Women’s World Cup will be best ever but is it because of or despite Fifa? | Kieran Pender

Over 45,000 fans loved the opening ceremony as France kicked off the event in style but will it be enough for the French public to overcome a reticence regarding the women’s game?

The Parisian weather failed to dampen a colourful opening to the Women’s World Cup on Friday, with the French musician Jain and nearly 300 performers delivering a message of empowerment to a sold-out Parc des Princes.

The 11-minute performance was laden with more political meaning than the average opening ceremony, which at most sporting events err towards fireworks and theatrics rather than pointed messages. But beginning with a video indicating football’s historically male focus and closing with artistic elements intended, in Fifa’s words, to echo “light and female empowerment”, it was immediately clear this World Cup would be no ordinary football tournament.

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