The 2019 Women’s World Cup gets underway in France with 24 teams vying to take the crown.
Hosts France are the pre-tournament favourites at 7/2 with Grosvenorsport.com to win the title for the very first time.
However, there are plenty of other challengers and here we run through the history of the tournament, as well as every team to have reached this year’s finals.
History of Women’s World Cup
The eighth installment of the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Paris on Friday evening. Les Blues, well-fancied for the tournament, will open their tournament against South Korea.
The first official Women’s World Cup took place in China in 1991 and was attended by over half a million fans. As the tournament has continued to evolve as a spectacle women’s football in general has grown around the world, it has become a well-anticipated part of the football calendar. 28 years on from the inaugural event, well over a million people are expected to attend matches in France over the next month.
So far, the USA have dominated the tournaments. They have taken the trophy three times, including in 2015 and finished runners up in 2011. Germany have two wins during a period of dominance in the mid-2000’s, with Norway and Japan winning the competition once each.
FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019
Unlike in previous tournaments, there does not seem to be a clear winner. Many teams have included stars that ply their trades at some of the world’s biggest clubs and will fancy their chances of taking home the trophy.
Hosts France have a star-studded team. Seven of their players are from Lyon, who recently won their fourth successive Champions League.
USA will fancy their chances of picking up a fourth crown. They are yet to finish outside the top three in a Women’s World Cup.
Brazil star Marta is already the leading scorer in the tournament’s history, with 15 goals. She is set to play in her last World Cup.
England reached the semi-finals in 2015 and at Euro 2017. They’ve never made a World Cup Final.
Women’s World Cup 2019 groups and teams
The hosts are well-fancied to pick up their maiden World Cup, and rightly so. They have proven quality in all areas. Griedge Mbock and Wendie Renard will provide the same solid base they have done so successfully for Lyon. Captain Amandine Hendry will provide extra protection in front of the defence and will be the distribution point for feeding the forward players. Valerie Gauvin has 10 goals in 18 appearances and could be good value for the golden boot at 12/1. Les Blues could become the first nation to hold both the Men’s and Women’s World Cups simultaneously.
Many within South Korea have hailed this crop of players as the golden generation. Many of the squad featured in teams that achieved success at youth World Cups and will be hoping they can come of age in France. West Ham midfielder Cho So-hyun has plenty of experience and will provide much of the stability for the team. Much of the flare will be provided by Chelsea’s Ji So-yun. She’s featured in the PFA team of the year for the last four seasons and is a wily operator in the number ten role.
During former Ballon D’or winner Ada Hegerberg’s ongoing international sabbatical, Norway have had to rely much more on their defensive structure. Maria Thorisdottir will be an important player for them at the back. Pacey Barcelona winger Caroline Graham Hansen will hope to fill the shoes left behind by Hedenburg and provide the chances for Isabell Herlovsen to add to her 57 international goals.
You can get Norway to win the World Cup at around 9/1 to finish in the top four at grosvenorsport.com
The dominant force in African women’s football, having failed to win only two out of eleven African Cup of Nations tournaments, they will be hoping to prove themselves on the World stage. They face a tough route if they want to qualify for the knockouts for the first time since 1999. Asiat Oshoala scored seven goals in seven games for Barcelona after arriving on-loan from China and is Nigeria’s main goal threat.
Winners in 2003 and 2007, the German team has for a while been in various transitional periods. Their hopes of adding a third crown increased after a gold medal at the Rio Olympics but were tempered following a disappointing display at the SheBelieves Cup. Dzsenifer Marozsan is perhaps the outstanding playmaker in the tournament. Despite suffering a pulmonary embolism last year, she is fit and firing after another successful season with Lyon. The Germans are third favourites at grosvenorsport.com, available at around 11/2.
Compared to the Men’s team, China have a good heritage in the women’s game. They’ve hosted the tournament on two occasions, made it to the quarter-finals on four occasions, and were runners up in 1999. Wang Shanshan is a prolific marksman and was top scorer at last year’s Asian games. She’s partnered upfront by PSG star Wang Shuang, who enjoys a free role in the side and can be a thorn in any team’s side.
Entering their second World Cup after a disappointing 2015 campaign, Spain will be tested again in a tough group B. As is often the Spanish way, coach Jorge Vilda has attempted to impose a collective, passing philosophy using a squad predominantly made up of stars plying their trade in Spain. They boast the qualities of top defenders such as Irene Paredes and top-scorer in Liga Iberdrola, Jenni Hermoso. Hermoso is available at around 13/1 to be top goal scorer.
An exciting, young side have a herculean effort ahead of them if they are to make it out of Group B. They failed to win any of their last seven games, including a heavy defeat to Norway. African Women’s footballer of the year Thembi Kgetlana is the star of this team and possesses the ability to be one of standout players in the tournament.
There is much hope ahead for this Australian side after rising up to sixth in the World rankings. Former Men’s assistant manager Ange Postecoglou will be in the dugout for the Aussies. He was part of the staff for the 2014 Men’s World Cup, a team praised for their adventurous style of play. They have accomplished ball-players in midfield, and right-back Ellie Carpenter has a bright future ahead of her also. Sam Kerr is the teams main goal threat. The 25-year old Chicago Red Stars striker already has 31 goals for her country and should be in contention for the golden boot at 9/1.
For such a proud footballing nation it is almost inconceivable that Le Azzurre haven’t qualified for a World Cup in 20 years. The future seems more positive though as the women’s game continues to increase in popularity in Italy. Talented Juventus players Christiana Girelli and Sam Gama will be hoping to impress on the global stage. Qualification for the knockouts would be a genuine success from a tough draw and could even be a good shout to finish in the top four at Grosvenorsport.com.
