FT 2019 Preview: Don't even think about missing out on the FIFA Women’s World Cup
The wheels just keep on rolling as far as women’s football is concerned, and 2019 will be no different. After an exhilarating 2018 in the women’s game on the African continent, the best there is on the planet are scheduled to have a showdown in France from the 7th of June to the 7th of the ensuing month. The men set a wonderful precedence by tearing each other apart in Russia this just ended year and the women cannot be in a better position to follow suit or open new territories and levels.
Of major interest to us, are Africa’s three representatives. Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa who enter the tourney as the three lowest ranked teams of the twenty-four finalists but after a “bloody” 2018 AWCON from whence they secured their qualification spots, major upsets are inevitable. The tournament will take place across nine cities with the opening match to be played at Parc des Princes, Mbappe and Neymar’s home ground. Lyon’s home stadium will host the final match where the likes of the defending champions in USA, Germany and the hosts are considered to be favorites. Africa will also be thoroughly represented among the match officials, with three referees from Zambia, Rwanda and Ethiopia making an appearance. Four other African assistant referees will also be in France, even representatives from a country as small as Mauritius. Quite notably, are the English officials who will also miss the 2019 June-July world cup after failing to land a spot at the 2018 World cup in Russia. Only one assistant English referee made the cut this time around. Quite a lot is at stake, with UEFA using the tournament to select three representatives for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. Debutants namely, Scotland, South Africa, Jamaica and Chile will have their nations on song for the first time ever.
Here at FirstTouch, we will soon release a full special preview assessing the finalists’ chances. For the meantime, here are the six groups from which the top two and the four best third placed teams will proceed to the round of 16.
France, South Korea, Norway, Nigeria
Germany, China, Spain, South Africa
Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica
England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan
Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands
United States, Thailand, Chile, Sweden
Just as a side note, the fable that women’s football in Africa or around the world being not the real deal, is actually yesterday’s news!