Defending champion US is atop Group F, along with Sweden
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: 1
QUALIFICATION: CONCACAF women’s qualifying tournament champions.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (1st), 1995 (3rd), 1999 (1st), 2003 (3rd), 2007 (3rd), 2011 (2nd), 2015 (1st), 2019.
COACH: Jill Ellis
KEY PLAYERS: Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn.
WHAT TO KNOW: The United States has three World Cup titles and is the defending champion. The Americans defeated Japan 5-2 in the final at the 2015 World Cup in Canada, with Carli Lloyd scoring a hat trick in the first 16 minutes. The current squad includes 12 players who were on the 2015 World Cup roster. Alex Morgan was named the team’s Player of the Year after scoring 18 goals in 19 games last year.
STATE OF THE GAME: U.S. team players filed a lawsuit earlier this year seeking pay equitable to that of their counterparts on the men’s national team. It is the latest salvo in a long-running dispute with U.S. Soccer over pay.
FIFA RANKING: 34
QUALIFICATION: Fourth at the 2018 AFC Women’s Cup.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2015 (17th), 2019.
COACH: Nuengruethai Sathongwien
KEY PLAYERS: Wilaiporn Boothduang, Rattikan Thongsombut, Kanjana Sungngoen.
WHAT TO KNOW: Thailand won the AFC Women’s Asia Cup in 1983. The team has seen a more recent rise on the international stage. It made the World Cup in 2015 and had its first victory (3-2) against Ivory Coast. The team’s nickname is Chaba Kaew. Coach Nuengruethai Sathongwien is in his second stint with the team, he also was coach in 2015 in Canada.
STATE OF THE GAME: The professional Thai Women’s League was revived in 2017 with 10 teams. After the 2015 World Cup, Thailand’s federation announced it would invest more to develop the women’s team.
FIFA RANKING: 39
QUALIFICATION: Runner-up at the 2018 Copa America Femenina.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2019
COACH: Jose Letelier
KEY PLAYERS: Christiane Endler, Francisca Lara, Carla Guerrero.
WHAT TO KNOW: Chile defeated Argentina 4-0 in the Copa America Femenina to clinch a spot in the World Cup. The team has never been to soccer’s premier tournament. Chile’s men qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, making the nation just the fifth in CONMEBOL to have both sides qualify. Endler, a goalkeeper who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, is the team’s captain. Player to watch is Yanara Aedo, who has nine goals in 19 appearances, including three goals in qualifying.
STATE OF THE GAME: Women’s club players in Chile are classified as amateurs. Players hope women’s soccer will gain respect with the national team’s World Cup appearance.
FIFA RANKING: 9
QUALIFICATION: Won Group 4 of UEFA Qualification.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (3rd), 1995 (5th), 1999 (6th), 2003 (Runner-Up), 2007 (10th), 2011 (3rd), 2015 (16th), 2019.
COACH: Peter Gerhardsson
KEY PLAYERS: Hedvig Lindahl, Caroline Seger, Stina Blackstenius.
WHAT TO KNOW: Gerhardsson took over for Pia Sundhage, who stepped down following the 2017 Euros. Sundhage, the former U.S. coach, led Sweden to the silver medal at the 2016 Brazil Olympics. The Swedes infamously “parked the bus” against the U.S. in the quarterfinals in Brazil, advancing on penalties, and afterward U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo called them cowards. Although Sweden has appeared in every World Cup, a title has eluded the team.
STATE OF THE GAME: Sweden has a thriving women’s professional league, the Damallsvenskan.