Canada tops Group E with Sinclair close to a milestone
The teams playing in the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, with ranking, qualification, appearances, coach, players to watch, facts to know and the state of women’s soccer in each nation:
FIFA RANKING: 5
QUALIFICATION: Runner-up at the CONCACAF Qualification tournament
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1995 (10th), 1999 (12th), 2003 (4th), 2007 (9th), 2011 (16th), 2015 (6th), 2019
COACH: Kenneth Heiner-Moller
KEY PLAYERS: Christine Sinclair, Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence.
WHAT TO KNOW: Sinclair is Canada’s most prolific scorer ever. Canada’s captain has 181 international goals, just three goals back of American Abby Wambach, who holds the record among men and women. Canada was led by John Herdman at the last World Cup, and he has moved on to coach the nation’s men’s team. Kenneth Heiner-Moller coached the Danish women’s national team from 2006-13. Canada has won the bronze medal in the last two Olympics.
STATE OF THE GAME: The Canadian federation pays the salaries for the national team players allocated to the U.S-based National Women’s Soccer League.
FIFA RANKING: 46
QUALIFICATION: Third at the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2015 (11th), 2019.
COACH: Alain Djeumfa
KEY PLAYERS: Madeleine Ngono, Christine Manie, Gaelle Enganamouit.
WHAT TO KNOW: Cameroon advanced to the knockout round at the 2015 World Cup before falling 1-0 to China. Nickname is the Indomitable Lionesses. The team is led by veteran defender Christine Manie, who plays professionally in Romania. Coach Alain Djeumfa replaced Joseph Ndoko in January, a move that was somewhat of a surprise because Ndoko had guided the team to its third-place finish at the Africa Women Cup of Nations last year.
STATE OF THE GAME: Earlier this year, Gaelle Enganamouit opened a women’s soccer school, the Rails Football Academy, to train the next generation of players.
FIFA RANKING: 19
QUALIFICATION: 2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup champions.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (11th), 2007 (14th), 2011 (12th), 2015 (19th), 2019.
COACH: Tom Sermanni
KEY PLAYERS: Erin Nayler, Katie Bowen, Sarah Gregorius, Abby Erceg.
WHAT TO KNOW: Tom Sermanni, former coach of both the U.S. national team and the Orlando Pride of the U.S.-based National Women’s Soccer League, took over at head coach in October, just in time for qualification. Gregorius scored eight of new Zealand’s 43 goals in the Nations Cup. It was the team’s fourth straight title at the tournament, which was capped by an 8-0 victory over Fiji. The victory also qualified New Zealand for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Midfielder Daisy Cleverley plays at the University of California at Berkeley. Nickname is the Ferns.
STATE OF THE GAME: The women’s national team won equal pay to the men’s team in 2018.
FIFA RANKING: 8
QUALIFICATION: Won a four-team UEFA playoff.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2015 (13th), 2019.
COACH: Sarina Wiegman
KEY PLAYERS: Lieke Martens, Shanice van de Sanden, Loes Geurts.
WHAT TO KNOW: The Netherlands won the 2017 Euros. Forward Martens was the FIFA women’s player of the year in 2017. Goalkeeper Geurts has 123 caps. Nickname is the Oranje. The Dutch played in the first FIFA-recognized women’s match in 1971 against France. Wiegman, a former Dutch international with 104 caps, took over the team in January 2017 and was named FIFA women’s coach of the year for her rookie season.
STATE OF THE GAME: The Eredivisie Vrouwen is the professional women’s soccer league in the Netherlands, consisting of nine teams.