Fifa World Cup 2019: France the pacesetters in tough Group A
Maia Jackman, a 50-cap Football Fern and SKY Television Fifa World Cup 2019 pundit, breaks down Group A.
I lean towards France to top Group A. They’re playing at home and they are a really well-rounded team. They love to attack, and defensively they have one of the strongest backlines. They’ve always been good defenders but recently they have been scoring plenty of goals as well.
A lot of their team play together at Lyon, so they are a team that really know what they are doing. France are a good chance of going deep in the tournament and emulating the country’s World Cup winning men – but the draw may not be kind. If results go as expected, they will run into defending champions, the USA, in the quarterfinals.
Nigeria have been to every World Cup and have gone as far as the quarterfinals before, so they are not an easy beat. The other three teams might be more highly fancied to get out of the group, but Republic of Korea, in particular, will need to be mindful of Nigeria.
The African champions are a very good attacking team, and Korea, like many of the Asian teams, are not overly physical and sometimes struggle in defence. The Koreans like to get defensive numbers around their opponents and press, but the Nigerians might well have the athleticism to break out. If that happens the Koreans could be in trouble.
The Koreans do have an ace up their sleeve in Ji So-Yun, the Chelsea star who is one of the most dangerous strikers on the planet.
Norway might be without the world’s ‘best’ player, Ada Hegerberg, who is boycotting the tournament due to a longstanding unhappiness over the “lack of respect” shown to female players, but the former World Cup winners are still a genuine threat.
So Group A is wide open, with all four teams capable of qualifying from the group and making a strong run in the knockout stages.
All FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 matches will be live on SKY Sport, beginning June 8.