With their resounding victory in the CONCACAF Finals, the reigning World Cup champs will be the favorites to repeat when the tourney kicks off in June.
Overall, it’s a very balanced draw for the 2019 World Cup, with each of the favorites in their own group, and no “Group of Death” with more than two legitimate contenders facing off early in the Group Stage.
Here’s a quick look at the whole draw and the favorites in each.
Group A will almost surely go to France, though Korean and Norway also rank inside the top 15.
Group B favors the second-ranked German side, who will face opposition from the Spaniards primarily.
Group C should be interesting, with both Australia (6th) and Brazil (10th) ranked in the top ten.
Group D figures to be smooth sailing for an English side that will be challenged only by Japan. The two are ranked fourth and eighth, respectively.
Group E features fifth-ranked Canada and seventh-ranked Netherlands and should be an exciting group to follow.
Group F: To advance out of the Group Stages, the U.S.W.N.T will first need to successfully navigate Group F, composed of the U.S., Thailand, Chile and Sweden. It’s a good-looking draw for the American women, with only the Swedes posing any sort of a realistic threat to shake up the expected outcome. The Swedes come in at number nine in the latest FIFA rankings, with Thailand at twenty-ninth, and Chile at thirty-eighth. The U.S.W.N.T. will open with Thailand on June 11th in Reims, a fantastic small city and home to some amazing Champagne producers. The Americans will then travel to the bright lights of Paris to face Chile on June 16th. The Group stage will conclude on June 20th, when the U.S. Women will face Sweden in Le Havre, where the group’s top seed will be decided, assuming there are no dramatic surprises along the way.
That Sweden match may carry a touch of redemption for this U.S. team, many of whom were on the 2016 Olympic squad that lost out to Sweden on penalty kicks in the Quarterfinals. It’s a particularly bitter loss in the history of the U.S.W.N.T, as 2016 was the only Olympic Games that the U.S. Women have failed to win a medal. We’ll be looking for the Americans to make a statement with that match.
Draw Table Image courtesy of FIFA.