Women’s World Cup 2019 preview – Part 2

In Part 1 of this two part look ahead to the Women’s World Cup, we provided details on the teams competing on the first three groups.

Here we preview the other twelve teams in the tournament and their chances of World Cup glory.

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Group D – England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan

England

The 2015 World Cup semi-finalists will enter this tournament brimming with confidence after winning the SheBelieves Cup at the start of the year for the first time in the nation’s history.

They also reached the semi-final of the European Championships in 2017 as the FA’s increased investment in women’s soccer is beginning to bear fruit.

Their last World Cup campaign was their best showing in the competition and coach Phil Neville has stated publicly that his side can win the tournament.

Lucy Bronze is an excellent right back who plays for Lyon while Steph Houghton is a commanding presence in the defence.

Jodie Taylor provides an attacking spark while Nikita Parris is a striker in form.

The only concern for England is the fact that they have lost two of their last four games, including a 1-0 defeat to New Zealand in their final warm up game.

However, they will expect to top the group and after that their fans will start to believe it’s coming home.

Scotland

This is the first time that the Scottish team have reached the World Cup and what better way to start then an opening round game against bitter rivals England.

Shelley Kerr’s side will be appearing at their second major tournament in a row after qualifying for the 2017 European Championships.

Kerr became the first woman to coach a senior men’s side in Britain when she took charge of Stirling University in 2014.

Kim Little will be aiming to unlock opposition defences as she has scored 53 goals for her country.

Jen Beattie and Caroline Weir won the league and cup double with Manchester City this season while 20 year old midfielder Erin Cuthbert reached the Champions League semi-final with Chelsea.

They lost 6-0 to England in the European Championships and although they will be highly motivated, they may find themselves battling with Argentina for third place.

Argentina

La Albiceleste have competed at two World Cups, in 2003 and 2007 but have failed to win a game in either.

They are ranked 37th in the world and qualified for the World Cup after beating Panama in a play off.

They did not play a game from 2015 to 2017 as the team protested over the support they received and they fell out of the FIFA/Coca Cola World Rankings.

They finished third in the 2018 Copa America Femenina which meant they needed to win a play off to qualify, which they did.

Their manager Carlos Borello guided them to the two World Cups and now in his second stint as manager will hope his side can finally win a game at this competition.

Soledad Jaimes scored five goals at the Copa America Femenina last year and became the first Argentinian players to win the Champions League when Lyon won this year’s final.

Estefanía Banini is their main creative force but her side may struggle to gain results and would be happy to win their first ever World Cup game.

Japan

Japan are one for the few teams to have competed in every hosting of this competition.

They struggled to make an impact before reaching the 2011 final where they beat the United States in a penalty shootout.

They made the showpiece event four years later but lost 5-2 in a repeat of the previous final.

Nadeshiko, as the team is known, won the AFC Women’s Asian Cup after already being assured of qualification by coming second in their group.

Lyon’s Saki Kumagai will captain the team in the centre of defence while she also has a habit of scoring important penalties, including the winning penalty in the 2011 World Cup final and also in the 2016 Champions League final.

She scored in the penalty shootout in the 2017 Champions League final.

Emi Nakajima will be expected to pull the strings for a side filled with young players.

Japan will be expected to progress from the group and they know how to win important World Cup games.

They are one of the competition’s dark horses.

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Group E – Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands

Canada

The 2003 World Cup semi-finalists were placed in a tough group and know they will need strong performances to top it and give themselves an easier draw.

Canada finished runners up in CONCACAF, losing 2-0 to the United States in a fiery encounter.

In reaching the final, they qualified for the World Cup for the seventh time in their history.

They responded to that defeat by beating Norway, Scotland, England and Sweden.

Kenneth Heiner Moller’s charges will be looking to Christine Sinclair to fire them deep in to the tournament.

The 35-year-old striker has scored 181 goals for her country, only three behind the United States’ Abby Wambach who is retired.

She will be eyeing the record but she must be provided the necessary service but her side struggle to create chances.

They are very solid defensively, having conceded only one goal this year.

Jordyn Huitema will be tasked with easing the scoring burden for Sinclair while 23-year-old Kadeisha Buchanan is an excellent centre back with 88 international caps.

Cameroon

This is Cameroon’s second World Cup appearance after qualifying in 2015.

They beat Mali 4-0 to secure the final qualifying berth in Africa but their preparation for this tournament has been less than ideal. They did not play another fixture for six months.

Cameroon changed their manager in January and have only played two warm-up games.

They lost 4-0 to Spain before beating Spanish club side Levante by the same score line.

Christine Manie is their captain and will spearhead their defence.

She scored in 2015 as they beat the Ivory Coast to qualify while she scored the fourth goal against Mali.

Gabrielle Onguéné scored two goals at the last World Cup and was the player of the tournament at the last African Cup of Nations.

The side ranked 46th in the world sprung a surprise by qualifying out of their group four years ago but they have had far from the ideal preparation for what is arguably the toughest group in the competition.

They will find it difficult to repeat the achievement of four year’s ago.

New Zealand

The Football Ferns are ranked 19th in the world and know they face a difficult task in qualifying from this group.

