The wait for the Women’s World Cup is almost over as the action kicks off in Paris on June 7.
With 17 of the world’s top-20 ranked sides, as well as four debutants, it promises to be a great spectacle.
Here our football betting expert previews the tournament ahead of Friday’s opening game.
The USA and France are the 7/2 co-favourites with Grosvenorsport.com and it’s not hard to see why. Major tournament victories are common place for the USA, with three world titles and four Olympic gold medals. The reigning champions are hard to bet against on the big stage and look set to go deep again this time around.
However, France have the chance to make history of their own in their own back yard and with a raft of high-flying Lyon stars in their squad, there’s plenty of reasons to suggest the French can win their first World Cup.
Les Bleues are making only their fourth appearance at the Women’s World Cup and since finishing fourth in the Olympics in 2012, they have fallen at the quarter-final stage at four consecutive major tournaments.
Despite those early exits, their recent form suggests that they could be peaking at just the right time. Since suffering a comprehensive 4-1 loss to England last March, former France captain Corinne Diacre has galvanised her squad and made them a real force. Now unbeaten in home friendlies with eight fellow finalists, they look ready to make the step up to the big time.
If France were to win the competition, they would be the first nation to hold the men’s and women’s World Cups simultaneously. In front of their home fans, they could be good value at 7/2.
As for England, they were highly touted for this after victory in the SheBelieves Cup. Phil Neville has done a good job since coming in, though recent defeats to Canada and World Cup outsiders New Zealand, has seen expectations lowered slightly.
They have never made a World Cup final before, with third place in 2015 their highest finish to date. The Lionesses will rely on the experience of veterans such as Jill Scott and captain Steph Houghton to help them in the latter stages.
England are the 7/1 fourth favourites and while they are expected to go well, they might just come up short as they hunt for a first World Cup trophy.
Outside contenders may come in the form of Brazil. As a proud footballing nation, they too are yet to win a Women’s World Cup crown. Five-time World Player of the Year, Marta will be hoping she can provide the spark to end this run. They could be worth a punt at 40/1 at Grosvenorsport.com.
Japan, finalists in 2015 and winners in 2011, will also fancy their chances of progressing through the tournament. They will play in Group D alongside England and are 16/1 to win the tournament.
As for top goalscorer, you can get England’s star-striker Nikita Parris at a generous 20/1 at Grosvenorsport.com. My pick for this market is France’s Valerie Gauvin. She has 10 goals in 18 international appearances and will hope to get up and running for the tournament during their opening game against South Korea on Friday. Gauvin is 12/1 to win the golden boot.