Between now and July 7th 24 nations will be battling for the title of World Champions! The FIFA Women’s World Cup, set in France, kicks off today. The field is a deep one, and over the next month we will see who will be able to take home glory!
The deepest field in Women’s World Cup History
In the tournament’s young history, there has never really been a deep field with more than a few nations pegged as the favorite. This time around that’s not the case. There is, at least, one nation in each group that will feel they have a chance to win the Women’s World Cup. France, Norway, Germany, Australia, Brazil, England, Japan, Canada, Netherlands, USA and Sweden are all strong teams that could easily make a run to the Cup! That’s 11 nations out of the 16 that can qualify for knockout round football.
This tournament is going to be intense! Before getting too far ahead of ourselves let’s look at each nation that has made it to France 2019!
The Group Stage
The Group stage is the first stage of the tournament. Four Nations were drawn into six different groups, they will play a match against the three other nations in their group. The normal points system applies to these games; three points for a win, one point for a tie, and zero points for a loss. The two teams with the best points totals move on to the knockout rounds of the tournament automatically, while four third place with the best standing move on as well. Here’s a look at the France 2019 groups and Nations.
France is the the host nation at the 2019 World Cup; they are ranked fourth best nation in the Women’s game, will that and their home field advantage be enough to push them to glory? Korea Republic Made it to France 2019 by taking fifth place in AFC Asian Women’s Cup; they took the last spot World Cup spot given to Asian Nations and are looking to show they belong in Group A. Norway won the UEFA Women’s Championship to make it to the 2019 World Cup; they toppled the previous champions the Netherlands to get to France 2019, and will show why they are champions of Europe. Nigeria won the CAF African Cup of Nations to make it to France 2019; they had to win in penalties in both the semifinal and final, and will hope that their World Cup campaign is less stressful than that.
Germany had a nearly perfect qualification to France 2019; while the second ranked team is not at the form they were at in the early 2000’s, the second ranked Nation in the world looks poised for a World Cup run. China PR Is one of the five Nations to qualify from the Asian region; they are looking to make a run like they did back in 1999. Spain may be a newer European power as they qualified for France 2019 by winning eight matches, scoring 28 goals and conceding just two; they’ll look to bring that success to the World Cup stage. South Africa are playing in their first ever Women’s World Cup; they finished second in CAF African Cup of Nations, and will hope to be a dark-horse in Group B.
Australia is a member of the AFC Asian federation, and took home second place in their qualifying tournament; the sixth ranked Nation in the World is raring to go behind star Sam Kerr, will show they are a true contender at France 2019? Italy made it’s second ever World Cup on the back of a qualifying campaign where they only lost once; La Sqadra Azzurra look to show they belong at the World stage. Brazil won the Copa America Femenina on the back of superstar Marta; they are looking to bring a 4.42 goals per game percentage to France 2019 . Jamaica is a debutante at France 2019; the Reggae Girls secured third place in the CONCACAF qualify to book their spot at their first ever World Cup.
England made it through their qualification from Europe to qualify for France 2019; the Lionesses averaged over three goals a game, and conceded just once, they’ll look to do the same in Group D. Scotland are making their first ever Women’s World Cup; they were the cardiac kids in qualification, coming from behind in many matches, they’ll need to shake that habit on the biggest stage. Argentina had to play a World Cup playoff vs the CONCACAF side Panama, luckily they prevailed in that match to make it to France 2019; they’ll have to prove their worth to make it out of the group. Japan won the AFC Women’s Asian Cup to make it to France 2019; they are as strong as ever, and look poised to make a deep run in this World Cup.
Canada finished second in CONCACAF to make it to France 2019; they still have star player Christine Sinclair, and are looking sharp ahead of another World Cup. Cameroon finished third in Africa to get to the World Cup, they had all-or-nothing match against Mail to make it, and won the match; they will look to be a dark-horse in this tournament. New Zealand is the only Oceanic Confederation Nation at France 2019; they dominated their qualification scoring 43 goals while not letting in a single goal, let’s see if they can carry that into France 2019. Netherlands needed to win playoffs to make it to France, thanks to the play of Lieke Martens they made it to the World Cup; They’ll need to be sharp in Group E to make it to the knockout rounds.
USA are the reigning World Cup champions, and made it France 2019 by winning the CONCACAF Championship; some shaky defense is a concerned for the title holders, but their attack is stronger than ever heading into this World Cup. Thailand booked their ticket to France 2019 by making the semifinals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup; they will look to bring that success to the World stage by shaking things up in Group F. Chile is another first time Nation at the Women’s World Cup at France 2019; they were runners up at the Copa America Femenina ,and hope to ride that high into the World Cup. Sweden qualified out of Europe, but they have not had the same form as other Sweeden teams from the past; they will be hopeful they can regain their form and make another World Cup run.
These 24 nations will be battling it out to get to the knockout rounds of the tournament.
After the group play is finished, the 12 nations that finished in first place or as runners up in their groups make it to the last 16. The final four spots in that last 16 round are made up of the best four third place teams. These nations will move on to single elimination knockout games. Should a game be tied after the regulation 90 minutes of game play, then the teams will play two 15 minute overtime periods. If the contest is still tied after that 30 minutes of play, then the teams will decide a winner by taking penalty kicks!
The action starts today!
France 2019 kicks off this afternoon with the hosts taking on Korea Republic. The match will be a buzzing one played at the Parc des Princes in Paris! There are then 13 straight days of matches that will be played out to see who can advance from the group stages! Get ready for some of the best action from a really, really, deep field of nations who are all fighting for the title of World Champions!
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Mandatory Credit: FIFA.com