The FIFA Women’s World Cup begins tomorrow in France. The US Women’s soccer team looks to repeat after winning the Cup in 2015 with a 5-2 victory over Japan in Canada. However, about half of the 24 teams competing in this World Cup have a legitimate chance to win this tournament. This preview will give you a quick guide on who to watch so that you will not be completely clueless when tuning to the games on either Fox, FS1, or FS2.
1. France. France will be in a strong position to win this group due to the Cup being played throughout the country. The key players on this team also play for Lyon, the best women’s professional soccer team in the world. Each player from Lyon forms a strong backbone up the middle for the team: goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, central defender Wendie Renard, midfielder Amandine Henry, and forward Eugenie Le Sommer. This type of structure gives France the stability needed to win this group.
2. Norway. I feel horrible for Norway because Norway could have won the World Cup, but striker Ada Hegerberg (the #1 women’s soccer player in the world) has refused to play for her country for the past two years due to Norway’s lack of gender equality. She would have scored multiple goals in most of these matches. This current Norway team has been forced to play with a more defensive style that slows the tempo down with defenders Maria Thorisdottir and Maren Mjelder along with midfielders Caroline Hansen and Kristine Minde.
3. Nigeria. Overall, Nigeria’s team is average, but they do have one player that is stellar. Watch for forward Asisat Oshoala because she has the scoring capability to become more known as one of the top scorers in the world of women’s soccer.
4. South Korea. South Korea is no slouch either with the duo of midfielder Cho So-hyun and forward Ji So-yun. By far, Group A is the best group out of all of the groups in this World Cup.
- Germany. The German team is absolutely loaded and should dominate this group. The two key players to watch for from Germany are the midfield duo of Alexandra Popp and Dzsenifer Marozsan. Both of these midfielders are two of the top ten women’s midfielders in the world.
- China. Over the past decade, the country has invested money in bringing China back to being competitive in the world. The key player for China is midfielder Wang Shuang.
- Spain. Spain has a strong soccer team, but their weakness seems to be that they do not score goals. They look to possess the ball as much as possible, but they do not have the ability to put the ball into the net.
- South Africa. The South African team is happy to be there because they are losing all three games.
- Australia. The Matildas will look to bounce back from what happened during the Olympics when they lost a practice game to a 15 year-old boys team. Fortunately, they have the best player in this World Cup in forward Sam Kerr. Kerr was the leading scorer in the National Women’s Soccer League in the USA last season.
- Brazil. I would have put Brazil first in this group, but Marta, possibly the best woman to ever play soccer, is recovering from a thigh injury.
- Italy. This team is still progressing. Their time to shine will be in 2023.
- Jamaica. The only hope for the Jamaican team is forward Khadija Shaw. She was the SEC women’s soccer player of the year this past season at Tennessee.
- England. The English team has a very nice balance of defense that is led by defender Lucy Bronze that goes along with a scoring attack led by Nikita Parris, Toni Duggan, and Beth Mead. Three months ago, England won the SheBelieves Cup, an annual tournament in which the top four teams in the world play against each other in a round-robin format. England is definitely a favorite to win the Cup.
- Japan. Japan returns many of the players that ended up losing to the USA in the World Cup final in 2015. Japan has the capability to rekindle some of that magic from four years ago with solid all-around play at every position.
- Scotland. Putting England and Scotland in the same group should be fun as a majority of the Scottish players play professionally in England. Scotland is also about 4 years away from making a significant impact on the world scene as this tournament is Scotland’s first-ever Women’s World Cup appearance.
- Argentina. Lionel Messi does not have a sister that plays soccer. Argentina will be losing all three games by a wide margin.
1. Netherlands. The Dutch women will look to push the pace with midfielder Danielle van de Donk and attacker Lieke Martens. Plus, their defense is pretty good too. If you are looking for a dark horse in this tournament to root for, then Netherlands will be your team to watch.
2. Canada. Canada will always have a chance with forward Christine Sinclair on the pitch. Sinclair is three goals away from breaking the women’s international goal-scoring record. The majority of their scorers play either professionally or collegiality in the USA, so they have the capability to put goals into the net. Plus, their defense is strong with Kadeisha Buchanan.
3. New Zealand. The strength of the Lady Kiwis will be in the midfield with Ria Percival and Olivia Chance. However, New Zealand has two tougher teams ahead of them.
4. Cameroon. Most of the players play professionally in France except for the goalkeepers, which play professionally in Cameroon. That means that plenty of goals will be scored against them.
- United States of America. The USA will look to repeat as World Cup champions. Watching the US Women’s National team in this World Cup will be plenty of fun because they will score a plethora of goals. The USA is so loaded on offense that Carli Lloyd, the best player in the 2015 World Cup, is not even starting! The US attack mirrors what the trend is in men’s soccer with three high-caliber forwards in Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, and Alex Morgan. However, their defense and goalkeeping is shaky to the point that each game will be an adventure. The USA will have to constantly look to score if they want to repeat as champions.
- Sweden. The strength for Sweden is actually with their defense. Their defense is so strong that it allows for their team to attack with reckless abandon. Their main scoring threat will be Fridolina Rolfo.
- Chile. Chile could be a sleeper team as a few of their players play professionally in Spain. Goalkeeper Christine Endler will look to keep Chile in the mix.
- Thailand. Thailand will be facing superior competition for this group. Their best player is forward Suchawadee Nildhamrong, who played last season at Cal.
I hope that you have fun watching the games. I want to thank CBS Sports for having the roster for every team in the Women’s World Cup. Please share this post with your family and friends so that we are not sued for gender discrimination. Women’s soccer deserves more exposure.
All videos are from YouTube.com of course.