This is their fifth World Cup to qualify for and did so by winning the OFC Women’s Nations Cup which served as the qualification tournament for Oceania teams.

They beat Fiji 8-0 in the final while they have enjoyed an up and down sequence of results leading up to this tournament.

New Zealand lost 5-0 to the United States and were defeated by Wales, who did not qualify for the tournament.

They beat Mexico and surprised England by claiming a 1-0 victory.

Tom Sermanni’s charges do not possess an out and out goalscorer but rely more on the sum of its parts.

New Zealand have never won a game at the World Cup but 120 times caped international Ali Riley will look to guide the New Zealand defence.

Abby Erceg is another experienced defender who will look to shutout some top quality opposition.

They will find it difficult but New Zealand could finish third and still qualify for the knockout stages.

Holland 

The Dutch are filled with quality players throughout their squad and will fancy their chances of making an impression in what is only their second World Cup to qualify for.

The reigning European champions have a plethora of options in attack but they can struggle in defence.

They were forced to win a play off to progress to France but they lost to Spain and Poland in the Algarve Cup earlier this year.

Sarina Wiegman’s side scored 12 goals in their three warm up games for this tournament while keeping clean sheets in all of them.

The Oranje will head in to this tournament with high expectations and will look towards Arsenal striker Vivienne Miedema who finished top scorer in the Super League season gone by as she picked up the PFA Player of the Season award.

Lieke Martens won the 2017 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year while Lyon’s Shanice van de Sanden is another quality attacker.

They should progress from the group and then anything is possible.

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Group F – USA, Thailand, Chile, Sweden

USA

The reigning World champions enter this tournament as the favourites.

They have won this competition a record three times and have never failed to reach the semi-finals. Jill Ellis’ side have high expectations and anything other than victory will be a major disappointment for them.

They won a record eighth Concacaf tournament to qualify for the World Cup. They scored 26 goals in their five games while they did not concede throughout the tournament.

Alex Morgan is the favourite to win the Golden Boot and with 18 goals in 20 games for the Orlando Pride this season, she will be expected to carry that form to France.

Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat trick in the 2015 World Cup final will most likely start on the bench but could make an impact when defences tire.

They experienced plenty of problems in 2016 and 2017 including a quarter final loss in the Olympics, the controversy surrounding Hope Solo while manager Jill Ellis used 61 players in a two and a half year period.

They look to have put those problems behind them and deservedly enter as favourites.

Thailand

This will be Thailand’s second World Cup, after qualifying in 2015.

Their progress to the World Cup four years ago was historic as they become the country’s first senior side in either gender to do so.

They beat the Ivory Coast for a historic victory but it was not enough for them to progress from the group.

The Chaba Kaew reached France after progressing to the semi finals of the Asian Cup.

Their squad for this World Cup is similar to that which traveled to Canada four years ago.

The 34th ranked side in the world will be looking towards Suchaawadee Nildhamrong (known as Miranda Rild in the US) to score as she has hit 12 goals in 17 international caps.

Kanjana Sung-ngoen is a pacy winger who can also play as a second striker.

Duangnapa Sritala will be looking to organise the defence and will likely be busy as they face some of the best attacking players in the world in their group.

The game against Chile represents their best hope of securing points which may be enough to reach the knockout stages.

Chile

The World Cup debutants will be riding the crest of a wave after qualifying for this tournament.

They sealed their qualification by beating Argentina 4-0 in the Copa America Femenina.

The Roja women play a possession based game but in this group, they will need to play on the counter attack.

José Letelier’s side have not won a game since beating Argentina in 2018, including two defeats to Jamaica and a 7-0 trouncing at the hands of the Netherlands.

Goalkeeper Christiane Endler is an important player for her side.

The Paris Saint-Germain player looks set to be busy but she was voted the best goalkeeper in France last season.

Sevilla’s Karen Araya is an box to box midfielder who is capable of scoring goals.

Francisca Lara, is a midfielder capable of scoring long range goals and the two Sevilla players will need to be on top form if they are to help their side to the knockout stages

Chile will find it difficult to pick up points but the game against Thailand will be their most realistic opportunity.

Sweden

The 2003 World Cup runners up have played in all seven previous hostings of this tournament although this current side have struggled to recreate past glories.

Sweden comfortably won their qualifying group ahead of Denmark but they were helped by their Scandanavian opponents handing them a walkover after a disagreement over compensation.

Sweden beat their near neighbours in the final qualifying match to secure top spot and will fancy their chances of progressing from this group.

Their captain Caroline Seger will steady the midfield as the 193 times capped international will most likely be playing at her last World Cup.

Stina Blackstenius looks likely to lead the attack after helping her country to a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics with goals in the quarter final win against the United States and Germany in the final.

She scored five goals in seven qualifying matches and will need to be at her best.

Sweden will expect to progress from the group and after that they can upset any team.

Author Details

Ivan Smyth

I am a soccer enthusiast and budding journalist. I am interested in the Premier League, SSE Airtricity League and international tournaments. I love voicing my opinions on all things soccer related. If you like my work, follow me on Twitter to discuss the beautiful game.

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