U.S. and France dominate FIFPro first women's world XI
Four footballers from World Cup holders the United States and three from France figure in the first women's World XI, selected by their fellow professionals following a campaign for players to receive the same recognition as their male counterparts.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo, defenders Meghan Klingenberg and Julie Johnston and midfielder Carli Lloyd - current world player of the year - are included in the team chosen by footballers from 33 countries, FIFPro, the global players' association, said on Thursday.
The representatives from France, knocked out by Germany in the quarter-finals of the 2015 tournament, are Wendie Renard, Amandine Henry and Eugenie Le Sommer. Also included are Germany's Anja Mittag, who plays in France for PSG, and Celia Sasic, who announced her retirement after the World Cup, is also included.
The team is completed by 20-year-old Canadian Kadeisha Buchanan, who plays for her university side, West Virginia Mountaineers, in the U.S.A Big 12 Conference, and Aya Miyama, World Cup runners-up Japan's sole representative.
The selection of a female team by FIFPro members is regarded as a significant milestone for women's football.
"This is a great step forward in terms of equality, respect and recognition," said Lloyd. "...It’s an initiative that will be appreciated by female players all over the world."
FIFPro first selected a men's world team in 2005 but has come under pressure to produce a women's XI too as the profile of the female game has grown.
Players playing in 20 different countries participated in the inaugural team selection, each choosing a goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards.
Goalkeeper - Hope Solo (U.S.A, Seattle Reign)
Defenders - Wendie Renard (France, Lyon); Meghan Klingenberg U.S.A, Houston Dash); Kadeisha Buchanan (Canada, West Virginia Mountaineers) Julie Johnston (U.S.A, Chicago Red Stars)
Midfielders - Carli Lloyd (U.S.A, Houston Dash); Amandine Henry (France, Lyon); Aya Miyama (Japan, Okayama Yunogo Belle)
Forwards - Celia Sasic (Germany, 1.FFC Frankfurt - now retired); Eugenie Le Sommer (France, Lyon); Anja Mittag (Germany, PSG)