Football

Fifa World Cup 2019: USA cast huge shadow over Group F

Maia Jackman, a 50-cap Football Fern and SKY Television Fifa World Cup 2019 pundit, breaks down Group F.

For in-depth team-by-team previews, click on the links below.

GROUP F

USA

Sweden

Thailand

Chile

USA are the giants of women’s football. They’ve led the way for the longest time and the reigning champions and current world No. 1 ranked team will head to France favourites to take out the tournament.

Women’s football was already strong in the USA, but in 1999 when the ‘99ers’ played in front of 100,000 people it really captivated the nation, and subsequent generations of girls have grown up wanting to play football.

They have had a topsy-turvy 18-months, but the coach has made a huge amount of changes over that period experimenting with a large pool of players to ensure she has the best possible squad for France.

Recent results – which include a 5-0 victory over New Zealand in St Louis – suggest they are now really hitting their straps.

They will, though, be less than thrilled to have drawn Sweden in their group, as Sweden are the nation that knocked them out of the Olympics in the quarterfinals in what was a massive shock.

That said, the Swedes have a strong history in the game as one of the top nations in Europe. At the Olympics they defended strongly, took their chances and frustrated the Americans, taking the match to penalty shootout, which they won.

If the US have any weaknesses, it is defensively where they are a little bit wobbly. That is the part of the team they have tinkered with the most. Attacking teams will fancy their chances of causing the US problems but, then again, the US are very strong in attack and tend to dominate possession – and if you can’t get the ball you are in trouble.

Thailand are playing in their second World Cup after qualifying as the fourth team out of Asia. They won a game in their first appearance at the tournament in Canada four years ago, so they’ll be looking to go one better and get out of the group this time.

Chile are very much an improving nation. They recently beat Argentina 4-0, which shows their potential. It’s hard to pick a winner between Chile and Thailand, but it would be a major shock if USA and Sweden didn’t claim the top two places in the group.

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