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The History of the FIFA Women’s World Cup

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The History of the FIFA Women's World Cup

FIFA Women’s World Cup Timeline: 1991‒2019

The ninth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup that kicked off this summer in Australia and New Zealand is expected to break records.

For the first time, 32 teams are competing at the premier international event for women’s soccer, up from 24 teams in the two prior editions. And according to FIFA, the tournament is already on pace to become the most attended women’s sports event in history, with over a million tickets already sold.

Eight countries are making their debut in the tournament after qualifying for the first time:

  • 🇵🇭 Philippines
  • 🇮🇪 Ireland
  • 🇿🇲 Zambia
  • 🇭🇹 Haiti
  • 🇻🇳 Vietnam
  • 🇵🇹 Portugal
  • 🇵🇦 Panama
  • 🇲🇦 Morocco

How has the tournament grown?

This graphic created by JVDW Designs explores the timeline of this tournament, from its origins with only 12 teams in 1991 to expansions during the 21st century.

The Origins of Women’s Soccer

Though there are reports of women’s soccer matches as early as the 1700s, the sport started to grow in popularity in 1895 thanks to the British Ladies’ Football Club (BLFC), one of the first women’s soccer clubs.

Despite receiving no support from soccer associations in the UK, the club held its inaugural match in London and then went on tour. They received a lot of attention in the press, both due to the sport itself and debates in Victorian England over women’s rights.

First match british ladies by paget

After gaining in popularity over the next decades and even drawing bigger crowds than men’s matches, England’s governing soccer association retaliated by banning women’s soccer in 1921. The stated reason was that “the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.”

Other countries followed suit over time, sidelining women’s soccer from France to Brazil. It wasn’t until the success of the 1966 Men’s World Cup in England, which set records for attendance and was the first to be broadcast to other continents, that England and then other countries in Europe re-established women’s soccer due to increased interest.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup

After multiple international tournaments in the 1970s and 1980s, FIFA finally organized the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in China in 1991.

At the outset, the athletes participating in the Women’s World Cup were not treated as professionals. In her 2019 book, sports journalist Caitlyn Murray details that uniforms were sometimes hand-me-downs from men’s teams, and accommodations during travel were far from luxurious. Notably, the tournament also lacked prize money until 2007.

In total, 35 different national teams have participated in at least one of the eight tournaments held through 2019. Here is the full list, with host countries noted in bold:

Country Women's World Cups Attended
🇺🇸 United States 1991, 1995,1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇸🇪 Sweden 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇧🇷 Brazil 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇳🇴 Norway 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇩🇪 Germany1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇯🇵 Japan 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇳🇬 Nigeria 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇨🇳 China1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015, 2019
🇨🇦 Canada1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇦🇺 Australia 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇳🇿 New Zealand 1991, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England 1995, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇩🇰 Denmark 1991, 1995, 1999, 2007
🇰🇵 North Korea1999, 2003, 2007, 2011
🇫🇷 France 2003, 2011, 2015, 2019
🇮🇹 Italy 1991, 1999, 2019
🇲🇽 Mexico 1999, 2011, 2015
🇦🇷 Argentina2003, 2007, 2019
🇰🇷 South Korea 2003, 2015, 2019
🇷🇺 Russia1999, 2003
🇨🇴 Colombia 2011, 2015
🇨🇲 Cameroon2015, 2019
🇳🇱 Netherlands 2015, 2019
🇪🇸 Spain2015, 2019
🇹🇭 Thailand 2015, 2019
🇹🇼 Taiwan 1991
🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea 2011
🇨🇷 Costa Rica 2015
🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire2015
🇪🇨 Ecuador 2015
🇨🇭 Switzerland 2015
🇨🇱 Chile 2019
🇯🇲 Jamaica2019
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland 2019
🇿🇦 South Africa 2019

From the onset, the U.S. emerged as dominant forces in the women’s game. They won the inaugural official tournament in 1991 and are one of just seven countries that have qualified for each edition of the Women’s World Cup from 1991 to 2019.

In total, the American side has won four FIFA Women’s World Cups so far. Throughout the tournament’s history, they’ve never finished lower than third place.

CountryChampionships
🇺🇸 United States4
🇩🇪 Germany2
🇳🇴 Norway 1
🇯🇵 Japan1

The all-time leading World Cup goal scorer, however, comes from Brazil. Marta Vieira da Silva, or “Queen Marta,” etched her name in history by scoring an impressive 17 goals across five World Cups for Brazil, surpassing the men’s World Cup goalscoring record of 16 goals.

As the ninth edition unfolds, the tournament’s growth and global appeal continue to soar. With an even brighter future in the cards for women’s soccer, the question remains: who will come out on top in the 2023 Women’s World Cup?

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Technology

How Tech Logos Have Evolved Over Time

From complete overhauls to more subtle tweaks, these tech logos have had quite a journey. Featuring: Google, Apple, and more.

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A cropped chart with the evolution of prominent tech companies’ logos over time.

How Tech Logos Have Evolved Over Time

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

One would be hard-pressed to find a company that has never changed its logo. Granted, some brands—like Rolex, IBM, and Coca-Cola—tend to just have more minimalistic updates. But other companies undergo an entire identity change, thus necessitating a full overhaul.

In this graphic, we visualized the evolution of prominent tech companies’ logos over time. All of these brands ranked highly in a Q1 2024 YouGov study of America’s most famous tech brands. The logo changes are sourced from 1000logos.net.

How Many Times Has Google Changed Its Logo?

Google and Facebook share a 98% fame rating according to YouGov. But while Facebook’s rise was captured in The Social Network (2010), Google’s history tends to be a little less lionized in popular culture.

For example, Google was initially called “Backrub” because it analyzed “back links” to understand how important a website was. Since its founding, Google has undergone eight logo changes, finally settling on its current one in 2015.

CompanyNumber of
Logo Changes
Google8
HP8
Amazon6
Microsoft6
Samsung6
Apple5*

Note: *Includes color changes. Source: 1000Logos.net

Another fun origin story is Microsoft, which started off as Traf-O-Data, a traffic counter reading company that generated reports for traffic engineers. By 1975, the company was renamed. But it wasn’t until 2012 that Microsoft put the iconic Windows logo—still the most popular desktop operating system—alongside its name.

And then there’s Samsung, which started as a grocery trading store in 1938. Its pivot to electronics started in the 1970s with black and white television sets. For 55 years, the company kept some form of stars from its first logo, until 1993, when the iconic encircled blue Samsung logo debuted.

Finally, Apple’s first logo in 1976 featured Isaac Newton reading under a tree—moments before an apple fell on his head. Two years later, the iconic bitten apple logo would be designed at Steve Jobs’ behest, and it would take another two decades for it to go monochrome.

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