This year’s Women's World Cup has been described as the most important in history. Kicking off in Paris on Friday, it certainly promises to be the best yet. Never before has there been such a wealth of talent or as many title contenders and never before has women's football had such a platform. The four-week competition in France offers an opportunity to change attitudes, to push the drive for equality farther forward. Twenty years after the record-breaking 1999 Women's World Cup which propelled the women's game into wider consciousness, the next month provides an opportunity to not only build on those foundations but to surpass the achievements of the 1999 groundbreakers.
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Global stars will emerge over the course of the 52 games as a bigger audience than ever tune in to watch more countries than ever compete for the prestigious prize. In April, FIFA said ticket sales were "smashing records." The opening match in the Parc de Princes and the semifinals and finals at the Stade de Lyon were sold out within 48 hours of going on sale. Such is the focus on the tournament, it leaves former players wishing they could play again.
The rise of women's football is the result of many reasons, the biggest arguably being societal change, and now FIFA is adding its voice. The governing body has said it wants women's participation to double to 60 million worldwide by 2026, and that the women's game offers vast untapped opportunities. Female footballers are more visible and powerful than ever before, while the women's game has certainly advanced, but for how long they will have to fight for equality will depend on how the world looks back on France 2019.
(Adapted from edition.cnn.com)