Already a history-making tournament, tomorrow’s finale will end with either Australia or New Zealand crowned world champions.
Event Director, Lindsay Impett, believes that – whether Caitlin Bassett or Laura Langman lifts the World Cup trophy tomorrow – the intense and unprecedented standard of competition over the course of the tournament will have produced a worthy winner.
“The standard of netball throughout the tournament has been truly outstanding. We came into the tournament expecting one of the most open World Cups in the sport’s history, and the skill, tenacity and spirited competition shown by all 16 of our teams has also undoubtedly made it one of the best.”
That point was underlined by the two incredible semi-finals, both of which were won by only two goals – matching the narrowest semi-final winning margin in World Cup history. Australia beat a spirited South Africa 55-53, while New Zealand edged past hosts England 47-45.
“Australia against New Zealand is one of the most iconic rivalries in sport, and for the next chapter of that rivalry to be our showpiece match here in Liverpool is wonderful.
“We know that the eyes of the sporting world will be on the M&S Bank Arena tomorrow, and we are delighted that two teams of such pedigree will be competing for the title in what is set to be a magnificent occasion.”
Contesting the bronze medal match – also tomorrow – with England will be South Africa, who fought their way into the final four of a World Cup for the first time since 1995. They are one of four African nations to place in the top eight in Liverpool – the first time in the tournament’s history that this has happened.
One of those nations – Zimbabwe – made their World Cup debut in Liverpool, and captured the hearts and imagination of the city and the wider, watching audience with the vibrancy and energy that they have brought to the court and the stands.
“It’s been a true privilege for us to welcome supporters from across the world to the Vitality Netball World Cup, all of whom have added so much to the atmosphere around the event.
“The Zimbabwean fans who have attended have truly encapsulated the spirit of the tournament, and they and their counterparts from across the world have been welcomed and embraced in return by the city and the people of Liverpool.”
The historic achievement by the African nations has been one of the many talking points from a tournament which has also seen record ticket sales for a Netball World Cup and an army of 500 ‘Pivoteers’ extend a unique welcome to players and spectators alike.
Trinidad and Tobago captain Rhonda John-Davies became the first player to play in six World Cups, while Australian Jamie-Lee Price went from 2007 flag bearer to 2019 World Cup finalist.
The latter two points in particular reflect one of the tournament’s main aims: to inspire and empower women and girls across the world.
“Throughout the last couple of years, we have been very clear that the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 should not just be about the ten days of competition, or about tomorrow’s final, but about providing a genuine, inspirational legacy for women and girls across the world to get into sport and follow their ambitions, be those in netball or elsewhere.
“Each of our 16 teams have brought 12 inspirational players to this World Cup, all of whom have a great story to tell and a great power to inspire.
“To have record crowds, and huge television audiences, watching these players contest the biggest prize in their sport with skill, determination, sportsmanship and passion is invaluable in showing women and girls across the world that their own possibilities are also limitless, and we are incredibly proud to have been able to facilitate that.”