This year the Women’s World Cup will take place in France from 7 June to 7 July. Of the 24 countries taking part, it the United States who will be the team to beat. The United States won the 2015 Women’s World Cup in fine style, and they are on course for their fourth title. But with the likes of Japan, the Netherlands, Germany and England in with a good chance, it’s clear that this is not a foregone conclusion.
The competition kicks off on 7 June with the hosts France playing against South Korea at the Parc des Princes – the home of Paris Saint Germain. From here, there’s a full month of football in nine venues taking in cities such as Reims, Grenoble, Rennes, Valenciennes, Montpellier, Nice and Le Havre. The semi-finals and the final will take place at France’s largest-capacity stadium – the Parc Olympique Lyonnaise.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup has been in existence since 1991. The competition has grown in popularity dramatically over the past few years, and the 2015 Women’s World Cup was watched by over 750 million television viewers. The 2019 is widely expected to be the biggest and best yet, and will be the first to include VAR technology. So who is tipped to win the eighth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup?
Expect big things from the USA
Since the United States beat Japan 5-2 to win the 2015 Women’s World Cup, they have managed to sustain their impressive form and are currently number one in the world rankings. In order to make it through to the knock-out rounds, the United States have to face Sweden, Thailand and Chile in the Group F matches.
Of these, only Sweden are expected to provide some serious competition and the USA should have an easy opening match against Thailand who are ranked 29th in the world on 11 June. Key United States players to look out for include the likes of Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.
But all eyes will probably be on Carli Lloyd. It’s expected to be the 36-year old’s last tournament and everyone will be hoping the star can repeat her stunning goal from the halfway line that helped the United States claim the 2015 Women’s World Cup title.
Could home advantage give France a winning result?
Whilst France have never got past the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup, they have shown some great form recently and are ranked fourth in the world. Thanks to the men’s 2018 World Cup victory, hopes will be high that they can use home advantage to work wonders.
In order to do this, they have to win the tournament’s opening game against South Korea and take on their other Group A rivals. These include the likes of Norway who will be going without their Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg who has dropped out of the squad as a result of a lack of respect given to women’s football in her home country.
France’s other Group A game will be against Nigeria and it’s widely expected that France should top the group and make relatively straightforward progress to the knockout rounds. But seeing as France only reached the last eight at the European Championship, a World Cup triumph might be a step too far.
Can England improve on their third place in the 2015 Women’s World Cup?
Phil Neville’s team are currently third place in the world rankings, and their winning performance in the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year will have given them plenty of confidence for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
With impressive wins against the likes of Japan and Brazil, the England team seem to be perfectly placed to cause an upset in France. Expect to see the likes of Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris putting in some match-winning performances in their Group D campaign.
England’s first game is on 9 June and it will see them going head-to-head against Scotland in Nice. This is expected to be a typically tough match between the two rivals, and England will then have to hold their nerve to win in what should be a fairly straightforward game against Argentina on 14 June.
The key match in Group D will be the final game against Japan who have an excellent pedigree in Women’s World Cup competitions. But with strikers like Fran Kirby in rare form, England are expected to make the knock-out rounds without too much of a problem.
What can we expect from Scotland’s first Women’s World Cup?
2019 marks the first time that Scotland have made an appearance at the Women’s World Cup. Their opening match against England will certainly prove to be a tough challenge, but we think that Scotland could still throw up a few surprises.
Much of Scotland’s success will hang on the likes of talented attackers like Kim Little and Erin Cuthbert, but keen an eye on Manchester City’s Caroline Weir to make some key playmaking moves.
Whilst few people are expecting Scotland to win the Women’s World Cup, it still marks a huge step forward in women’s football in the nation. And with the men’s Scottish football team currently having a nightmare, we’re hoping for Scotland to put in a few shock results in France this summer.
Other contenders to win the 2019 Women’s World Cup
Watch out for Germany in this year’s Women’s World Cup. The current Olympic champions may have been knocked out of the 2017 European Championships in the quarter-finals, but they have clung on to second ranking in the world, and they should make little work of their Group B competition which includes the likes of China, Spain and South Africa.
The current European champions, the Netherlands, are also expect to make a big showing in France this summer. The Dutch side features the likes of the PFA Player of the Year Vivianne Miedema, and they are widely expected to top Group E ahead of Canada, Cameroon and New Zealand.
You should never discount Brazil out of any football tournament, and whilst their squad might be an ageing side, with players like Marta in their ranks, we think that Brazil could make the semi-finals.
Australia should also do well and they face Brazil in a tough battle to end up at the top of Group C. Expect Australia’s captain, Sam Kerr, to once again put in some performances that helped her side win the Cup of Nations earlier this year. And with other strong sides like Spain, Canada, Sweden and Norway in the running, it’s expected to be a stunning showpiece for women’s football in France this summer.