Women’s World Cup Preview: Viva la France

The men had their turn last summer in Russia, now it’s time for the ladies to make their way to center stage for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place in France. It’s a slightly slimmed down version of the men’s tournament, featuring just 24 teams instead of 32, but once the knockout rounds begin everything follows suit from what we saw last summer.

One area that this tournament will not carry over from last summer is the rampant scandal and corruption that plagued the host nation Russia from the day the bid was handed out. While there is much less fanfare around the Women’s World Cup bids, it is still nice to have the focus be on the game and players rather than politicians and money.

In a summer of soccer that is just beginning, the Women’s World Cup stands out as the highlight. The best players in the world will all converge on France to battle it out for the right to call themselves the world’s best. We suggest you take some time and tune in, it only comes around once every four years.


Tournament Primer

Before we jump into the meat of our recap, let’s take a second and highlight the basics of the 2018 FIFA World Cup set to kick off today:

  • Host: France
  • Dates: June 7-July 7
  • Number of teams: 24
    • From six different confederations
  • Groups: 6 groups consisting of 4 teams each
  • Stadiums: 9
  • U.S. Television: Fox Sports
  • Match Ball: Context19 (Adidas)
  • Mascot: ettie
  • Defending Champions: United States
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ettie; Official Mascot of the 2019 Women’s World Cup (via FIFA)

The Host

France needs very little introduction, it’s one of the most recognizable countries in the world with some of the most iconic landmarks on Earth. From the capital Paris, to its famous wine country, to the scenic French Riviera, France is one of the top tourist destinations for a reason. Now they will welcome the world for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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via campusfrance.org

There will be much less controversy surrounding this tournament than the one held a year ago in Russia. With less scandal and corruption surrounding the event, FIFA will welcome the change of scenery from  a year ago. If everything goes according to plan, headlines coming from France will focus more on the games and less on what’s happening behind the curtain.

Here’s a short primer…

  • Official Name: French Republic
  • Capital: Paris
  • Leader: Emmanuel Macron
  • Population: 67.4 million
  • Continent: Europe
  • Language: French
  • Timezone: UTC +2 (Six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time)
    • 9 P.M. in Paris is 3 P.M. in New York City
  • Previous World Cup Hosts: None
  • Home Team: French National Team
    • Manager: Corinne Diacre
    • Nickname: Les Bleues
    • Best Finish: 4th Place (2011)
    • 2015 Result: Quarterfinals
    • FIFA Ranking: 4

France may still be riding a high from last summer when their men’s team won the FIFA World Cup in Russia, and that excitement should carry over to their women’s team who enter the tournament as one of the favorites to lift the trophy in Lyon. Should France win this tournament, it will be the first time a nation as held both the FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup titles at the same time.


Stadiums

Nine stadiums in nine cities across France have been selected to host games for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. From the opener in Paris to the Final in Lyon, you are sure to see sights from all across France if you tune in during the tournament set to begin on June 7th.

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Via Wikipedia

Stade de Lyon

  • City: Lyon
  • Capacity: 59,186
  • Matches: Semi-finals, Final

Stade de Lyon is the largest of the nine stadiums playing host to the 2019 Women’s World Cup, but it will have to wait to make it’s grand entrance. Only three games will be played in Lyon, but they will be the three biggest games of the tournament: both semi-final matches and the World Cup Final on July 7th.

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Stade de Lyon; Lyon (via StadiumDB.com)

Parc de Princes

  • City: Paris
  • Capacity: 48,583
  • Matches: FRA/KOR, ARG/JPN, RSA/CHN, USA/CHI, SCO/ARG, Round of 16, Quarterfinals

Located in the French capital, Parc de Princes will be host site of the tournament’s opening match between France and South Korea on June 7th. In total, the stadium will host seven World Cup matches, tied for the most of any venue being used for the tournament.

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Parc de Princes, Paris (via thefootballstadiums.com)

Stade de Nice

  • City: Nice
  • Capacity: 35,624
  • Matches: ENG/SCO, FRA/NOR, SWE/THA, JPN/ENG, Round of 16, Third Place

Located in the French Riviera, Stade de Nice is the southernmost of the World Cup venues and will feature spectacular Mediterranean views. It will be a rather European affair in Nice during the tournament, with all four group games featuring at least one European side.

