FRANCE 2019: Who Are The Favourites?
The FIFA Women’s World Cup has just begun as top teams across the various continents compete in women’s football biggest showpiece. This year, France hosts twenty-three teams that will battle for the trophy across nine host cities. Since inception in 1991, the tournament has witnessed some great teams like the United States of America who have won it a record three times, Germany, Japan, Sweden and Brazil who surprisingly are yet to win to the tournament.
In as much as it is believed that football is not Mathematics, it doesn’t mean that a country like Jamaica will win the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Antecedents, talent and experience with levels of preparation are some of the parameters or yardsticks that can be used in picking teams to be considered favorites going into any tournament and this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup won’t be any different.
The French team made her maiden appearance in 2003 but did not have an impressive outing until 2011 when they finished 4th at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. Currently ranked fourth on the latest FIFA ranking, the team consists of fine quality players drawn from the women’s league in France and a few others in other parts of Europe. The likes of Eugeniè Le Sommer who has 52 goals in 116 appearances for the national team, Camille Abily, Gaëtane Thiney amongst other players are saddled with the responsibility of putting up an impressive display in front of their home fans. The squad is coached by Corinne Diacre who has been with the team since 2017.
Brasil are yet to win this tournament, they came close in 2007 but lost in the final to Germany 2-0 which was an improvement on the third place finish in 1999. Brazil parades the all-time highest goal scorer; Marta with fifteen World Cup goals and the highly experienced Formiga who will making her making her 7th appearance at the tournament. Brazil are in group C alongside Italy, Australia and Jamaica. The Brazilians, just like their male counterparts, play with a lot of flair and they will look to win the tournament as a send forth gift for the likes of Marta and Formiga who should be retiring from international football after this tournament.
United States of America
Overwhelming favorite no doubt, they are the defending champions and the most successful team in the tournament with three titles. Carli Lloyd; the first female to score a hattrick in a world cup final is one of the most experienced players in the team and she is also a potent goal scorer with a hundred and ten (110) goals in two hundred and seventy-four appearances for the national team. The team is expected to make maximum points in group F with the likes of Thailand, Chile and Sweden.
The Germans are the first team to win the title back to back in 2003 and 2007 led by goal machine; Birgit Prinz who had fourteen (14) World Cup goals in her career. They are known for their technical abilities especially with set-pieces. Lea Shüller, Alexandra Popp among other experienced players will be leading the team going forward with Lena Grobßling organizing the backline. Germany finished fourth in the last edition and they will hope to finish top this time as they begin their campaign against China on the at the Roazhon park in Rennes.
Led by the legendary Homare Sawa, Japan became the first Asian team to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011 after an enthralling encounter with the United States of America. The Japanese got to the final again four years later but lost to the same opponent. The current Asian Women’s Cup Champions are not pushovers going into the tournament. All eyes will be on top striker Mizuho Sakaguchi to lead the team to another title in France. The Asians are not the tallest but they make up for their shortcomings with their tireless runs and technical capabilities. The Asian Champions are making their fifth appearance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and they begin their title chase against Argentina at Le Parc de Princes in Paris.
There are some other quality teams worthy of mention like current European Champions; Netherlands, Sweden and England. These teams are not to be underrated. The new twenty-four-team format of the World Cup promises to be exciting and one thing you can be sure of is there will be plenty of goals.