The Non-Soccer Fan’s Guide to the Women’s World Cup
The Women’s World Cup, the world’s biggest sports event for women, begins on June 7 in France. Here at WorldStrides, the excitement is building!
That’s because our favorite teams from around the world will compete on the biggest stage in sports, and because our sports division, WorldStrides Excel, will be there cheering it all on! We have dozens of North American teams heading to France this summer to attend multiple games (including the group stage highlight, USA vs Sweden), tour the incredible host country, play some soccer against European teams, and even attend a VIP event in our CEO’s home in Paris. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and share your own World Cup experiences with us.
If you’re still learning the rules of the game and want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, this is the blog for you! Here’s a basic guide to the 2019 Women’s World Cup. We’ll give you everything you need to understand the “how” and “why.” (Your beverage and snack of choice are up to you!).
So how do teams qualify for the World Cup?
The six confederations of FIFA all have qualification tournaments during the 18-month period between April 2017 and December 2018. If you are the host nation, you qualify automatically. (2019’s host is France.)
Want to sound like a pro? Here are five interesting facts about women’s soccer:
- The FIFA World Cup has been played every four years since 1930, but the women did not compete until 1991.
- The fastest goal in Women’s World Cup history was scored by Lena Videkull, from Sweden. She scored in just 30 seconds against Japan in 1991.
- Attendance has always been a battle for the women’s game, however, the USA hold the record for the most-attended game in women’s sporting event history when 90,185 watched the USA defeat China in the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final.
- Abby Wambach has more goals in international play than any other woman.
- The first professional soccer league in the United States was created in 2000 and was called Women’s United Soccer Association.
Finally, you need a team to support or follow. Here is our take on the favorites and underdogs for this year’s trophy.
1) USA (The Favorites)
The USWNT has a stacked roster that is full of talent. They have recently gone through a transitional period by bringing in fresh, young blood through the system. In recent months, they have been toying with formation and positioning to find the strongest starting 11.
2) France (Underdogs)
They have a strong record in France with a streak of 21-0-3. In 2018, the French went on a seven-game win streak and outscored their opponents 27-1. During 2018, we also saw 15 different players get on the scoresheet, meaning they have good depth and are versatile.
We are all still wondering what the final roster is going to look like for Japan; during warm-up matches the squad was very different from the one seen in 2015. They put in an impressive display against the USWNT during the She Believes Cup with the result finishing 2-2. They are also the reigning AFC Women’s Asian Cup Champions. Japan is also a previous WWC Champion, winning the tournament in 2011.
The lionesses have grit, determination, and a never-give-up attitude. You can certainly see why they might be an outsider to win the Women’s World Cup. They have a youthful team that is stabilized with senior talent.
Where do we start with the Matildas? They are so promising and youthful, plus they have the one and only Sam Kerr, who is the current NWSL all-time leading goal scorer. The Aussies are not shy of scoring goals and could be a big threat in attacking transition.
Other teams to look out for include: Germany, Canada, Brazil, Sweden, Netherlands. Of these teams, the Netherlands could be the biggest Darkhorse of the race to be crowned Women’s World Cup Champions! If you are heading to France to experience the action first hand, WorldStrides Excel will be right there with you cheering on both team USA and your favorite team. And for the rest of us, we’ll be cheering the teams on TV on Fox Sports.