Germany sets out to return to the mountaintop, but a side that has endured some turnover will be challenged in a tough group in France.

By 90Min
May 28, 2019

Germany is one of two nations to win multiple Women's World Cup titles, but adding to its tally will require overcoming a tough challenge from the very start in France.

Between fellow European nation Spain, former power China and a rising side in South Africa, it won't be easy for the world's second-ranked team, one that has endured some turnover in the last four years but still returns a dynamite core from the 2015 semifinalists.

Here's a closer look at Germany and what it's up against in Group B:


Germany

Sebastian Widmann/GettyImages

FIFA Ranking: 2nd 

Best World Cup: Winners (2003, 2007)

Coach: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg - The former German international took the reins of the national side upon the completion of their less than perfect qualification campaign, but this won't be her first experience of managing at the World Cup. She previously led Switzerland during the 2015 edition.

Player to Watch: Dzsenifer Marozsan - Fresh off the back of Champions League glory with Lyon, Marozsan will be looking to inspire Germany to its first World Cup success since 2007. On her day, the attacking midfielder has the ability to unlock just about any defense in front of her.

Christof Koepsel/GettyImages

Rising Star: Lena Oberdorf, 17 - Oberdorf will be one of the youngest players in France this year, and it remains to be seen how much game time the midfielder will be afforded, but she is one to watch for the future.

Expectations: Expectations are always high for Germany and they'll be hopeful of returning to the top step of women's football this summer.

Miscellaneous: This will be Germany's first major tournament since 2004 without the presence of the 158-capped forward Anja Mittag, who announced her retirement from international football in 2017. Germany will also be without Celia Sasic, the goal-scoring threat who retired four years ago despite leading all 2015 Women's World Cup scorers with six goals.


Spain

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FIFA Ranking: 13th

Best World Cup: Group Stage (2015)

Coach: Jorge Vilda - Appointed after Spain's disappointing 2015 World Cup, Vilda has played an instrumental role in Spain's development over the past few years, notably guiding them to the quarterfinals of the European Championship in 2017.

Player to Watch: Vicky Losada - One of 10 Barcelona players to be included in the squad, Losada's experience will be vital for Spain this year. Interestingly, she scored Spain's first World Cup goal against Costa Rica in 2015.

DANIEL MIHAILESCU/GettyImages

Rising Star: Patricia Guijarro, 21 - Guijarro won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the 2018 Under-20 World Cup, so she has a lot to live up to this year.

Expectations: Spain has come a long way since its group-stage exit in 2015 and will be hopeful of reaching the latter stages of the knockout rounds with an organized and technical squad.

Miscellaneous: Just three players from the final squad play their football outside of Spain: Reign FC's Celia Jimenez and French league duo Virginia Torrecilla and Irene Paredes.


China

Wang He/GettyImages

FIFA Ranking: 16th

Best Finish: Runners Up (1999)

Coach: Jia Xiuquan - The former Chinese international was appointed as head coach in May 2018, and he oversaw a third place finish at the Women's Asian Cup as well as a silver medal at the Asian Games during his first year in charge.

Player to Watch: Wang Shuang - The only member of the Chinese squad plying her trade in Europe, the PSG star will be the heart of everything for China this year. The attacking midfielder has struggled with injuries this season, but she should be fit to shine in France.

Wang He/GettyImages

Rising Star: Xu Huan, 20 - Huan has been gifted the No. 1 jersey for this year's tournament, so she may be expected to feature as the first-choice goalkeeper, despite her inexperience on the grand stage.

Expectations: China reached the quarterfinals in 2015, but doing so again would be a big achievement given the quality of its Group B opposition. The final group match against Spain will likely prove to be decisive.

Miscellaneous: China has never previously failed to progress out of the group stage, having qualified for the knockout rounds on all seven of its previous appearances.


South Africa

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FIFA Ranking: 49th

Best Finish: N/A - Debut

Coach: Desiree Ellis - Credited as being one of the pioneers of women's football in South Africa, Ellis took over as the caretaker manager of her country in 2016 before being awarded the job on a full-time basis in 2018. Her other experience of management was with Spurs Ladies between 2006 and 2016.

Player to Watch: Janine van Wyk - With a staggering 165 caps to her name, Van Wyk has had the most appearances to her name of any South African player, male or female. She'll have to draw on all of her experience to help her teammates in France.

Buda Mendes/GettyImages

Rising StarSibulele Holweni, 18 - Holweni captained her country at the Under-17 World Cup last year, and she's been subsequently fast-tracked into the senior setup.

Expectations: Getting out of the group is all South Africa will be hoping for, and anything after that will be an unexpected bonus.

Miscellaneous: Although this is its first Women's World Cup, South Africa has previously finished as runners-up five times in the Africa Women's Championship.


Group B Fixtures

Date Teams Kick-Off Venue
June 8 Germany vs China 9 a.m. Roazhon Park, Rennes
June 8 Spain vs South Africa 12 p.m. Stade Océane, Le Havre
June 12 Germany vs Spain 12 p.m. Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes
June 13 South Africa vs China 3 p.m. Parc des Princes, Paris
June 17 China vs Spain 12 p.m. Stade Océane, Le Havre
June 17 South Africa vs Germany 12 p.m. Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier

*All times Eastern

 

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