2019 Women’s World Cup preview


Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Members of the US Women’s National Team celebrate a win over China in a friendly match last year. The team will head to France this week in hopes of winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

By Eli Putnam

As the four year wait comes to an end, teams from 24 different countries are ready to battle it out in France for the most important trophy in Women’s Soccer: the World Cup. We’re only a few days out from the much anticipated tournament, so here’s a preview of what’s to come.

The US:

The US women’s national team will head to France this June in hopes of winning their second championship in a row, and their fourth of all-time. They’re lead by their captains forwards Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe and midfielder Carli Lloyd—all of whom have played in the past three World Cups.

However, the team will be without its most known and arguably the best players of all time, forward Abby Wambach and superstar goalie Hope Solo. Wambach played on the national team from 2001 until 2015 and finished her career with the team in the last World Cup, only taking the field for the last ten minutes of the championship. She holds the record for most international goals scored—male or female—with 184.

Solo joined the team in 2000 and played for 16 years. She was dismissal in light of a scandal where she called the Swedish national team “cowards.” Although her career was successful, it was marred by controversy, with numerous assault charges and accusations. Despite these huge losses for the US, the team has newcomers such as forward Mallory Pugh and midfielder Julie Ertz to help fill in. The defending champs enter the competition as favorites to win, with dramatic 2–1 odds according to “Soccerbot, one of the most accurate robot pickers in the world.

The Rest of The Field:

After the US, the next four teams most likely to win are France, Germany, England and Japan. Led by Amandine Henry, the French team—whose male counterpart won the 2018 Men’s World Cup—will have a home field advantage this year, and their 7–2 odds to win the tournament are extremely high.

Also in high contention are two additional teams from Europe; England and Germany, with 7–1 and 11–2 odds to win respectively.

Last but not least is the always-dangerous Japan team. Stars like Mizuho Sakaguchi and Saki Kumagai will enter their third World Cups hoping for a second victory. The Japanese have competed in two out of the seven total championship games—winning one in 2011—and look to avenge 2015’s 5–2 loss to the US.

Prize Money:

The 2019 World Cup will see a change in policy regarding prize money for the competitors in the tournament. In last year’s Men’s World Cup, the French men’s national team won $38 million dollars for finishing first, and the runner-up Croatia collected $28 million dollars. In 2015 however, the US Women’s team only received $2 million dollars for their first-place finish. Because of this gap, FIFA decided to double the prize winnings for 2019, with the winners bringing home $4 million dollars. Still, this sum doesn’t come close to the men’s winnings—something that continues to outrage the women’s soccer community.

Surprise Stories:

Norway’s star striker Ada Hegerberg, the winner of the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or—the award for best soccer player of the year—will skip this year’s World Cup due to conflicts with her nation’s team. The 23 year-old Norwegian left Team Norway in 2017 due to frustration with the team’s management. By skipping the World Cup, she says she’s “shaking things up,” and hopes to create a change in her country regarding gender equality in sports.

Another surprise this year is the Jamaican National team will make their first ever appearance in the Women’s World Cup. Backed by none other than Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella Marley, the Reggae Girlz—as the team is called—are the first Carribean team to ever make the tournament.

So far, this year’s Women’s World Cup is full of great stories and surprises. It’ll be an exciting tournament to watch for everyone, from a first-time watcher to an avid World Cup superfan.