Paris, France : The Draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 took place at La Seine Musicale in Paris this evening. Hosts France will take on Korea Republic in the competition’s opening match at the Parc des Princes on 7 June 2019 at 21:00 (local time). Norway and Nigeria were also drawn in Group A.
A total of 52 matches will be played to determine the winner of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France with the final to be played on 7 July 2019.
Group A: France face test of fire
France (Women) Korea Republic (Women) Nigeria (Women) Norway (Women) Group A
Nigeria will face France for the third time and do not have happy memories of the fixture. The Super Falcons pushed Les Bleues hard at Germany 2011 but went down 1-0, while they slumped to an 8-0 defeat in a 2016 friendly.
Korea Republic had one of the best defensive records in the entire France 2019 qualifying competition. The Taeguk Warriors conceded just one goal in their eight matches, while scoring 30. Can the French, Norwegian and Nigerian strikers trouble the South Korean defence?
Nigeria forward Desire Oparanozie will be on familiar ground in France, having played for Guingamp since 2014. After joining Paris Saint-Germain earlier in 2018, Norway’s Andrine Hegerberg is also no stranger to France.
Group A rivals Norway and Nigeria are among the select band of teams never to have missed a single FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Norwegians have played a total of 35 matches in the competition, and the Nigerians 22. In contrast, France have only 14 matches to their name and Korea Republic a mere seven. Will that additional experience prove the difference between the sides?
Group B: Favourites Germany face dark horses
Germany (Women) China PR (Women) Spain (Women) South Africa (Women) Group B
Germany are second behind the USA when it comes to the number of FIFA Women’s World Cups won (two compared to three), games played (39 to 43), games won (26 to 33) and goals scored (111 to 112). Nevertheless, Germany are the only nation ever to have lifted the trophy twice in a row.
South Africa have qualified for the first time, making them the sixth African side to compete at a Women’s World Cup.
China PR have qualified for every Women’s World Cup bar one (2011), hosting the inaugural edition in 1991 and the 2007 finals. Despite this strong record in the women’s game, they have only ever reached the final once – losing out to USA in 1999.
Germany and China PR have met on 30 previous occasions. The two-time world champions from Europe have generally come out on top in these meetings, with 16 wins, six draws and eight defeats to their name. The two countries last faced each other at the 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Rio de Janeiro, with Germany winning 1-0.
Group C: Two berths, three main contenders
Australia (Women) Brazil (Women) Italy (Women) Jamaica (Women) Group C
Australia will be intent on ending their quarter-final curse, having reached that stage of the competition on three previous occasions and failed to go any further.
Italy are back on the world finals stage for the first time in 20 years, since USA 1999 when they also took on Brazil in the group phase. On that occasion the Italians went down 2-0 in Chicago in front of a crowd of 65,080, the sixth-largest attendance in the history of the competition.
Jamaica are one of four newcomers to the tournament and will make their debut against Brazil, who have yet to miss a Women’s World Cup.
The number of times that Australia and Brazil have crossed paths in the tournament. Australia’s only win in those three games was that Canada 2015 victory, with the Brazilians having prevailed in the first two: 3-2 in the quarter-finals at China 2007, and 1-0 in the group phase at Germany 2011.
Group D: Auld foes to face Japan, Argentina
England (Women) Scotland (Women) Argentina (Women) Japan (Women) Group D
A crucial clash in this difficult group will be a re-match of a Canada 2015 semi-final. England and Japan face off in their final group game, in Nice on 19 June, a repeat of the dramatic final four clash in the most recent Women’s World Cup. That intense knockout game saw the Nadeshiko claim a stoppage time winner, courtesy of Laura Bassett’s unfortunate own goal, to win 2-1 and progress to the finale.
This group is technically the most difficult, going off the December 2018 FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking (the ranking used for the draw pots). England (4), Scotland (20), Argentina (36) and Japan (8) give an average ranking of 17, slightly higher than the next most difficult group: Group A (17.25).
Argentina will be hoping to banish the group stage ghosts of Women’s World Cup past. They faced Japan in 2003’s Group C and were soundly beaten 6-0. They did score against England in their Group A clash at their most recent global finals appearance: China 2007, but also conceded six times in another comprehensive defeat. Will it be third time lucky for La Albiceleste?
In all of their previous four Women’s World Cup appearances, England made it through the group stage on every occasion. After reaching the quarter-finals in their first three tournaments (1995, 2007 and 2011), the Lionesses achieved their best position of third at Canada 2015. Will they finish higher in France?
Group E: A tantalising reunion and a clash of styles
Canada (Women) Cameroon (Women) Netherlands (Women) New Zealand (Women) Group E
Christine Manie scored the goals that sealed both of Cameroon’s Women’s World Cup tickets – and in added time on each occasion. Having struck against Côte d’Ivoire in the semi-finals of the 2014 CAF Africa Women’s Cup of Nations to clinch a place at Canada 2015, she repeated the feat against Mali at the 2018 edition to send the Indomitable Lionesses back to the global showcase.
Despite four appearances at the Women’s World Cup, New Zealand have yet to reach the round of 16. The Football Ferns will nonetheless travel to France with plenty of confidence after winning the OFC Women’s Nations Cup with a tally of 43 goals scored and none conceded.
Vivianne Miedema is a player in a hurry. After taking part in the Netherlands’ very first Women’s World Cup campaign at the age of 18 in 2015, she has since published a book and racked up a long list of goals for both Arsenal and her national team.
Christine Sinclair will be competing in her fifth Women’s World Cup at France 2019. The living legend continues to push the boundaries and score goals for the Canucks. The world finals could see her close in on 300 games and 200 goals for her country.
Group F: Holders to face familiar foes
USA (Women) Thailand (Women) Chile (Women) Sweden (Women) Group F
USA were unstoppable during World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF, winning all five of their games, scoring 26 goals and conceding none. The Stars and Stripes always reached at least the semi-finals in all seven Women’s World Cup finals.
Thailand are making their second appearance at the world finals after making their debut at Canada 2015. Head coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian, who led them in that debut campaign, returns to the global stage.
Chile are one of four nations making their debuts at France 2019. La Roja were runners up at the Copa America Femenina, losing to Brazil in the final, equalling their best performance in the qualifying competition back in 1991.
As well as being the most successful nation in Women’s World Cup history with three titles (1991, 1999 and 2015), USA also hold the record for total goals, with 112 in seven appearances. However, Germany are just one goal behind (111), while Norway sit in third (86).