Here we go, this time around I will do the group stage by matchdays instead of daily, I hope this works for y’all.
So what do we have for matchday 1?
Group A: South Korea v France
As usual, the hosts open the World Cup and will face a challenging first game against South Korea. The Taegeuk Nangja should prove to be a though rival, but France should have this, specially if they plan to go far as they’re expected to.
Group A: Norway v Nigeria
The other favorite of group A and one of the favorites to win it all, Norway, will face Nigeria. The Super Falcons are no stranger to the World Cup (have not missed a single one), but are not expected to go far. Should be a good test for Norway
Group B: Germany v China
While not as fearsome as previous iterations, this Chinese team is pretty strong and also has one of my favorite nicknames: The Steel Roses. They will have to do their best to try to at least give a good match to Germany, one of the favorites. One of the best matches of the first round
Group B: Spain v South Africa
Spain had an impressive UEFA qualification, even better than Germany’s and are facing the Banyana Banyana who are debuting in a World Cup. So, yeah
Group C: Australia v Italy
Another one of the favorites, Australia, face though competition on Italy. Although not one of the stronger European teams, The Squadra Azzurra should prove a nice challenge to The Matildas.
Group C: Brazil v Jamaica
In probably Marta’s last World Cup, Brazil will try to go far. First test is against newcomers Jamaica. Should be fairly easy.
Group D: England v Scotland
For what FIFA rankings are worth (remember Poland in the men’s side) England are ranked 3rd and The Lionesses want to prove that’s true. Their first match is against Scotland, which while not one of the strongest teams it should be pretty intense given their countries histories.
Group D: Argentina v Japan
Argentina had a rocky qualifying (they had a playoff against Panama after finishing third in Conmebol) and they are going to face strong opposition on the Nadeshiko. Historically strong, while not favorites to win it all, Japan is expected to go far
Group E: Canada v Cameroon
Christine Sinclair is still playing? That can be right, how old is she? *googles, sees she’s my same age* oh, she has still two more world cups. its fine. Ok, yeah, this is probably her last World Cup and, like Marta, she will want to make this memorable. In front is Cameroon, The Indomitable Lionesses will try but this is a tall order.
Group E: Netherlands v New Zealand
Given that Australia qualifies in Asia, New Zealand basically has free reign to run wild in their qualifiers. They scored 43 and did not concede. Of course this doesn’t really prepare them for this. Netherlands are an up and coming side that won the euro in 2017 and while not favorites to take it all, should take this group and this match
Group F: Chile v Sweden
The Chileans are newcomers while Sweden are one of the most experienced sides. I’d say one of the most lopsided matches if not for the remaining match of this group
Group F: USA v Thailand
This should prove easy for the Americans, the Chaba Kaew* will probably not face much resistance. This is the most lopsided match of this round
*I’m baffled by this nickname, Google leads me to an animated movie where Chaba Kaew is the love interest of the main character. That can’t be right