Although unfair to describe Brazil as a one-woman team, they have often been over-reliant on Marta, arguably the greatest female player ever. As of yet she has failed to win the World Cup for them and it seems unlikely this will happen in 2019. Marta is 33 now, and will be relying on some of her younger team mates, Benfica striker Geyse for example, to help fire them out of the groups. They are a distant contender at around 40/1 at Grosvenorsport.com.
The first ever World Cup appearance for a Caribbean team, Hue Menzies’ Jamaica will be hoping to cause an upset or two in Group C. It will be a miracle if The Raggae Girlz can drag themselves into the knockout stages but they aren’t short of talent. 17-year-old Jody Brown has already become a social media star after scoring seven goals in her first ten international appearances. She will be supported by star-striker Khadija Shaw. Shaw is Jamaica’s highest ever scorer, with 26 goals from 30 games.
England’s hopes of clinching a first Women’s World were raised after an impressive victory at the SheBelieves Cup in the US. Phil Neville has gathered a team that keeps possession comfortably and has the right blend of experience and youth. Midfielder Jill Scott and captain Steph Houghton have seen it all before. They’ll hope to provide the stability to allow the likes of Fran Kirby and Nikita Paris to shine. At 7/1 to win the tournament, Neville’s side are amongst the group of favourites. Paris is a good tout for top-scorer at 20/1.
Qualifying for their first World Cup in more than a decade is quite an achievement considering they were disbanded for nearly three years in 2015. Manager Carlos Borello will be hoping mostly for some encouraging performances rather than results, given that they have to face three of the world’s top 20. Captain Estefania Banini is a well-respected creative midfielder and is nicknamed ‘La Messi’, a name she is reportedly not entirely fond of.
In a repeat of their opening group game from the 2017 European Championships, Scotland open their account against England. Coach Shelley Kerr will be desperate to get their campaign of to a better start this time, after a 6-0 drubbing in 2017. Much praise has been heaped upon young talent Erin Cuthbert and Kim Little will be looking to prove why she is renowned as one of the world’s best operators.
Japan’s 2011 victory has provided them with the springboard needed to help development of women’s football in Asia. Their under-17 and under-20 sides have followed this up with World Cup victories of their own in the years following. Key members of that 2011 squad such as Aya Sameshima and Mizuho Sakaguchi are still around. They provide support for the younger crop of players hoping to follow in their winning footsteps. Former FIFA World Player of the Year, Emi Nakajima is the player to watch. Don’t be surprised to see her fire in a few long-range screamers during the next month.
Make no mistake about it, Canada are here to win. They don’t lose many games, and they will be looking to take the next step and claim the biggest title in world football. They’ve often fallen short when it matters most, but the fifth ranked side will be quietly confident of their chances this time around. They’ve conceded just four goals in their last 13 matches, and Jordyn Huitema, who has scored 6 in her last 21 matches at just 18 years-old, will want to prove she’s more than just a rising starlet.
You can get Canada to take home the trophy at 25/1.
Netherlands are also a dark horse at this year’s tournament. They’re yet to show their best on the world stage, but victory in the both the 2017 European Championship and 2018 Algarve Cup has shown the world to stand up and take notice. It’s just their second appearance at a World Cup, and what a way to announce themselves should they go deep in this year’s edition. They’re available at 8/5 to finish in the top four.
No New Zealand side (male or female) has managed to win a game at the World Cup. With that in mind, the pressure is surely off the Football Ferns, but it’s a damning stat considering their involvement in four of the past six finals. A victory in the group stage would be a historic moment for the small island nation, and they are capable of springing a surprise this time around.
Expectations to win the competition for Cameroon are by no means high, but their surprise progression to the knock-out stage in 2015 will be keeping the two group favourites on their toes. They won’t face New Zealand until the final match of the group, so they’ll need to start strong if they’re to have any chance of progression to the knock-out stages. Don’t write the Africans off just yet.
Reigning champions United States will be quietly confident of retaining the title. The U.S. have more attacking talent than fits on the field at one time, a good foundation for success. But their defeat in the quarter-finals of the Olympics three-years ago will likely loom over their heads. They’ll want to put it right with back to back triumphs in France. They’re available at around 7/2 to win their fourth crown.
One key player is surely Alex Morgan. Morgan cruised to 100 career international goals, playing the best football of her life over the past 18 months. She’s a well-rounded No. 9 and the perfect fit for a pressing style. She’s odds on to claim the tournament golden boot at 6/1.
It’s only the nation’s second appearance in Women’s World Cup history, their first coming in 2015. A great achievement in reaching to back to back finals. They have transformed into one of Asia’s biggest prospects over the last 10 years.
They failed to pass the group stages in 2015, falling to defeat against Norway and Germany. Nevertheless, Thailand will be hoping to build from a win in their final 2015 group match against Ivory Coast, and are an outside chance to reach the knockout phase.
Debutants Chile have enjoyed the ride and will be relishing the opportunity to play a first World Cup. Their runner-up finish at the Copa America was a fine result for a women’s side on the up. They should come out very lively against their opponents in the tournament, but we expect them to bow out early, as the quality of the teams be just too much for them this time around.
Sweden will be the United States’ biggest competitors in the group stage. The European side have respectable history in finishing high up in world competitions. This match will almost certainly determine who comes out on top in Group F, and goal difference may come into play should Sweden and the Americans win both of their other group fixtures.
Leave a Reply