Ladies are playing ⚽

The Women’s World Cup in football has started, taking place in Australia and New Zealand. For the first time, 32 teams are participating in the biggest women’s football spectacle.

The hosts have already recorded victories. New Zealand achieved its first historic triumph at the World Cup, defeating Norway 1-0. Australia justified its favorite status with the same result against the Republic of Ireland.

Who is the main favorite? Who will shine? Who will make a surprise?

The tournament has been held since 1991, every four years, and the United States won it four times. Germany has two titles, while Japan and Norway have one each. Also, strong contenders are England, Spain, France, Sweden, and Brazil. 🏆

The United States, being the two-time consecutive champion, is considered to have the best chances for victory (as almost every time). Led by female football stars like Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Julie Ertz, the Americans come to the World Cup with a clear goal: to win the title. They have an impressive record of twelve consecutive wins at the World Cup, with a goal difference of 37:5. Megan Rapinoe is playing in her last World Cup, which will undoubtedly serve as an additional motivation for all players. In the first round, they will play against Vietnam, and anything other than a convincing victory would be a surprise.

Next in line is the English team. As reigning European champions, they have reasons to aim for the trophy. However, they will be weakened by the absence of Beth Mead, their top scorer in the qualifiers, and Leah Williamson, an important player for the national team. Nevertheless, their group, which includes Denmark, China, and Haiti, shouldn’t present a problem.

Spain also arrives with great ambitions, but they have had problems. As many as 15 players withdrew from the national team, considering that it needed a fresh start with a new coach. Still, Jorge Vilda remains on the bench and will lead Spain this year as well. Encouraging news for them is the return of Ballon d’Or winner, Alexia Putellas. This is Spain’s third participation in the World Cup.

Germany comes with a well-established German football pedigree. As the runners-up in Europe, they are one of the seven teams that have participated in all World Cups and have lost only once in the group stage in a total of 24 matches. All eyes are on Sara Däbritz, who made 21 shots on target in the previous championship, more than any other player in the tournament.

France is led by the now-famous coach, Hervé Renard, who last year led the Saudi Arabian men’s team to victory against Argentina at the World Cup. He has brought back Wendie Renard, who retired due to the former coach. Wendie has retaken the captain’s armband, and it is expected that she will lead France to the very end. In the previous three tournaments, they reached at least the quarterfinals. France will have one of the group stage’s derby matches, as they will face Brazil.

Sweden, once again, arrives as one of the favorites. However, despite playing 40 matches on the World Cup (more than any other team), they have never won the title. They were runners-up once and third twice. In the 21st century, they lost three out of 15 group stage matches, all three against the USA.

Unlike their male counterparts, the Brazilian team haven’t been as successful. Still, it’s essential to note that Brazil is the only team to participate in more than three World Cups and win all their first matches – 8 out of 8, with a goal difference of 23:1. It is expected that Brazil will continue this tradition this year against Panama. The team’s first star is the legendary Marta, the all-time leading goal scorer in the history of World Cups, with 17 goals in 20 matches.

The mentioned teams are the main favorites to win the title. However, teams like Australia, backed by their home crowd, Japan, the Netherlands, and Canada could also pose a challenge. On the other hand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Panama are objectively the weakest teams in the tournament and have the least chance of claiming the world title.

The championship has begun. Stay tuned for more news and analysis.

Written by Mladen Radosavljevic