German World Cup winning player Nia Kuenzer believes a first-time winner could take home the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The German, who famously scored a ‘golden goal’ against Sweden in the 2003 World Cup final to secure victory, believes a number of teams have a chance of glory, along with her home nation. In an interview with Laureus.com, the former Germany and FFC Frankfurt defender, said: ‘France, Sweden and Canada – have good opportunities to win the title. So it’s absolutely possible to celebrate a first time winner.’
When questioned on her home country’s chances at the tournament, and their potential to lift the trophy for a third time, Kuenzer said: ‘I’m sure that we will complete the group stage successfully. After that every match is like a final – you have to reach the maximum to go on further. Especially the quarter-final where we will probably face France; that could be a key match.’ She highlighted to two French stars, Camille Abily and Eugenie Le Sommer as players to watch, along with the US stars Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd and Sweden’s Lotta Schelin and Caroline Seger. She said: ‘I think the condition to be a star player is that you are playing in a successful team, so Marta, for example, who is undoubtedly one of the star players is dependent on a good team performance and I don`t see Brazil at the top this year.’
In a wide-ranging interview ahead of the seventh FIFA Women’s World Cup, Kuenzer also spoke about the rise in the influence and awareness of women’s football around the world. Kuenzer says: ‘I think we have all reasons to be happy with the growth of women’s football. In former times it was unusual that girls play football but today it is normality. So the popularity of women’s football grows from the roots and that’s why it is constant and continuous. Our sport is by now firmly established in the society and more and more girls are interested in and play football. Sure that’s not a reason to lean back – women’s football has to develop further in the future. We are not a copy of men’s football.’ Kuenzer also spoke about the importance of sports stars giving time back to inspire youth and the pride she takes in her role as a Laureus Ambassador.
She said: ‘Social commitment is very important for me and I want to share my experiences as a professional football player with young people. Sports can play a key role in integration, it teaches values and respect and that’s why I’m very excited with my role as Laureus Ambassador.’