There are now just 100 days to go until the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in France. Over 300,000 tickets have already been sold and, with England set to be among the favourites to lift the trophy in Lyon on July 7, here’s an A-Z guide of the most prestigious competition in women’s football.
Morgan has been on fire for USA, scoring 18 goals in 19 appearances in 2018, and is set to be one of the stars of the tournament. In 2015, she appeared alongside Lionel Messi on the cover of the FIFA video game in the USA, becoming one of the first women to do so. As one of the USA’s co-captains alongside Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd, she’ll hope to bring some experience into their young side.
This iconic image of Brandi Chastain taking off her jersey in celebration as she dropped to her knees at the conclusion of the 1999 World Cup final is considered one of the most famous images in women’s sports.
Chastain scored the winning penalty as the USA defeated China to lift the World Cup on home soil in 1999.
The last edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup was held in 2015, with over 1.3 million fans turning out to watch the matches in Canada. The tournament saw the addition of goal-line technology and, controversially, was the first World Cup to be played on artificial turf. USA were crowned champions after they beat Japan 5-2 in the final.
Chile, Jamaica, Scotland and South Africa will be making their FIFA World Cup debuts this summer. Scotland will be hoping to cause an upset against the “auld enemy” England in their first match.
The Brazilian came out of retirement to help her team qualify for France 2019 and says breaking barriers is what spurs her on. If she does line up for Brazil this summer, she will be the first player to go to seven Women’s World Cups and, at the age of 41, will become the oldest player in the tournament’s history. Formiga also has the opportunity to extend her own record as oldest ever goalscorer in the competition.
Green & Gold Army
The name bestowed upon travelling Australian fans who will hope to cheer their team on to victory. Australia, know as ‘The Matildas’, head into into the tournament among the favourites to go all the way.
France are hosts and, with a strong team, they’ll hope to become the first country to house both the men’s and women’s World Cup trophies in their cabinet. They open their campaign against South Korea and they’ll hope that, after beating them in the bidding process for the tournament, they can win on the pitch and get a good start in Group A.
After coming third in 2015, England will head to France with high hopes but they have been unlucky with injuries. Vice-captain Jordanne Nobbs has been ruled out of the tournament thanks to a knee injury, while midfielder Jill Scott and defender Millie Bright withdrew from the squad heading to the SheBelieves Cup to ensure they have the best possible chance of being named in Phil Neville’s team later this year.
Japan’s Emotional Victory
In 2011, Japan lifted the World Cup trophy after a penalty shootout against the USA, who had beaten them in their previous 25 encounters. It was an emotional victory, with Japan still recovering from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima in March of that year. Supporters filled the streets and chanted the team’s name as they became the first Asian team to win a global football tournament at any level.
The American has played in 30 World Cup matches, more than any other player. She’s the most capped player in the history of the sport, with 354 to her name when she hung up her boots in 2010 having been part of the national set up for 23 years.
The Swede scored the fastest goal in Women’s World Cup history after 30 seconds for Sweden against Japan in 1991.
One of the few players who doesn’t need her second name for recognition, Brazilian icon Marta has more goals than any other player at the World Cup with a total of 15. The five-time FIFA World Player of the Year would probably trade some of those goals for a chance to lift the trophy, the closest Brazil have been was 2007 when they lost the final to Germany. But it wasn’t all bad as Marta picked up both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball awards.
Nineteen Ninety One
The first official Women’s World Cup was held 28 years ago and it was the USA who reigned supreme in China, with a 2-0 victory against Norway in the final. Although 1991 was the first official event, Denmark and Norway won unofficial tournaments in 1971 and 1988 respectively.
Christie Rampone currently holds the record for the oldest player to complete in a Women’s World Cup when she came onto the field for the USA age 40 and 11 days in the 2015 final.
FIFA have doubled the prize money in 2019, from $15 million to $30m shared between the 24 teams, with the winners taking home $4 million for their efforts. It pales in comparison to the $400 million prize pot for the men’s competition, with the Australian Professional Footballers Association noting that “if the Matildas are to become World champions, they will only receive 50% of what the Socceroos received for qualifying for Russia.’
Twenty four teams have qualified for the Women’s World Cup, New Zealand were the final team to make the cut after they won the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in December 2018. Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden, and the USA have all secured qualification for the eighth time, ensuring their participation in every edition of the tournament to date.
The nickname given to Jamaica’s team who will play at the Women’s World Cup for the first time this year. Their qualifying campaign took a big boost from the reggae scene when Bob Marley’s daughter Cedella Marley took on the role of ambassador, helping to fund the team on their journey to becoming the first ever Caribbean team to compete at the Women’s World Cup.
Seven Hundred and sixty four million
Number of TV viewers that tuned in to the coverage of Canada 2015. FIFA Secretary General is Fatma Samoura is targeting one billion this time around.
Tickets will go on sale in March, and France will hope to break some of the attendance records that have stood for a decade. In 1999 the Women’s World Cup travelled to the USA, and it was a huge success, with over a million people coming to watch. The average attendance for tournament was 37,319, with over 90,000 fans turning out to watch USA win the final against China in Pasadena.
Three-time champions USA will once again go in as favourites to lift the trophy. But the team feel they have work to do before they can even consider an unprecedented fourth title, due to a number of injuries and retirements following the 2015 win.
The youngest ever coach in a men’s or women’s World Cup match, she was 26 years, four months and three days old when she took charge of Ecuador in their match against Cameroon in 2015. She’s still in charge of the South American team but they failed to qualify for this year’s tournament.
In 2007, Argentina were on the receiving end of an 11-0 thrashing from eventual champions Germany, the largest winning margin in tournament history.
There’s a cross against Ada Hegerberg’s name when it comes to the Norwegian team sheet. The Ballon d’Or winner is all but officially ruled out of the tournament after Norway’s manager Martin Sjogren said they had been unable to solve the situation. The 23-year-old Lyon striker has not played for the national side since they were knocked out of the 2017 Euros without scoring a goal, claiming there is a lack of respect for female players in Norway.
The youngest player to ever appear at a Women’s World Cup is Ifeanyi Chiejine who took to the pitch for Nigeria in their match against North Korea at the 1999 World Cup at the age of 16 years and 34 days. They won the match and eventually made it to the quarter-finals, but were beaten by a Brazil team that a young star called Formiga.
On their way to winning the 2007 World Cup, not a single goal went into Germany’s net as they stormed to victory and became the first team to retain the Women’s World Cup. Nadine Angerer, who was in goal for Germany, said saving Marta’s penalty in the 64th minute of the final against Brazil was ‘the sporting highlight of her life so far’.