A film depicts the women’s World Cup breaking records

More than 100,000 people saw an unauthorized women’s football World Cup in 1971, but it was swiftly forgotten. The amazing tale of the competition and the disappointment that followed is now told in a new movie. According to captain Carol Wilson, the English players felt as though they were “launched into a parallel universe” upon their arrival in Mexico. She was used to being ignored, ostracized, and made fun of at home, much like other female football players. A small number of people watched them perform on park pitches. The Football Association had recently lifted a fifty-year prohibition on women’s participation in the sport. Thus, the participants were unprepared for the welcome they encountered in the nation hosting the competition.


Photographers and hundreds of Mexican fans were in line. “We went from nothing to flashlights that blinded you once we got off the plane,” Wilson says. “And it didn’t stop for the whole five weeks that we were there.” They received superstar treatment, with throngs of people camped outside their hotel, hounding their team coach, and begging for autographs. Wilson goes on, “The people took us right to their hearts.” “They simply trailed us around.” Everyone made us feel very welcome. To truly convey to you how that actually was, I am personally unable to put it into words.”


In a 2019 BBC piece, the tale of England’s “Lost Lionesses” was presented. Copa 71, a documentary, now sheds light on the competition. Tennis legend Serena Williams, who is also an executive producer along with her sister Venus, narrates the introduction of the movie. The co-director of the movie, Rachel Ramsay, describes the two as “two of the greatest female athletes of all time and are both heavily involved in activism and in wanting to promote stories which deepen our understanding of the history of women’s sport”. According to Ramsay, the movie provides a peek of a “parallel universe” where women’s football was not prohibited.

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