FIFA WOMENS WORLD CUP FRANCE 2019May 7, 2019
The most competitive Women’s World Cup yet! 24 teams will play 52 matches across 9 host cities in France, from 07 June to 7 July 2019 to determine the world’s best women’s National Team. Here’s a little bit of everything you need to know in preparation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019.
France qualified as hosts, are ranked 4th in the world and will relish the opportunity to be the another France team that has won the World Cup at home. They welcome 23 other teams from across the globe but will first have to contend with Norway and Nigeria (who are among 7 teams that have qualified for every World Cup) and South Korea in Group A. The France Captain, Amadine Henry, will hope to continue her peak form with the legendary Olympique Lyon who won the League and Champions League double.
Norway ranked 12th in the world and Nigeria (38th) are vastly more experienced in the tournament, compared to France and South Korea, however, the Koreans come into the tournament with the best defensive record of the qualifying teams and should provide a stiff challenge for the Europeans’ and the African Champions forwards in trying to break the Koreans lines. Nigeria also has something to prove, specifically against France, who seem to relish defeating the Super Falcons.
To Qualify: France, Norway, Nigeria
Germany, ranked 2nd in the world and one of the tournament’s favourites are against newbies South Africa, Spain and The People’s Republic of China. The only consecutive World Champions will need a major morale boost after being bettered by USA and France in the SheBelieves Cup 2019. Die Mannschaft der Frauen is one of the teams to watch in Group B, especially with Dzsenifer Marozsan the captain and play-a-maker pulling the strings in midfield. She was voted 3rd in this year’s Ballon d’Or.
To Qualify: Germany, Spain, China PR
Group C is made up of perennial finalists Brazil who aren’t at their best at present and have failed to flatter at the World Cup in the past. Having lost all their matches since August 2018, the most successful CONMEBOL side still boasts of having Marta, 32, in their ranks. Marta, the six-time FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, whom Pele called “Pele in a skirt,” is easily the greatest female player in history and is the top-scorer at the World Cup, but has never lifted the trophy and perhaps this will be her last shot at it. Alongside Brazil are the triumphant Reggae Girlz, Jamaica‘s national team, who have qualified for the finals for the first time, despite crippling financials constraints that sunk the Caribbeans to the depths of obscurity until they were buoyed by financial assistance from Cedella Marley through the Bob Marley Foundation. Australia (6th) and Italy (15th) round of the group.
Group D will be tough. England (3rd) are as ever expectant of good tidings and are very pragmatic under coach P Neville who has named Lucy Bronze (27, Left Back) as the future of English football. The 2015 second runners up and 2019 SheBelieves cup winners are among the favourites this year, sending their first fully professional team to the World Cup, but have to get through an even sturdier Scotland (20th), first-timers, as well as the best side from former champions, Japan (7th) who need to reclaim their golden age of the teething years of this decade; and Argentina.
The sole representative of Oceania, New Zealand will play against Canada (5th), one of the tournament’s best crowd pullers, Cameroon and The Netherlands (8th) in Group E.
The most successful women’s side of all time and defending Champions, USA start the title defence under coach Jill Ellis with somewhat a lesser squad than the 2015 winners. Without the best goalie in history, Hope Solo, they still had the highest number of players in the Ballon d’Or this year with forwards Lindsey Horan, 20-year-old Mallory Pugh (the youngest goal scorer at the World Cup) and midfielder Megan Rapinoe taking on newcomers Chile and Thailand with their toughest opponents being perennial finalists Sweden.
The Winners and Runners-up of the group phase automatically qualify for the knock-out phase; four of the best second runners-up will also qualify.
Not Yet Equality
A hattrick of Champions League trophies, 33 goals in 21 games last season for Olympique Lyon, earning, a fourth league title the record for the number of goals scored in a single Champions League campaign, over 300 career goals and the first female Ballon d’Or winner, Norway‘s Ada Hegerberg will not be at the FIFA World Cup, plaudits to her, in protest against the underhanded and unequal treatment of women and women’s football by the Norwegian FA (who have been considered as one of the few FAs that give men and women the best chances to succeed in football). Ada’s only 23, meaning she still has a lot of greatness to get to and fighting for justice and equity will definitely not impact her career with Lyon or Norway.
FIFA announced the doubling of the prize fund and winner’s pot for this edition of the World Cup. $ 4,000,000 for the winners with prizes of $ 30,000,000. Russia 2018’s prize fund was $400,000,000 with France winning $38,000,000. Football couldn’t get any further from the goal of equity amongst all players at least at the World Cup.
Parc des Princes, Paris on 7 June 2019, will host the opening ceremony and first match France v South Korea while the Semifinals and Final will be played in Lyon, home of the French women’s champions, Champions League winners and greatest women’s football team of all time, Olympique Lyonnais, on 2, 3 and 7 July 2019 with a lot of us keen on following the Lyon players on international duty.
Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Paris, Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes are the 9 host cities of the World Cup and although not yet officially confirmed we expect DSTV to air the matches.
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Images courtesy of IG.