Top teams insist on home-grown

By Ruth Maclean, BBC News Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. As home and away teams battle it out in the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup, the debate is raging…

Top teams insist on home-grown

By Ruth Maclean, BBC News

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. As home and away teams battle it out in the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup, the debate is raging on about who actually represents Team GB. As it happens, there are more than 90 countries who compete internationally – each has its own team, and they are largely based on the country’s geography. Athletes like Serena Williams of the USA, Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Russia’s Vera Zvonareva are based on the Atlantic coast. But we are also presented with a picture of a football-mad nation, where even women’s football – at its global level – is played in stadiums constructed and operated by the country which has committed the most money to the sport. But what does it mean to be based on the other side of the world? Name: France, Rugby Union – Six Nations Rugby Union Six Nations Form of sport: England has 7,753 members, France 1,075 Members of England Rugby Union XV: Winger Dani Welham is one of the few women in the England team to hail from France. Using her first name only, she says: “My background is English but my mum is French. My sister is French so we are called Anne and Simon at home. “I came to England because I was 16, studying at college in Swindon. It was the England team I wanted to follow. “I thought if I could be part of the England team the whole world would know I was English, and everyone could be proud of me.” Ms Welham says if players came up against a player from France, they would move on: “I wouldn’t hold it against France’s team, I would hold it against the French team. You have to adapt to the sport. And I think every team has to adapt when the games happen, because there is no point wearing a different kit just for the sake of it.” Name: USA – Football (women) – Women’s World Cup, USMNT, Women’s World Cup Form of sport: Rowing, basketball, volleyball Female athletes: Gabby Douglas is part of the USA women’s football team She says the competition abroad has helped women in her country to get a foot in the door of the game. The women’s football team have travelled to the Women’s World Cup in Germany, and Gabby Douglas is part of the USA women’s football team. Gabby Douglas is part of the USA women’s football team She said: “I was one of the first girls that picked up a ball and had a go when I was six or seven and it didn’t come so easily. But I kept at it and eventually I became a six-time national champion in volleyball, then I was a pro-shooter for a while in my younger years. “I thought that I was going to spend the rest of my life in the middle. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter where you come from. If you’re good, you’re good. “We are just really, really excited about the Women’s World Cup. It’s going to be a real blow out. Most of our players are from schools and I think we have a good team.” Ms Douglas said she was not sure whether she was good enough to represent the USA. She said: “I feel I am better than the majority of women’s players. But I think if I were given the opportunity, I would just hope that the coaching staff would pick me on merit.” Name: Germany – Football (men) – Men’s Bundesliga Form of sport: Rugby Union Form of sport: Tennis

Tennis Player: Daniela Hantuchova says she could never play in the women’s game But Daniela Hantuchova says she could never really have played in the women’s game because of the sport her mother had brought her up on: Tennis. But she was part of the German women’s football team for eight years and has been in the men’s Bundesliga for two years. She said: “There is just the time. I am 32, I have a four-year-old son, and with the first child most things are put to the side and a lot of things change in a positive way, so we are thinking about how much time we can take on before we give the children our space and how much we can try to preserve our retirement.” Name: Spain – Soccer (women) – Women’s World Cup Form of sport: Water Polo Form of sport: Rowing, sailing, gymnastics

Rowing: Under-18s

Gymnastics: Team, individual

Sailing: KPN Trophy, European Youth Championships Olympic water polo player Krista Szabados is based in the Netherlands. “The initial desire to go to training sessions was half my family comes from there,” she says. “I used to

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