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Stade de Nice; Nice (via StadiumDB.com)

Stade de la Mosson

  • City: Montpellier
  • Capacity: 32,900
  • Matches: RSA/GER, AUS/BRA, CAN/CAM, CAM/NZL, Round of 16

Staying in southern France, Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier will host five games during the 2019 tournament. World Cup favorites Brazil, Canada, and Germany will all make an appearance at the stadium during the group stage.

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Stade de la Mosson; Montpellier (via FIFA.com)

Roazhon Park

  • City: Rennes
  • Capacity: 29,164
  • Matches: NGA/FRA, GER/CHN, JPN/SCO, CHI/SWE, THA/CHI, Round of 16, Quarterfinals

Matching Parc de Princes total of seven matches, Roazhon Park in Rennes will be busy this summer during the World Cup. Host nation France will pay a visit during their final group game and the stadium will get two knockout round contests.

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Roazhon Park; Rennes (via Twitter)

Stade Océane

  • City: Le Havre
  • Capacity: 25,178
  • Matches: ESP/RSA, CHN/ESP, ENG/ARG, NZL/NED, SWE/USA, Round of 16, Quarterfinals

Stade Océane will be another busy venue during the World Cup, hosting seven matches, including two knockout round matches. Defending champion the United States will play a crucial group stage match here against Sweden on June 20th.

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Stade Océane; Le Havre (via francebleu.com)

Stade du Hainaut

  • City: Valenciennes
  • Capacity: 25,172
  • Matches: GER/ESP, AUS/ITA, ITA/BRA, NED/CAM, Round of 16, Quarterfinals

Given its size as the third smallest venue at this World Cup, it’s somewhat surprising to see Stade du Hainaut get a match as important as a quarterfinal. Though given its age, perhaps it makes sense to give a more state of the art stadium a bigger showcase match.

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Stade du Hainaut; Valenciennes (via StadiumDB.com)

Stade Auguste-Delaune

  • City: Reims
  • Capacity: 21,029
  • Matches: NOR/NGA, KOR/NOR, JAM/ITA, NED/CAN, USA/THA, Round of 16

Located almost directly east of Paris, Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims will see six matches played out on its grass. Most notably, a key group stage match between Canada and the Netherlands and the United State beginning its title defense against Thailand.

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Stade Auguste-Delaune; Reims (via reims.fr)

Stade des Alpes

  • City: Grenoble
  • Capacity: 20,068
  • Matches: BRA/JAM, NGA/KOR, CAN/NZL, JAM/AUS, Round of 16

At just a hair over 20,000 seats, Stade des Alpes is the smallest of the nine World Cup venues being used. Situated in the Alpine town of Grenoble, Stade des Alpes will be the highest elevation any team will play at in France which presents a challenge of its own.

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Stade des Alpes; Grenoble (via francebleu.fr)

The Teams

A total of 24 teams from around the world will be in France this summer competing in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Those 24 teams represent six different confederations that make up FIFA as a whole. Each confederation has its own qualifying format with its own set of challenges. These 24 proved good enough to survive qualifying and advance to play for the sport’s top prize.

You can find a squad list for all 24 participating nations right here.

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Via Fox Sports

Participating nations will be grouped by the continental confederation below. Beside each team in parentheses is their FIFA code and their FIFA World Ranking.

AFC (Asia)

Asia will send five nations to France to compete in the 2019 Women’s World Cup

  • Australia (AUS; 6)
  • China (CHN; 16)
  • Japan* (JPN; 7)
  • South Korea (KOR; 14)
  • Thailand (THA; 34)

CAF (Africa)

Three sides from Africa navigated qualifying and will head to France this summer.

  • Cameroon (CMR; 46)
  • Nigeria (NGA; 38)
  • South Africa** (RSA; 49)

CONCACAF (North America)

A three-time champion, a consistent performer, and a newcomer make up North America’s trio heading to France.

  • Canada (CAN; 5)
  • Jamaica** (JAM; 53)
  • United States* (USA; 1)

CONMEBOL (South America)

South America sends a triple threat of teams to France looking to make waves this summer.

  • Argentina (ARG; 37)
  • Brazil (BRA; 10)
  • Chile** (CHI; 39)

OFC (Oceania)

A single entry will represent the vast Pacific area known as Oceania.

  • New Zealand (NZL, 19)

UEFA (Europe)

Europe represents the largest contingent of teams competing at the 2019 Women’s World Cup with nine, including hosts France.

