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by Andrew Crawshaw
The FIFA Women’s World Cup gets underway in Australia and New Zealand today (20 July) and closes a month later on 20 August. 32 countries have qualified playing initially in one of the eight groups of four. The top two teams from each group go into the knockout phase.
The group are:-
- Group A – New Zealand, Norway, Philippines and Switzerland
- Group B – Australia, Republic of Ireland, Nigeria and Canada
- Group C – Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia and Japan
- Group D – England, Haiti, Denmark and China
- Group E – USA, Vietnam, Netherlands and Portugal
- Group F – France, Jamaica, Brazil and Panama
- Group G – Sweden, South Africa, Italy and Argentina
- Group H – Germany, Morocco, Colombia and South Korea.
I have put the teams I think are likeliest to qualify in BOLD
Current Arsenal players representing their home countries are :-
England – European Champions
- Lotte Wubben-Moy, Centre Back. Unlikely to be a starter in most games but a solid reliable backup whenever called upon
- Alessia Russo, Centre Forward. One of our new signings for the coming season, Alessia joined us from Manchester United following the completion of her contract. We tried to get her on deadline day in January for a reputedly record transfer fee but got her at the start of this window on a free. For this tournament she will be battling for minutes with Rachel Daly, one will be the starter and the other the finisher
- Steph Caley – Left Back. Steph has been the starter in her position for Australia for the last 10 years and has over 100 caps. She is, without doubt, one of the finest in the world right now and one of the first on their team sheet
- Caitlin Food – Forward For Arsenal she usually plays as the left-side forward but may well have a freer role for Australia
- Frida Maanum – Attacking Midfield Frida plays as the attacking apex of a three-player midfield and is one of the most exciting players I saw last season. She has a phenomenal right foot and will score fabulous goals; she is powerful and very difficult to dispossess.
- Lia Walti – Defensive Midfield Lia is the Swiss Captain and will play in front of their back line setting the tempo for the team. She is truly two-footed as shown by her near 50/50 right/left passing stats.
- Noelle Matitz – Right Back. Noelle is a solid, if unspectacular right back she has been a mainstay of her National team for the best part of a decade and rarely puts in a poor performance
Canada – Olympic Champions
- Sabrina D’Angelo – Goalkeeper Our reserve keeper Sabrina is left footed but is likely to be the back-up keeper for Canada as well, with Kailen Sheridan being their starter.
- Cloe Lacasse – Wide forward. Cloe has just joined Arsenal from Benfica and can play anywhere across the front line. Likely to feature as a finisher rather than a starter for both country and Arsenal: it will be interesting in the Canada games to see how she plays.
Republic of Ireland
- Katie McCabe – Left Wing Back Katie is equally adept anywhere on the left side of the pitch from full-back to winger. She is the Ireland captain and their most accomplished player. She is also a feisty player and may find herself on the wrong side of the officials if she isn’t careful.
- Lina Hurtig – Wide Forward. Lina had a very interrupted season with a string of foot injuries affecting both her time on the pitch and her playing ability. Most likely to be a finisher rather than a starter
- Amanda Ilestedt – Centre Back. The third of our new signings for next season she joined us from PSG. A right-sided Centre Back who can also play at right back she is known as a strong tackler and also strong in the air
- Stina Blackstenius – Centre Forward Stina is a starter for both Country and Arsenal and looks to collect the ball in the channels or to run onto through balls from h shoulder of the last defender.
- Victoria Pelova – Midfield/right wing back. It seems strange, doing this preview that we only have one player in the Netherlands squad, it would undoubtedly have been two barring the injury to Vivianne Miedema and they have a raft of ex-gunners in their squad. Victoria has made a strong impact since arriving at Arsenal in January and will certainly be a starter.
- Katherine Kuhl (centre Midfield. Katherine joined us in January, is just 20 and, in the unlikely event of Denmark qualifying for the knockout stage of the tournament, may well emerge as a leading contender for the young Player of the Tournament award.
When are the first weeks matches and which UK TV channel are they on?
(NB all times are UK summer time)
Thursday 20 July
- 08:00 New Zealand v Norway – 08:00 BBC1 (Result 1-0)
- 11:00 Australia v Republic of Ireland ITV1 (0-0 at the moment of writing)
Friday 21 July
- Nigeria v Canada – 03:30 BBC1
- Philippines v Switzerland 06:00 ITV1
- Spain v Costa Rica 08:30 BBC
Saturday 22 July
- USA v Vietnam 02:00 BBC1
- Zambia v Japan 08:00 BBC2
- England v Haiti 10:30 ITV1
- Denmark v China 13:00 BBC2
Sunday 23 July
- Sweden v South Africa 06:00 BBC2
- Netherlands v Portugal 08:30 BBC1
- France v Jamaica 11:00 ITV1
Monday 24 July
- Italy v Argentina 07:00 ITV1
- Germany v Morocco 09:30 ITV1
- Brazil v Panama 12:00 ITV1
Tuesday 25 July
- Colombia v South Korea 03:00 BBC1
- New Zealand v Philippines 06:30 ITV1
- Switzerland v Norway 09:00 ITV1
Wednesday 26 July
- Japan v Costa Rica 06:00 ITV1
- Spain v Zambia 08:30 BBC2
- Canada v Republic of Ireland 13:00 ITV1
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