FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup France Preview
France, South Korea, Norway, Nigeria
Tough group fo sho. Some parties are saying its an easy group for France and some saying its the Group of Death. It is am amazing stat that each team is ranked in the FIFA top 15 world rankings. Furthermore, Nigeria is three-time defending champion of the Africa Women Cup of Nations. In regards to Norway, well it is very unfortunate that Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg’s will be in absence in protest against the inequalities by the Federation. Her absence will also make France's chances of finishing top of the group even more clear. Although its tough to even doubt their dominance. South Korea won't be much of a threat other than to Nigeria I believe. They have a stand-out player who plays for Chelsea FC, Ji So-yun, who is one of the best attacking midfielders in the world. However, I predict South Korea making 3rd place.
The easiest group overall might just be the one the U.S. is in, though Thailand appears to have improved in the last four years since its World Cup debut in 2015. England and Scotland drawing the same group is intriguing, and the most balanced group overall might be the one with Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Germany, China, Spain, South Africa
This group is interesting. Germany is currently ranked second in the world and also the 2016 Rio Olympic Gold Medalists. However, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals at Euro 2017 and finished last at the prestigious SheBelieves Cup in the US in the spring of 2018. Players to look out for? Alexandra Popp (who Ive played against), Dzenifer Marozsan (Lyon) is the best playmaker in the world and Lea Schüller is in the eye as an up and coming attacking figure.
China is coming back out as they have been quite sh, especially with the help of Asian Women’s 2018 Player of the Year Wang Shuang, who now plays in France for PSG. China is always a dangerous team to play against. Although they lost 2-1 against France in their last friendly, its a close call against the world #4. As for Spain is in a momentum with the successful build up and investment of La Liga. Spain recently played Germany in November this year and tied 0-0. They also tied against Canada and Japan last week so I believe they will be heading into the World Cup at a good rhythm for competition. Look out for Atletico Madrid's Jenni Hermoso who was La Liga's top scorer this year. South Africa's outlook doesn't look as promising. Their captain and former Houston Dash player Janine Van Wyk Is the leading role with the addition of T Kgatlana who was African Footballer of the year last year. Their last friendly was against Norway in which they lost a whopping 7-2. Ouch.
Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica
I think this is one of the most interesting groups. The Matildas are at the top of this list with goal specialist Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord. Kerr has scored 12 goals for Australia since the start of 2018, and 79 goals in her last 83 club matches. Their attack is fire when they are in sync. But they’ve also conceded eight goals to the USA and Netherlands in their last two matches. Their last friendly was against the Netherlands in which they lost 3-0. Australia will come out flying but hopefully their defense won't get caught off guard too quick.
Italy haven’t reached the World Cup since 1999. In 2018 they had victory over Sweden to draw on, as well as a 1-1 draw with France. They have won their last two friendly matches, 2-1 to Ireland and 3-1 to Switzerland. They play an attacking style of play usually in a 4-4-2 so I'm pumped to see them tested.
Brazil a full potential national team that has lack of support from their federation. They have astonishingly lost 9 games in a row this year. WOWZA. Players like Marta, Andressinha, Debinha, Andressa, Cristiane. Where are they? I'd love to say Brazil will perform but their stats are playing against them.
I am excited to see Jamaica in action in their first WC, I have some fellow South Floridians that will also be represented. Players to watch out for are definitely 16 year old Jody Brown and very talented Khadija Shaw. 1.45 is what gives Jamaica’s Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw easily the best goals-per-games ratio among all players at the time the France 2019 squads were officially announced. Next come Brazil’s Marta (0.81) and the Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema (0.77). Come on Reggae Girlzzz!
England,Scotland, Argentina, Japan
England will open their World Cup 2019 campaign against Scotland in Nice on 9 June. Talk about a darby. England finished 3rd place last WC and is currently ranked 3rd in FIFA rankings. Meanwhile Scotland has booked their first ticket in history to the event and we are expecting Kim Little to shine as well as Erin Cuthbert. Scotland beat Jamaica 3-2 as well as beat Brazil 1-0. They will still be classified an underdog but definitely don't understimate.
This will be Argentina's return appearance to the WC since 2007. They beat Panama in a two-leg play-off to qualify. It will be interesting how they fair off against Scotland to be honest. Hopefully they will never again suffer an 11-0 loss like they did to Germany last WC appearance. Estefania Banini is their star playing who is very talented and crafty on the ball. However, Argentina will struggle in this group.
As for Japan, we do expect a good campaign but not a great campaign. They have rising stars and young talent in the making on the WWC roster. In their last two games they tied both Spain and Germany. I am expecting them to make it second out of the group.
Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands
Canada has a strong team with leader Sinclair as always. Strong, athletic, and strong defense. Canada have participated in six consecutive editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup (1995 to 2015) and three consecutive editions of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament (2008 to 2016). At Rio 2016, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team were the first Canadian Olympic team to win back-to-back medals at a summer Olympic Games in more than a century. Unfortunately however, they will missing two of their stronget players- Veteran midfielder Diana Matheson and goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who have a combined 321 caps for Canada. Both have been ruled out of the World Cup through injury. It will be interesting to see them face off New Zealand.
As for Cameroon, Ajara Nchout and Gabrielle Onguene are the attacking specialists. Cameroonian-American defender Estelle Johnson is also a key solid defender. Cameroon lost their last friendly to Spain 4-0.
New Zealand is no new face to the Women's World Cup...Their best attacker, Hannah Wilkinson, is coming back early from an ACL injury and not yet 100 percent. Long time player, captain, and Chelsea Ali Riley will be the constant rock for this squad from her leadership and defensive position. New Zealand defends well but a bit shaky when attacking. Tom Sermani is now head coach of New Zealand, very experienced side.
Netherlands have earned their spot and respect with top-class players making impact. Oranje most definitely have one of the top attacking lines on the globe. Shanice van de Sanden just won the Champions League (you will notice her badass leopard print hairdo). Danielle Van de Donk and Vivianne Miedema have both been powerhouses in the FA WSL. And, of course, Lieke Martens was the 2017 world player of the year. Be prepared to see some great footy from this Team.
USA, Thailand, Chile, and Sweden
USA definitely got a lucky draw having already majorly beaten both Thailand and Chile in friendlies. Their biggest challenge in the group will be Sweden who actually knocked them out of the 2016 Rio Olympics. It was Hope Solo that did quote that the Swedes were "cowards"... so lets just say this will be a great and heated competition for Group F. I expect a huge tournament for the USWNT, especially from players like Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, and Julie Ertz. Neverthless, let's not underestimate Thailand or Chile as both teams did defeat Australia the past year! They dropped to Netherland big time 7-0, tied Colombia 1-1, and lost to Germany. They also have PSG keeper Christiane Endler. But Ill always support my South American neighbors- vamps Chilenas- a sacar la cara por SurAmerica!
That’s all friends for my delayed WWC preeve! Enjoy the tournament!