The U.S. U-17 Women's National Team has qualified for the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup after a 7-0 thrashing of Panama in the semifinal of the CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championships.
The third Women's World Cup for U-17 women will be held in Azerbaijan from Sept. 22 through Oct. 13 and the players on the U.S. team could not be more excited to be a part of it. Of course, the next question would be...where is Azerbaijan?
That is a good question...So here is a quick primer:
Azerbaijan -- officially the Republic of Azerbaijan -- is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bound by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south.
The tournament will be played in six venues in just two cities, five of those stadiums in the capital of Baku:
Baku: The capital of Azerbaijan is the country’s largest city with a population of over 2 million. Baku means “the city of winds” and it is located on the coast of the Caspian Sea.
Lankaran: A small seaside city near the southern border with Iran which has a population of 45,000. There will be just one stadium in Lankaran, which will host four games.
The other 30 matches will be in Baku, including the semifinals and final.
Azerbaijan considers itself to be the gateway between the East and West, and maintains a combination of different cultures that combine modern and historical attributes with Azerbaijani culture, history and cuisine upholding a certain level of uniqueness. While Azerbaijan is in a stage of modern redevelopment, the country is attempting to maintain its sense of history by working to preserve its ancient historical monuments.
The Azerbaijani people are famous for their hospitality. The country is also well known for its status as an oil-rich nation and renowned throughout the world for its silk and carpets. The country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and prides itself on being a democratic republic.
This, of course, will be the first FIFA Women's World Cup ever held in Azerbaijan. Pack your bags! But leave room for some silk and carpets.