The final group of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be in full effect on Tuesday, June 11th.
All five other groups have debuted their first match of the tournament. Now, USA, Thailand, Chile and Sweden are all that remain to get their taste of the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France.
Here’s the overview of the first match in Group F.
Sweden: FIFA Ranking = 9th Place
TEAM NEWS | #CHISWE 🇨🇱🇸🇪
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 11, 2019
— Svensk Fotboll (@svenskfotboll) June 10, 2019
Sweden or Blagult (Blue and Yellow in Swedish) is no stranger to the World Cup. In fact, just like the United States, they too have appeared in all eight World Cups. They’re highest ever ranking was 3rd in the world back in 2007. However, they’re lowest was 11th less than a year ago.
Head coach Peter Gerharsson has been in command since 2017 after Pia Sundhage (former USA coach) left the team following a disappointing run in the European Championship.
Their best ever World Cup finish was back in 2003 when they lost in the finals to Germany. However, their only international title was back in 1984 when they won the European Championship.
In the seven games that Sweden has played this year, they’ve won two games, lost three and tied once.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 10, 2019
On the road to France, 10 different players scored during the qualifying rounds.
Kosovare Asllani was one of them with four goals. She was Sweden’s player of the year after her success. Her insane footwork is no match for defenders. The 29-year-old Kosova immigrant is a role model for Sweden’s immigrant community as her parents sought asylum when she was young. Now, as an international star, she leads her team to the world’s biggest stage.
However, Sweden’s strength is its defense. It’s led by defender Nilla Fischer who was Sweden’s 2018 Player of the Year. The 34-year-old is the leader of the defensive line and has over 100 caps for the team. Sweden’s defense amounted to five shutouts in the qualifiers and only allowed two goals.
Their goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl isn’t one to mess with. The Chelsea keeper has cat-like reflexes and is a commanding issue inside the penalty box. Lindahl also broke the all-time record for a Swedish goalkeeper with most appearances male or female on the international team with 153 caps.
People tend to forget that Sweden knocked the United States out in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympic Games on their way to a silver medal. But that’s okay because they’re here to remind people why they deserve a shot at the title.
Chile: FIFA Ranking = 39th Place
— Cecilia Lagos, FIFA (@FIFAWWC_CHI) June 9, 2019
Chile or Las Chicas de Rojo for all you Spanish speaking folk will make their first ever World Cup appearance at noon against Sweden. Their first ever appearance in international play was back in 1991 against Brazil where they lost 6-1. They’ve much improved since then.
Their run to the World Cup was a phenomenal one. They hosted the 2018 Copa America Femenina and were runner ups to Brazil, this solidified their boarding pass to France.
Now, South American teams are far from European teams on a talent level. To put it into perspective, a South American team has never won the World Cup. Plus, Chile’s ranking is one of the lowest in the tournament out of 24 teams.
Although, head coach Jose Letelier has experience with success. He coached the Chilean women’s club Colo-Colo and won them a Copa Libertadores title back in 2012.
However, the Chilean team enters the tournament with no momentum as they haven’t won a single game in the last nine matches. In fact, Chile hasn’t won a match since September 11th, 2018 after beating Australia 3-2.
What’s worse is that club soccer in Chile is classified as “amateur” which means they don’t get sufficient funds. This World Cup appearance will hopefully put some respect on their name and further advance equal pay rights for women’s sports in Chile.
It’snot often you hear about a goalie being the best player on the team, but this is definitely the case for Chile. 27-year-old captain Christiane Endler has gloves sown from the soccer gods themselves. The USF alumnus plays in Paris Saint-Germain, one of the best clubs in the entire world and has the skill set to earn her reputation as a penalty-saver.
Chile must rely on their two striking forces, Yanara Aedo and Maria Jose Rojas.
25-year-old clutch scorer Aedo is considered to be one of the fastest players on the team both on and off the ball. Her vision and shot attempts make her one of the main reasons why Chile made it to the World Cup in the first place. She’s a true center-attacking force and will rely on either initiating the play or finishing the play with a goal. No matter the outcome, the ball will touch Aedo’s feet at all costs.
— Cecilia Lagos, FIFA (@FIFAWWC_CHI) June 8, 2019
Rojas, on the other hand, brings character, experience and a is a goal scoring threat for Las Chicas de Rojo. She loves to drop wide and uses her pace wisely. Her other assets include classy touches and insane dribbling skills that you wouldn’t want to miss.
Chile understands that their group is tough, with European Super Team Sweden and the best team in the world, USA. In fact, Chile has lost to both teams in the past, most recently with the US twice back in 2018.
But make no mistake, USA defender Becky Sauerbrunn had this to say about Chile’s attacking methods:
“They’ve got individual players with a lot of flare, they’re very good on the ball and very good in tight spaces, said Saurbrunn. “You really have to keep track of them becuase they can be very tricky and they try things that other teams dont do and sometimes it can be very hard to defend that.”
Sweden and Chile will face off at noon on Tuesday, June 11th, inside the Roazhon Park.
— Cecilia Lagos, FIFA (@FIFAWWC_CHI) June 10, 2019
Below is the rest of Group F’s schedule.
Group F Schedule
- June 11th
- Chile v. Sweden 12:00 PM, Roazhon Park, Rennes
- USA v. Thailand 3:00 PM, Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims
- June 16th
- Sweden v. Thailand 9:00 AM, Stade de Nice, Nice
- USA v. Chile 12:00 PM, Parc de Princes, Paris
- June 20th
- Sweden v. USA 3:00 PM, Stade Oceane, Le Havre
- Chile v. Thailand 3:00 PM, Roazhon Park, Rennes