Crowds of 90,000 packed a football stadium in Mexico for Copa 71, an unsanctioned tournament that is finally being remembered in a new documentary

Gail Emms once gave a school presentation about her mum, Janice, who represented England at a 1971 football World Cup in Mexico. The problem was, no one believed her. The idea that a 19-year-old Janice Emms had played in front of 90,000 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, that she stayed in the same hotel as Bobby Moore’s 1970 side, that her team needed police escorts to handle their overwhelming celebrity, was dismissed as fantasy. There was no such thing as a women’s World Cup. Pics or it didn’t happen.

Gail Emms would go on to become a badminton world champion and Olympic silver medallist – and even then she still struggled to convince people of her mother’s achievements. “I’ve been shouting about Mexico for years,” says Emms. “But my mum and her team-mates gave up talking about it because people just thought they were nuts. It wasn’t like you could Google it back then.”

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