This Saturday, the first major FIFA competition since the scandal broke out, will be the Woman’s World Cup. This year the World Cup is being hosted by our neighbors up north in Canada.
This World Cup is supposed to be the most watched and attended Woman’s World Cup in history. Also the number of teams in the competition have expanded to 24 and will last an entire month instead of three weeks. Lets take a look at the group match ups and who is projected to make it out of the groups.
Group A: Canada, Netherlands, China, New Zealand
This group has the host nation in it which is sure to be an advantage as large home crowds will be in attendance. Also, Canada is the highest rated nation in this group at number 8. It is to be expected that Canada will finish first in this particular group with relative ease. Who will finish second however, is hard to tell. New Zealand seems to be not much of a factor and will be an absolute shocker if they advance. China and Netherlands will be a tight race to the finish making their contest between each other the one to watch for this group.
Group B: Germany, Norway, Thailand, Ivory Coast
This group is a little more straight forward. Germany is the favorite to win this group, they are indeed the number 1 rated country in the world. Norway is expected to finish second simply because they are a good team but more so that Thailand and Ivory Coast just are not that good. This group is special because Thailand is in it and the country is really rallying behind them. The team is front page news over there and is really inspiring young kids to want to play soccer. As a fan of Cinderellas you have to want Thailand to do well in the tournament.
Group C: Japan, Switzerland, Cameroon, Ecuador
Japan who won the previous World Cup are the clear favorites in this group and are expected to finish 1st. However both Switzerland and Cameroon are no easy competition. Both the Swiss and Cameroon have an about even chance to make it to the second round and will give Japan a hard time in pool play. Switzerland, the higher rated team in the world rankings and are expected to finish second in this group. The game between Switzerland and Cameroon will be the game to decide who moves on and who doesn’t.
Group D: United States, Sweden, Nigeria, Australia
This is the so called “group of death” because three top-10 ranked teams are all in the same group. United States which is ranked 3rd in the world rankings is the favorite to win this group but will have a tough road to advance. Sweden which is ranked 5th in the world rankings is a balanced team that is expected to finish second in the group. Don’t count Australia out though, they are ranked 10th in the world and will be a tough team to beat for both United States and Sweden. Unfortunately for Nigeria they got put in a tough group or they might have been competing for advancement in any other group. This is the group to keep track of because every game is going to matter.
Group E: Brazil, Spain, Costa Rica, South Korea
This group also is a very tough group as three teams are ranked in the top-20 in the world rankings. Brazil, who arguably has the best player in the world on their team in Marta, is the favorite to win this group. It would be very surprising not to see Brazil in the next round. That being said Spain and South Korea are two very good teams that will have an exciting match-up between them. Either one of these teams could advance because they are so even it is hard to tell who will win, so that will be the game to watch when it comes around. Costa Rica would be a pretty big upset if they were to advance so don’t expect them to have much of an impact in the group.
Group F: France, England, Mexico, Columbia
This group is also pretty straight forward. France and England are the clear favorites to advance in this group with France being the overall higher ranked team. Mexico and Columbia will be fighting for third and fourth place, but Mexico will be a pester for both England and France. The game to watch will be between long time rivals in every sport England and France.
Here is a full schedule of the tournament: http://www.fifa.com/womensworldcup/matches/