With the U.S.’s last Group F game against Sweden on Thursday, the No. 1 ranked U.S. team has plenty of competition to contend for the 2019 Women’s FIFA World Cup in France. The U.S. is looking to repeat as World Champions after winning the World Cup in 2015.
Germany, France, England and Italy stand atop their respective groups and Canada and the Netherlands will play each other to decide the winner of their group.
Germany, which ranks second in the world, stands atop Group B and stands as perhaps the U.S.’s biggest competition despite starting slow in their first two games.
To open up its World Cup journey, Germany defeated China 1-0 in a game which could have easily been a loss had two Chinese shots not clanged off the goal post.
In their following game, Germany had less possession of the ball than Spain, but still came out with a 1-0 win over its opponent.
It wasn’t until the German’s last game against South Africa that the Germans had a convincing 4-0 win characteristic of a top team.
As host country, France had plenty of hype entering the World Cup as the No. 4 team in the world.
Defender Wendie Renard has captured headlines for the French teams for all of the right and wrong reasons.
In the World Cup’s opening game, Renard scored two goals as France defeated South Korea 4-0.
The following game against Norway, France avoided disaster after Renard scored an own goal which made the score 1-1. France was able to take a 2-1 on the 12th ranked Norweigen team to maintain their hold on the top spot in Group A.
France then faced Nigeria and was able to finish the game with a 1-0 win after Renard scored late into the second half in the 79th minute.
Sitting atop Group D is England, which ranks third in the world.
The English team had their first win against Scotland which ended with a score of 2-1. During the game, the English captured a 2-0 lead prior to the half and failed to score in the second.
England then beat Argentina 1-0 to avoid a draw. Jodie Taylor had a tap-in goal for England after a save by the Argentinian goalkeeper led to a deflected ball to Taylor.
To earn the top spot in Group D, England needs to win or draw against Japan on Wednesday.
Japan finished second to the U.S. at the 2015 World Cup.
As the lowest ranked team currently atop a group, Italy, which ranks 15th in the world, has two convincing wins in the Italians first appearance in the World Cup since 1999.
In their first game, Italy beat No. 6 Australia 2-1 with both of Italy’s goals coming from Barbara Bonansea.
Italy then beat Jamaica 5-0 with Christiana Girelli scoring a hat trick becoming only the second ever Italian to record a hat trick at the World Cup.
Girelli was the team’s top scorer during Italy’s qualifying run when scored seven goals in eight matches.
The Italians will play Brazil on Tuesday with the opportunity to clinch the top Group C spot.
In Group E, Canada and the Netherlands will play each other in a top-ten matchup on Thursday to decide the top team in the group.
No. 5 Canada beat Cameroon 1-0 in their opening game and then beat New Zealand 2-0 while the Netherlands, which ranks eighth in the world, beat New Zealand 1-0 and Cameroon 3-1.
As group play comes to an end, the knockout round bracket will materialize and the team’s in the way of the U.S.’s repeat World Cup Championship will present themselves.
Source: Iowa State Daily