  • England (ENG; 3)
  • France (Host; FRA; 4)
  • Germany* (GER; 2)
  • Italy (ITA; 15)
  • Netherlands (NED; 8)
  • Norway* (NOR; 12)
  • Scotland** (SCO, 20)
  • Spain (ESP; 13)
  • Sweden (SWE; 9)

*=past champion

**=making World Cup debut


The Groups

In December, FIFA held the Women’s World Cup draw where the 24 qualified teams were separated into four different pots based on their World Ranking. One ball from each pot was picked and those four teams formed one of the eight different groups that make up the group stage portion of the World Cup.

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Via @FIFAWWC

Each team will play three group games in a round robin style, meaning each team in the group will play the other three teams in the group. The top two teams from each group and the top-four third place finishers will advance to the knockout rounds.

With 16 advancing from a 24 team field, and only 12 qualifying directly from finishing top-2 in their group, FIFA implements a special third place qualifying procedure to determine the final four teams moving on.

How this process works is pretty simple: the six teams who finish third in their respective groups are pushed into a separate table and ranked based on total points accumulated during the group stage, with the top four moving onto the Round of 16. This system is vulnerable to ties in points so a set of tie breakers are used to determine who has an advantage. Once all games are played, the top four teams determined by points or tiebreakers will move on.

Group stage points are awarded as such: Win=3 points, Draw=1 point, Loss=0 points. Goal differential is the tie breaker.

As hosts, France was automatically placed in Group A.

Group A

  • France
  • South Korea
  • Norway
  • Nigeria

This is a good draw for the host nation France who will be expected to win the group outright and advance. South Korea and Norway will battle for second with the outcome likely coming down to their meeting in the final group stage match.

Projected Finish: France, Norway, South Korea, Nigeria

Group B

  • Germany
  • China
  • Spain
  • South Africa

This group should be no issue for Germany to navigate and move on to the knockouts. This should be another fierce battle for second place between China and Spain with the third place finisher still having a solid spot at moving on. South Africa will be looking to make some noise in their Women’s World Cup debut.

Projected Finish: Germany, Spain, China*, South Africa

Group C

  • Australia
  • Italy
  • Brazil
  • Jamaica

Brazil may look like the favorites in Group C but that is in name only. Australia has assembled a solid squad who have their sights set on more than just making the knockouts. Italy returns to the big stage for the first time since 1999 while Jamaica becomes the first Caribbean nation to play in a Women’s World Cup.

Projected Finish: Australia, Brazil, Italy*, Jamaica

Group D

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Argentina
  • Japan

England made a shock run to the semifinals in 2015 and ended with a third place finish, their best result ever. Japan won the title in 2011 then finished runner-up four years later. Their meeting in the third group stage match will likely determine who wins the group.

Projected Finish: England, Japan, Scotland*, Argentina

Group E

  • Canada
  • Cameroon
  • New Zealand
  • Netherlands

Another group where the winner could be determined in the final group stage match when Canada and the Netherlands are scheduled to battle. New Zealand presents a challenge and makes it three top-20 ranked teams in the group.

Projected Finish: Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand*, Cameroon

Group F

  • United States
  • Thailand
  • Chile
  • Sweden

About as good of a draw as the United States could hope for to start their World Cup title defense. If there is one side to be concerned about, it’s Sweden who they will face in the final group match. Sweden eliminated the United States at the 2016 Olympics and drew with them in the group stage at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Projected Finish: United States, Sweden, Thailand, Chile

*=Third place advancing

Recap

Group Winners: France, Germany, Australia, England, Netherlands, United States

Second Place: Norway, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Sweden

Third Place Advance: China, Italy, Scotland, New Zealand

Third Place Eliminated: South Korea, Thailand

Fourth Place: Nigeria, South Africa, Jamaica, Argentina, Cameroon, Chile


Knockout Rounds

Once the group stage has been completed and the 16 advancing teams have been determined, the tournament will head to the knockout rounds beginning with the Round of 16 on June 22nd. Knockout rounds are single elimination with the winner moving on and the loser heading home. Teams are placed in the knockout bracket (below) based on how they finished in the group stage.

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Via Wikipedia

If a knockout game is tied after 90 minutes, the teams will play t2o 15 minutes extra time periods. If the game remains tied after extra time, a winner is decided by penalty kicks.

