aiming to set up an 8-team professional women's league in 2011.
Germany are the current World Champions, beating Brazil 2-0 in the final held in China in 2007. They also won the previous FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2003 with a 2-1 win over Sweden in the final in the USA.
Germany have also won the last 5 UEFA European Women’s Championships. England had their most successful campaign yet in 2009, reaching the final, before succumbing 6-2 to the Germans.
Current Olympic champions are the USA who beat Brazil in the final in Beijing in 2008.
Current Asian champions are Korea DPR who won the biannual AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Women's Asian Cup in 2008 with a 2-1 win over China in the final.
In September 2005 Pakistan held its first national women’s football championship, won by Punjab. This has now become an established competition with the 2009 champions being a team from Iran who were invited to take part.
In both 2005 and 2007, Jordan beat Iran in the final of the West Asian Football Federation Women's Championship. Iran played in hijab and long trousers; Jordan wore shorts and played with their heads uncovered.