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Thursday, July 7, 2011


At the time of writing, the group stages of the Women's World Cup 2011 are reaching their conclusion. Yet, there are those female footballers who will never come within a country mile of playing in such a tournament as their nations are not members of FIFA or, for example, UEFA. A couple of hundred or so of them came together in the last week of June to participate in the NatWest Island Games 2011 women's football tournament.

The women's competition has been an integral part of the Island Games since 2001, when the first tournament was won by the Faroes in the Isle of Man. The Faroese team went on to win the second and third versions of the tournament in 2003 and 2005. They then stepped aside to participate in FIFA-sanctioned tournaments, just as their male counterparts had done in 1990.

Since then, the competition had been the sole preserve of the Finnish archipelago of Aland, and the islands' women's team made it a hat-trick of triumphs this time round by winning the 2011 version (to go with their 2007 and 2009 triumphs), which, like the men's version, took place on the Isle of Wight. The final was held last Friday in Cowes, and the Aland girls comprehensively beat their counterparts from the Isle of Man by 5 goals to 1.

Jade Burden had actually put the Manx ladies who were freescoring in their winning of Group B earlier in the competition) in front inside four minutes, but by half-time, the Finns, winners of Group A, were 4:1 in front thanks to a brace from Adelina Engman, plus goals from Lisa Klingberg and Emma Liljegren. An own-goal by the hapless Stephanie Hall in the 57th minute put the gloss on a fine performance by the team from the Baltic archipelago.

The third-place play-off saw a confrontation between the Western Isles and Greenland, and the Arctic women's team achieved something that the Greenlandic men's team have not yet succeeded in doing - they finished in third place after a goal from Karoline Malakiassen with 15 minutes to go saw off the Hebrideans' challenge.

In total, ten teams took part this time, including the aforementioned four. As far as the minor placings were concerned, the hosts from the Isle of Wight finished fifth after beating Saaremaa 2:0. Gotland, who had finished bottom of a very tight Group C, finished seventh after beating the third team in Group A, Jersey, by the odd goal in three. Gibraltar, who had finished bottom of Group B and had failed to find the net while conceding 17 goals in the process, ended taking the wooden-spoon back to the rock with them after losing 5:0 to Hitra, who had finished a very distant last in Group A.

However, the glory this time round belonged to Aland for the third time in a row, and they must surely be among the favourites to capture the Island Games crown in July 2013, when the tournament takes place in Bermuda. The home team will be looking to win the competition for the first time after finishing in the bronze-medal position in 2005 and 2007. Bermuda did not take part in the 2009 tournament.

One team who will not be taking part is the side representing the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island. The island's women's teams finished runners-up to Aland in its only Island Games appearance, in Rhodes in 2007, but did not take part in the 2009 tournament, which was held in Aland. The island gave up its membership of the IGA this year, citing financial problems.

A summary of the results is to be found below.



26/6/11 Aland 5:0 Jersey (Shanklin)
26/6/11 Hitra 0:3 Isle of Wight (East Cowes)
27/6/11 Jersey 6:1 Hitra (Ryde)
27/6/11 Isle of Wight 1:1 Aland (Brading)
28/6/11 Isle of Wight 2:2 Jersey (Cowes)
28/6/11 Aland 6:0 Hitra (Cowes)
FINAL GROUP POSITIONS: 1 Aland (7 points); 2 Isle of Wight (5 points); 3 Jersey (4 points); 4 Hitra (0 pointS)


26/6/11 Isle of Man 9:0 Gibraltar (Shanklin)
27/6/11 Isle Of Man 3:1 Greenland (Ryde)
28/6/11 Greenland 8:0 Gibraltar (Cowes)

FINAL GROUP POSITIONS: 1 Isle of Man (6 points); 2 Greenland (3 points); 3 Gibraltar (0 points)


26/6/11 Gotland 0:0 Saaremaa (Ryde)
27/6/11 Saaremaa 0:2 Western Isles (Shanklin)
28/6/11 Gotland 0:0 Western Isles (Brading)
FINAL GROUP POSITIONS: 1 Western Isles (4 points); 2 Gotland (2 points); 3 Saaremaa (1 point)


30/6/11 5th/6th Saaremaa 0:2 Isle of Wight (Cowes)
30/6/11 7th/8th Jersey 1:2 Gotland (Ryde)
30/6/11 9th/10th Hitra 5:0 Gibraltar (Cowes)


30/6/11 Aland 6:1 Greenland (East Cowes)
30/6/11 Isle of Man 4:0 Western Isles (Newport)

1/7/11 Greenland 1:0 Western Isles (East Cowes)


1/7/11 ALAND 5:1 Isle of Man (Cowes)



RUNNERS-UP: Isle of Man
3RD: Greenland
4TH: Western Isles
5TH: Isle of Wight
6TH: Saaremaa
7TH: Gotland
8TH: Jersey
9TH: Hitra
10TH: Gibraltar


2001 FAROE ISLANDS/Aland/Jersey
2003 FAROE ISLANDS/Gotland
2005 FAROE ISLANDS/Aland/Bermuda
2007 ALAND/Prince Edward Island/Bermuda
2009 ALAND/Gotland/Isle of Man
2011 ALAND/Isle of Man/Greenland
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks once again go to Kay Batty from the IGA for granting permission to publish the statistical information contained in this bl.

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