Last team standing wins the World Cup.


World Cup Schedule

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will begin at Parc de Princes in Paris on June 7th, and end at Stade de Lyon on July 7th with the Final. In between, the 24 participating nations will battle it out in stadium across France to determine who is the best team in the world.  It will take 52 matches over the course of a month to determine a champion.

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Via Yahoo! Sports

All times listed as Eastern Standard Time

Group Stage

Friday, June 7

3:00 PM: France v. South Korea (FS1)

Saturday, June 8

9:00 AM: Germany v. China (FS1)

12:00 PM: Spain v. South Africa (FOX)

3:00 PM: Norway v. Nigeria (FOX)

Sunday, June 9

7:00 AM: Australia v. Italy (FS1)

9:30 AM: Brazil v. Jamaica (FS1)

12:00 PM: England v. Scotland (FOX)

Monday, June 10

12:00 PM: Argentina v. Japan (FS1)

3:00 PM: Canada v. Cameroon (FS1)

Tuesday, June 11

9:00 AM: New Zealand v. Netherlands (FS1)

12:00 PM: Chile v. Sweden (FS1)

3:00 PM: United States v. Thailand (FOX)

Wednesday, June 12

9:00 AM: Nigeria v. South Korea (FS1)

12:00 PM: Germany v. Spain (FOX)

3:00 PM: France v. Norway (FOX)

Thursday, June 13

12:00 PM: Australia v. Brazil (FOX)

3:00 PM: South Africa v. China (FOX)

Friday, June 14

9:00 AM: Japan v. Scotland (FS1)

12:00 PM: Jamaica v. Italy (FOX)

3:00 PM: England v. Argentina (FOX)

Saturday, June 15

9:00 AM: Netherlands v. Cameroon (FS1)

3:00 PM: Canada v. New Zealand (FS2)

Sunday, June 16

9:00 AM: Sweden v. Thailand (FS1)

12:00 PM: United States v. Chile (FOX)

Monday, June 17

12:00 PM: China v. Spain (FS1)

12:00 PM: South Africa v. Germany (FOX)

3:00 PM: Nigeria v. France (FOX)

3:00 PM: South Korea v. Norway (FS1)

Tuesday, June 18

3:00 PM: Jamaica v. Australia (FS2)

3:00 PM: Italy v. Brazil (FS1)

Wednesday, June 19

3:00 PM: Japan v. England (FS1)

3:00 PM: Scotland v. Argentina (FS2)

Thursday, June 20

12:00 PM: Cameroon v. New Zealand (FS1)

12:00 PM: Netherlands v. Canada (FOX)

3:00 PM: Sweden v. USA (FOX)

3:00 PM: Thailand v. Chile (FS1)

Round of 16

Saturday, June 22

11:30 AM: Group B Winner v. Third Place Group A/C/D

3:00 PM: Group A Runner-Up v. Group C Runner-Up

Sunday, June 23

11:30 AM: Group D Winner v. Third Place Group B/E/F

3:00 PM: Group A Winner v. Third Place Group C/D/E

Monday, June 24

12:00 PM: Group B Runner-Up v. Group F Winner

3:00 PM: Group F Runner-Up v. Group E Runner-Up

Tuesday, June 25

12:00 PM: Group C Winner v. Third Place Group A/B/F

3:00 PM: Group E Winner v. Group D Runner-Up

Quarter-finals

Thursday, June 27

3:00 PM: Winner Match 37 v. Winner Match 39

Friday, June 28

3:00 PM: Winner Match 40 v. Winner Match 41

Saturday, June 29

9:00 AM: Winner Match 43 v. Winner Match 44

12:30 PM: Winner Match 38 v. Winner Match 42

Semi-finals

Tuesday, July 2

3:00 PM: Winner Match 45 v. Winner Match 46

Wednesday, July 3

3:00 PM: Winner Match 47 v. Winner Match 48

Third Place Match

Saturday, July 6

Loser Semi-Final #1 v. Loser Semi-Final #2

Final

Sunday, July 7

Winner Semi-Final 1 v. Winner Semi-Final #2


Opening Match

All the anticipation has led to this, the opening match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. As per tradition, the host national will kick-off the tournament with France taking on South Korea in a Group A match at the Parc de Princes in Paris.

