Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Two days before Real Madrid and Juventus clash in the Champions League final, the women’s showpiece will be played in Cardiff on Thursday with holders Lyon taking on French rivals Paris Saint-Germain.
The match, to be played at the Cardiff City Stadium, across the Welsh capital from the Principality Stadium where the men will lock horns, will feature a host of leading female players led by US superstar Alex Morgan.
But there will be nothing like the same level of global interest, with the women’s game as a whole still lacking anything like the same profile, even with much increased investment and interest in recent years.
On the eve of the final, Lyon coach Gerard Precheur was left fuming after traffic jams meant his pre-game press conference was late in starting.
“Would that have happened with the boys? I don’t think so,” he raged.
“We had problems with the UEFA shuttle, which was an hour late. We waited 45 minutes in the hotel lobby when we have work to do.
“We don’t have the time to waste when we are professionals.”
Lyon, who signed World Cup winner and former Olympic champion Morgan earlier this season, are appearing in the final for the sixth time in a competition that was inaugurated in 2001, and they have won it three times so far.
Last year they beat Wolfsburg on penalties in a final played in Italy, and a successful title defence will see them equal FFC Frankfurt’s record of four titles.
“We can win two consecutive trebles. No one has ever done that, that is great motivation,” said Precheur, who will step down after the game to be replaced by former France midfielder Reynald Pedros.
Lyon have utterly dominated at home in recent years and are fresh from winning an 11th consecutive French title and a sixth straight French Cup.
Their only league defeat came against PSG in December but they won 3-0 when the sides met in the league three weeks ago and triumphed on penalties in the French Cup final.
“Lyon are favourites, because they are the best team in the world,” said PSG’s Spanish star Vero Boquete.
“Over the course of a season, it is practically impossible to beat them. But we know it is possible, because we have done it.”
Lyon beat Manchester City in the semi-finals to secure a berth in the final.
PSG have emerged as a force in the women’s game under the club’s Qatari owners and boast stars like Brazil’s Cristiane and Costa Rican midfielder Shirley Cruz.
They lost the 2015 final but are hoping to go one step further this time after ousting Bayern Munich in the last eight and Barcelona in the semis.
Their coach Patrice Lair has already won the trophy with Lyon and admitted he is now dreaming of becoming the first person to coach PSG to a Champions League crown.
Nobody at the club needs reminding of the men’s miserable defeat to Barcelona in the last 16 this season.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Rangers and Frankfurt roll back the years for retro Europa League final
- Klopp confident Salah, Van Dijk fit for Champions League final
- Newcastle blow up Arsenal’s Champions League dream
- Clint Dempsey joins FOX Sports for World Cup 2022 coverage
- Newcastle blow up Arsenal’s Champions League dreams
- Chiellini says goodbye to Juve fans as last-gasp Lazio make Europa League
- Blackpool’s Daniels ends 32-year wait for gay UK male footballer to come out
- Liverpool assess Salah, Van Dijk ahead of Southampton clash
- African players in Europe: Mane has last laugh on Mendy
- Anti-homophobia group demands PSG explain Gueye absence