It should be all eyes on Lyon tonight, but sadly there will also be distractions in Chicago and Rio de Janeiro. While the Fifa Women’s World Cup final between the Netherlands and US takes place in Lyon’s Olympic Stadium, the final of the Copa America between Brazil and Peru follows at the Maracana before the Gold Cup final between the US men’s team and Mexico. That the biggest game in women’s football has to share the stage with two continental finals in the men’s game tells you everything about where the sport stands. Fifa officials have been congratulating themselves on how well they are serving the women’s game. The prize money for this tournament was doubled to US$50 million for this year, but, for all the backslapping, that is less than the increase in prize money from the 2014 men’s World Cup to the 2018 edition . That figure was up to US$400 million in Russia last year, with the money being used to compensate clubs for their players attending. Men’s clubs get US$8,530 per day, while their women’s equivalents get 18 times less at US$453 per day. The argument for not paying equally – or even getting close – is that the women’s game does not generate the same money. The truth is that we can’t really know the earning power of the women’s game as Fifa doesn’t fully support it. What we do know is that the US women’s team shirt is the biggest selling shirt of any team on the Nike website. We also know that the England vs US semi-final was the most watched show on British television this year. Some 11.7 million tuned in to the BBC broadcast of that, while France’s games all averaged more than 10 million views – double the previous French TV record for a women’s game. We also know that the US team bring in more money than their male counterparts. US star striker Megan Rapinoe said she wanted it to be “a circus” before their quarter-final with France and, while it was not exactly as she meant, it has been a circus. When we should have been talking about the football, we have been sidetracked with the sideshow. The US women’s team got in trouble for “running up the score” on Thailand and celebrating each goal. Then there was the storm in a teacup over Alex Morgan’s tea-sipping celebration of her winner over England in the semi-finals. Among all the overblown reaction, it was referred to as a “declaration of war” by British media gammon-in-chief Piers Morgan. His pal, the commander-in-chief Donald Trump, has been vocal too, and not in support of the favourites to win. “Megan should WIN before she TALKS,” tweeted the president after Rapinoe made it clear she would not be going to the White House if they hold on to their trophy. All of this means we have missed the bigger issues, on or off the pitch. No one has noticed the stealthy rise of the Netherlands, who have gone from never qualifying for a World Cup or Olympics before 2015 to being the European champions and a game away from being on top of the world. Fifa head Gianni Infantino was right when he called this World Cup the “best ever”. It is also no thanks to him as he is still selling the women’s game short. Infantino wants a 32-team tournament in place for 2023. But if that is going to be the case, which it should be, then it is going to need serious investment in the nations where the women’s game is less developed. Wow! Last night's England v USA match was watched by a record-breaking 11.7 MILLION PEOPLE. Huge congrats to the @Lionesses for inspiring so many people in the most-watched live TV broadcast of 2019 #RoarForTheLionesses pic.twitter.com/d7sYHtteqq — BBC One (@BBCOne) July 3, 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> We’ve had a 13-0 margin at this World Cup and the chances are that there will be worse teams than this current Thai side playing in four years. Add to that the European sides have caught up with the US and Asia – the quarter-finals featured seven Uefa nations alongside the holders. This is the first World Cup where there has been no Asian side in the quarter-finals. Historically, Asian sides have done even better. Japan were runners-up to the US in Canada four years ago and winners in 2011, while China were runners-up in 1999 and, aside from 2011, until this year they had reached at least the quarters at every World Cup since 1991. Women’s soccer player, @mPinoe , just stated that she is “not going to the F...ing White House if we win.” Other than the NBA, which now refuses to call owners, owners (please explain that I just got Criminal Justice Reform passed, Black unemployment is at the lowest level... — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> China at least has investment on the way, but it is no thanks to Fifa. Rather, it is a programme put in place by tech firm Alibaba, the owner of the South China Morning Post , to invest RMB1 billion in women’s football over the next decade. Not every federation is lucky enough to have a sugar daddy. Fifa needs to step in where that is not the case and dig into the billions in their Swiss bank account. But how can we expect them to do that when they can’t even ensure that the Women’s World Cup final is the only major game that day?