France v. South Korea (Group A)

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via @AFP_Sport
  • Time: 3:00 PM
  • Location: Parc de Princes (Paris)
  • How to Watch: FS1

This is a solid first test for a France side who has hopes of winning the Women’s World Cup on home soil and making them sole holders of the World Cup titles following the men’s victory last summer in Russia. South Korea enters as a dark horse candidate with the talent necessary to cause problems for their opponents. A result in this match could give them the belief that they can compete with anyone in this tournament.


How to Watch

If you’re in the United States then you are beholden to watching the tournament on Fox Sports, who own the exclusive broadcast rights to the 2019 Women’s World Cup for the country. They will be broadcasting all 52 matches live on either your main FOX channel, Fox Sports 1, and a handful on Fox Sports 2. The same goes for any World Cup related shows that Fox will be airing as part of their coverage.

Here’s a quick overview of the on-air talent Fox will be sending to France for their coverage of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

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Via Fox Sports

For those of us that may not be near a television during the day, you can stream all the matched on FoxSports.com provided you have a cable subscription at home.

If laws are simply a suggestion to you the you’re still in luck. There will be various illegal streams available online from broadcasts around the world. You’ll just have to do the research yourself on those.

Regardless of where you’re at, there are many ways you can watch the 2019 Women’s World Cup so you don’t miss a second of the action.


Players to Watch

Over 500 players will make the journey to France for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but that’s simply too many names to remember. While each side will be loaded with talent, there are a few names you will want to pay special attention to during the tournament in France.

Alex Morgan

Country: United States

Position: Forward

Simply the best attacking option for the United States going forward with the ball. She will look to improve upon her single goal scored at the 2015 World Cup and the USWNT will rely heavily on her to find the net.

Christine Sinclair

Country: Canada

Position: Forward

Playing in what will likely be her final World Cup, Sinclair has the chance to make history and become the leading women’s scorer of all-time in France. If Canada is to make a deep run, Sinclair will be leading the way.

Marta

Country: Brazil

Position: Forward

Marta has already established herself as one of the game’s all-time greats, but the only thing missing from her historic resume is a World Cup title.

Sam Kerr

Country: Australia

Position: Forward

Kerr has blossomed into one of the best young stars in the women’s game. She led the NWSL in scoring the past two seasons, and at 25, has already been playing at the international level for a decade.

Dzsenifer Marozsan

Country: Germany

Position: Midfielder

Marozsan is the type of do it all midfielder who can carry a team to a World Cup title. Whether it’s scoring the goals or providing an assist, Marozsan is the engine that makes the Germany machine run.

Tobin Heath

Country: United States

Position: Midfield

Like Marozsan above, Heath is the engine that makes the United States system work. She can score and distribute with the best of them, and her success in France will mirror what the United States does as a whole.

Lucy Bronze

Country: England

Position: Defense

England enter France as one of the favorite following a third-place finish in 2015. Lucy Bronze is a major reason for that recent success and she plays the right back position better than anyone in the world.


Tournament Prediction

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Via beIN Sports

Predicting how a major sporting event will play out is a fool’s game but it’s always nice to have a little fun. In France, 24 nations will compete for soccer’s ultimate prize, but the truth is, only a handful have a real shot at heading home as champions in July. Those handful of teams are generally the biggest nations with the most money, but as Croatia proved last summer, that is not always the case.

Here’s our best shot at prediction how the 2019 Women’s World World Cup will play out:

Champion: United States

Second Place: Germany

Third Place: England

Fourth Place: Netherlands

Best Player: Tobin Heath (United States)

Best Goalkeeper: Almuth Schult (Germany)

Top Goalscorer: Alex Morgan (United States)

Dark Horse Team: Norway

Biggest Disappointment: Brazil


What to Expect From Us

This preview is just the beginning of our 2019 Women’s World Cup coverage. If you were around for the 2018 World Cup last summer you may already be familiar with our daily previews and recaps of events. We coined the phrase “Cupdate” for our World Cup daily posts and they serve as both a preview and recap of the happenings going on in France. We plan on bringing those back for the 2019 Women’s World Cup and they will be live each morning here on the site. The “Cupdates” will feature a look back at the action from the day prior as well as a look ahead to the action scheduled for that day.

There may be some other World Cup content popping up the the site from time to time so make sure you are checking in regularly to keep up to date on all of the action.

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