The 8th edition of the Women’s World Cup is in full swing in France with many exciting and drama filled matches having already taken place into the knockout stages. We take a closer look at the title contenders.
Favourites to win the Women’s World Cup
USA – Women’s World Cup Defending Champions
The USA is at the forefront of the women’s game with a strong professional women’s league in the US. They have been highly successful at the Women’s World Cup and will be aiming to claim their 4th title in France. They opened their campaign with a clinical 13-0 victory against Thailand, backed that up with a 3-0 win against Chile and topped their pool with a 2-0 win over Sweden. They will be looking to their star players including Alex Morgan- who scored 5 goals against Thailand and veteran co-captains Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe.
France – The hosts
As hosts, France will be looking to win the Cup for the first time on home soil. Their best finish was 4th place in 2011. The 4th ranked team in the world will be hoping to do the double and add to the title won by their male counterparts last year. They have been very impressive in the pool stages winning against South Korea, Norway and Nigeria and then defeated Brazil in a thrilling encounter to set up a quarter final berth. They will be looking to standout players, Wendie Renard and Eugenie Le Sommer who are their leading goal scorers so far in the tournament.
Germany – Back to back Champions
The 2 time champions Germany, are always a threat and seem to play with confidence in major tournaments which has contributed to them being ranked 2nd in the world. The team performed well in the pool stages winning 3 from 3 against top opposition including China, Spain and South Africa. They then followed that up beating Nigeria in the round of 16. Germany will be looking to the young Sara Dabritz to continue her goal scoring form in the latter stages of the tournament.
Early round upsets
Ranked 6th in the world, Australia had a solid team; however they were put in a tough group consisting of Italy, Brazil and Jamaica. After a tough loss against Italy, Australia improved dramatically defeating Brazil 3-2 and Jamaica 4-1. They were eventually defeated by Norway on penalties in the round of 16. Their top performing player was 25 year old Sam Kerr who was in fine form racking up 5 goals in the tournament.
Brazil came into this year’s tournament with one of the most experienced squads. Brazil should always be a force to be reckoned with at a World Cup and with their experience; they were expected to go far into the tournament. In the pool matches they comfortably beat Jamaica, lost to Australia in a tough contest and defeated a strong Italian side. They were eventually undone by a spirited French team resulting in them not making the Quarter Finals. Brazil had some of the most experienced and talented players such as Marta- the highest goal scorer in World Cup history and Cristiane, who has scored 11 goals in 5 World Cups.
With some of the favourites having already been defeated, we should be in for some exciting final stages of the tournament including these upcoming Quarter Final fixtures:
QF1. Germany vs Sweden
QF2. Italy vs Netherlands
QF3. Norway vs England
QF4. France vs United states
The women’s game has grown immensely and has started to be taken more seriously over the last few years. In the US, the Women’s team generated more revenue and had larger spectator attendance than the men’s team last year which shows that the women’s game is moving in the right direction.