By Andrew Crawshaw
The Women’s World Cup gets underway this coming Friday (7th June) when hosts France take on South Korea in the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. The semi finals and final will be held at the Parc Olympique Lyonnaise in Lyon.
There are 24 countries taking part in six groups of four. I have listed the current Arsenal players included in the squads for each country :-
- France – FIFA rank 4 (Pauline Peyraud-Magnin)
- South Korea FIFA rank 11
- Norway – FIFA rank 12
- Nigeria – FIFA rank 38
- Germany – FIFA rank 2 (Leonie Maier, a new signing from Bayern Munich)
- PR China – FIFA rank 15
- Spain – FIFA rank 13
- South Africa – FIFA rank 49
- Australia – FIFA rank 6
- Italy – FIFA rank 15
- Brazil – FIFA rank 10
- Jamaica – FIFA rank 53
- England – FIFA rank 3 (Leah Williamson, Beth Mead)
- Scotland – FIFA rank 20 (Kim Little, Lisa Evans and Jennifer Beattie who is expected to sign later this summer)
- Argentina – FIFA rank 37
- Japan – FIFA rank 7
- Canada – FIFA rank 5
- Cameroon – FIFA rank 46
- New Zealand – FIFA rank 19
- Netherlands – FIFA rank 11 ( Danielle Van de Donk, Jill Roord a new signing from Bayern Munich, Viviane Miedema and former players Sari Van Veenendaal and Dominique Bloodworth)
- United States – FIFA rank 1
- Thailand – FIFA rank 34
- Chile – FIFA rank 39
- Sweden – FIFA rank 9
The bookies have the United Stares as 2-1 favourites to retain the Cup they won last time. France are at 7-2, Germany 11-2, England 7-1, Japan and the Netherlands 14-1, Sweden, Australia, Brazil and Canada at 20-1. The rank outsiders are Jamaica and Thailand at 1,000-1. It is hard to argue that the semi finalists won’t come from the six most fancied teams, although Canada won’t be far away.
The matches are being played in the following Venues
- Paris – Parc des Princes, 47,500 capacity
- Montpellier – Stade de la Mosson, 19,500 capacity
- Nice – Stade de Nice, 35,100 capacity
- Valenciennes – Stade du Hainault, 22,600 capacity
- Lyon – Stade de Lyon, 57,900 capacity – his stadium will host both semi-finals and the final but none of the earlier matches.
- Reims – Stade Auguste-Delaune, capacity 20,500
- Le Havre – Stade Oceane, capacity 24,000
- Grenoble – Stade des Alpes, capacity 18,000
- Rennes – Roazhon Park, 28,600 capacity
Here are the group fixtures (I believe that the kickoff times are UK, but please double check against the scheduled TV broadcasts) :-
|Group A||France||South Korea||Norway||Nigeria|
|France||07/06 Paris 20:00||12/06, Nice, 20:00|
|South Korea||17:06, Reims, 20:00|
|Nigeria||17/06, Rennes, 20:00||12/06, Grenoble 14:00|
|Group B||Germany||PR China||Spain||South Africa|
|Germany||08/06, Rennes, 14:00||12/06, Valenciennes, 17:00|
|PR China||17/06, Le Havre, 17:00|
|Spain||08/06 Le Havre, 17:00|
|South Africa||17/07, Montpellier, 17:00||13/06, Paris, 21:00|
|Australia||09/06, Valenciennes, 12:00||13/06, Montpellier, 17:00|
|Italy||18/06, Valenciennes, 20:00|
|Brasil||09/06, Grenoble, 14:30|
|Jamaica||18/06, Grenoble, 20:00||14/06, Reims, 17:00|
|England||09/06, Nice, 17:00||14/06, Le Havre, 20:00|
|Scotland||19/06, Paris, 20:00|
|Argentina||10/06, Paris, 17:00|
|Japan||19/06, Nice, 20:00||14/06, Rennes, 14:00|
|Group E||Canada||Cameroon||New Zealand||Netherlands|
|Canada||10/06, Montpellier, 20:00||15/06, Grenoble, 20:00|
|Cameroon||20/06, Montpellier, 17:00|
|New Zealand||11/06 Le Havre, 14:00|
|Netherlands||20/06, Reims, 17:00||15/06, Valenciennes, 14:00|
|USA||11/06, Reims, 20:00||16/06, Paris, 17:00|
|Thailand||20/06, Rennes, 20:00|
|Chile||11/06, Rennes, 17:00|
|Sweden||20/06, Le Havre, 20:00||16/06, Nice, 14:00|
The knockout stage of the competition starts with a round of 16 – the 12 group winners and runners up plus the four best teams of those remaining. The rules are, as ever with FIFA, a little obtuse, so I’ll do an update post later in the competition.
These matches take place between 22 and 25 June, the quarter finals are 27 to 29 June, the semis on 02 and 03 July and the final is on 07 July in Nice with a 16:00 kickoff.
In the UK the BBC will be showing every match live, some on BBC1, some on BBC2 and some on the sport red button or BBC Sport website. The Punditry team includes our own Alex Scott so should be at a different level of expertise from the normal male bunch of ‘know-nothings’.
My pick of the group games are:-
Group A – South Korea v Norway (17/06). These are the closest two teams in the group in terms of FIFA ranking and on paper should provide a good close fought contest and this may well decide second place in the group which I expect France to win comfortably.
Group B – Germany v Spain (12/06). Germany should win this group easily but Spain are emerging rapidly in terms of qiuality andit will be interesting to see how close they push Germany.
Group C – Australia v Brasil (13/06). Not a lot to chose between these two sides on paper, could be a cracker!
Group D – England v Scotland (09/06). Potentially 5 Arsenal players involved and and sporting contests between England and our Northern neighbours tend to be feisty occasions. I just hope that the Arsenal players emerge unscathed! Also England v Japan (19/6), I would expect these two teams to top the group so on paper likely to be the best match in the group.
Group E – All three Netherlands games (11, 15 & 20/06) (our Vivianne Miedema is my tip for the tournament’s golden boot so I will be watching to see how many she scores)
Group F – Sweden v USA (20/06). Both of these teams are far superior to Thailand and Chile and so this game is the only one likely to present a real skills showcase.
With no Arsenal matches in the near future you should all be able to get a ‘football fix’ from some of these games and there will be some partisan interest in seeing how our players perform.
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