clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Women’s World Cup 2019: Group C Preview

New, 1 comment

Australia, Italy, Brazil, and Jamaica might be the tournaments’ most fun group

Panama v Jamaica: Third Place Match - CONCACAF Women’s Championship Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

C is for Chaos. While most big tournaments look for groups of ‘death’ and the potential of group C is likely to be most fun. Two top ten teams and a variety of soccer cultures, this group may be the one full of pleasant surprises. So pick a team and buckle up for what is developing as a group full of unique players ready to shake up the World Cup.

Schedule

June 9
Australia v Italy
Brazil v Jamaica

June 13
Australia v Brazil

June 14
Jamaica v Italy

June 18
Jamaica v Australia
Italy v Brazil

Australia

The Matildas headed into 2019 as top contenders, but their recent coaching change has tempered that conversation. Despite the short time together between players and Head Coach, including a recent loss to European Champion Netherlands, this is one of Australia’s strongest World Cup squads to date and are favorites as the top ranked FIFA team in Group C.

Fifa Ranking: 6

Best Finish: Quarter finals 2007, 2011, 2015

Head Coach: Ante Milicic, has only been with the team just over two months after the Australian Federation fired long time coach Alen Stacjic back in March.

Players To Watch: Sam Kerr will have her name in lights after becoming a scoring champion in two leagues various times now. Earning multiple golden boots in both W-League [Perth Glory FC] and NWSL [Chicago Red Stars], Kerr has yet to score in a World Cup to date, this is likely to change as she gets set to make her third appearance on the World’s biggest stage.

Amy Harrison could play a big role in the midfield for the Matildas and currently won a W-League Championship with Sydney FC. Ellie Carpenter is a young outside back for Australia. At just 18 years old she has experience in W-League, NWSL and an Olympic tournament to date. Her dynamic ability to both attack and defend the flank could be a game changer for the Matildas.

Group Prediction: Favorites to win the group, which might feel odd for the Matildas who are used being the underdogs of tournaments, but it’s a new era for Australia - time to rise to the occasion.

Italy

La Squadra Azzurra makes their return to the World Cup after a 20 year absence. After just missing out on the 2015 World Cup, Italy made an impressive run during their World Cup qualifiers, winning 7 straight matches to top their group with a match to spare.

Enthusiasm for Italy’s Women’s team is high, combined with a failure to qualify for Italy’s Men’s side, Azzurra head to France with an invigorated support from their country for Women’s Soccer as dark horses for this World Cup tournament.

Fifa Ranking: 15

Head Coach: Milena Bertolini had a 15 year career with Italy as a defender before heading into coaching. Bertolini has coaching experience in Serie A and has been directing this squad since 2017.

Best Finish: Quarter Finals 1991

Players To Watch: Watch out for a duo of Juventus stars. Long time La Azzurra player Sara Gama has 95 caps to her name and is a crucial component of Italy’s defense, along with five goals for the National Team. Attacker Barbara Bonansea, was an integral player during Italy’s World Cup journey. She scored three goals with six assists over eight matches.

Group Prediction: Good Odds to get out of Group Play. Italy had a strong run during qualifiers and earned their World Cup spot with a game remaining. They can advance out of the group, but will need to do so with a win over Jamaica and a result against Brazil or Australia.

Brazil

Long time World Cup icons, Brazil enters this tournament on unstable footing. After zipping through Copa America Femenina World Cup Qualifiers, La selecao have struggled to string together results against other top ranked, France bound, teams. Despite still having power house legends on their squad, Brazil finds themselves in a Group C where anything can happen, with long time international rivals Australia - who they’ve faced in multiple World Cups and Olympics.

FIFA Ranking: 10

Best Finish: Runners-up, 2007

Head Coach: Vadao, also known as Oswaldo Alvarez. Vadao made a return to the squad in 2017 after the controversial firing of former coach Emily Lima after just 10 months on the job. Lima’s dismissal sparked a bit of player protest with various players opting to leave and even retire. Long time player Cristiane initially stepped away in protest but has since returned in pursuit of equality amongst the National Team. While Vadao led the team through a triumphant qualifiers, the squad has struggled under his tenure heading into France losing 9 of their last 10 matches.

Players To Watch: The Legends. Brazil enters this tournament with their 4 Horsemen. Icons of the game in Cristiane, Barbara, Formiga - and the face of Brazilian Women’s soccer, Marta. Formiga, age 41, will play in a record seventh World Cup, while Goalkeeper Barbara has handled net responsibility since 2007. Cristiane and Marta will be tasked with providing the playmaking and experience despite carrying some lingering injuries into the tournament.

The Next Gen. Forward Ludmila is coming off a successful stint in Spain with Atletico Madrid and is likely to play a larger role in this tournament if injuries loom large for their veteran players. Brazil’s youngest player at 21, Gayse, made a name for herself as a goal scorer playing in Portugal with SL Benefica.

Group Prediction: Brazil enters the World Cup bruised and battered. However, an early - and dominant - win against Jamaica could propel them through the group and the tournament.

Jamaica

Jamaica enters the World Cup tournament as the team with the lowest ranking on the list, but the highest ranking in our hearts. After navigating a discordant CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, the squad punched their way to France through a third place finish on penalty kicks against Panama. Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz will be making their first ever World Cup debut, and they have done so entirely on their own path.

The Jamaican Federation cut funding for the team in 2010 and completely disbanded over the following years. In 2014 Cedella Marley, daughter of Music icon Bob Marley, became the team’s ambassador and funded the team through the Bob Marley Foundation. Jamaica is pursuing more than gold during the tournament, their chasing history and trying to change the culture as the first ever caribbean nation to qualify for a Women’s World Cup.

FIFA Ranking: 53

Best Finish: N/A, 2019 debutantes

Head Coach: Hue Menzies has been with the team since 2014. Born in England and raised in Jamaica, Menzies has over three decades of coaching experience that includes Olympic Development experience.

Players To Watch: Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw is hard to miss at 5’11, and will likely be the face of Reggae Girlz during the tournament due to her sheer athleticism and tall frame. Shaw, age 22, has 30 caps for Jamaica, with 26 goals on her resume. Hopefully the injury she picked up against Scotland isn’t too serious.

17 year old Jody Brown has a chance to make an impact in France with her own offensive skill set. Jamaica’s youngest player is no stranger to big stages having scored big goals during the CONCACAF Championship. She was named best young player of that tournament.

Group Prediction: Long Shots, but with room to be serious spoilers. Please spoil the world.