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Women's World Cup Group E Preview: Canada, Netherlands Battle for Top Spot

Canada succumbed to a quarterfinal exit on home soil four years ago, but with Christine Sinclair still leading the charge, there's hope for another deep run.

Canada succumbed to a quarterfinal exit on home soil four years ago, but with Christine Sinclair still leading the charge, there's hope for another deep run.

With a new coach and boosted by another star on the rise, Canada is perhaps the heavy favorite to top Group E at the Women's World Cup this summer in France, though a star-laden Netherlands side will have plenty to say about that.

Here's a closer look at Group E, which is made up of the two aforementioned sides, New Zealand and Cameroon.

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FIFA Ranking: Eighth

Best World Cup: Round of 16 (2015)

Coach: Sarina Wiegman - The former midfielder took the reins of the Netherlands side on a permanent basis in early 2017, having established herself as one of the most influential players in the country's history during her playing days. She wasted little time in showcasing her skills, picking up 'The Best FIFA Women's Coach' award in 2017.

Player to Watch: Vivianne Miedema - Despite being just 22, the Arsenal striker Miedema has long been one of the Netherlands' most dangerous players, and her tally of 57 goals in just 74 appearances should tell you everything you need to know about her.


Rising Star: Victoria Pelova, 19 - After standing out in men's teams earlier in her career, Pelova now plies her trade with Ajax, where she continues to impress. She has flitted between the Under-19 side and the seniors, but now will be hoping to cement a permanent place in Wiegman's side.

Expectations: The Netherlands are yet to showcase their best at a World Cup, but fans will certainly be expecting big things this summer. After winning the 2017 European Championship and the 2018 Algarve Cup, this group are now deservedly viewed as one of the world's finest. 

Miscellaneous: For a team so good, it comes as a surprise that this will be just its second appearance at a World Cup, having failed to qualify for the first six iterations of the competition.

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FIFA Ranking: Fifth

Best World Cup: Fourth (2003)

CoachKenneth Heiner-Møller - After being forced into an early retirement after suffering a nasty leg break, Heiner-Møller spent his early managerial days in Denmark, before leaving to take control of Canada in January 2018.

Player to Watch: Christine Sinclair - There is plenty of talent to choose from in Canada's ranks, but all eyes will be on the 35-year-old legend. She has racked up 181 goals for the national team, and needs just four more to break Abby Wambach's record of 184 international strikes. As the penalty taker, she just might do it.


Rising Star:Jordyn Huitema, 18Again, there are many contenders here, but Paris Saint-Germain forward Huitema is the winner. She has starred for youth teams and has already showcased her skills for the seniors, with six goals in 21 outings to her name.

Expectations: Make no mistake about it, Canada is here to win. It doesn't lose many games, and it will be looking to take the next step and cement its place as champions. It has often come up short on the global scale, but this year could be its year.

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Miscellaneous: Canada has plenty of attacking stars, but its defense has been just as impressive in 2019, conceding just one goal this year, and just four in its last 13 games.

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New Zealand


FIFA Ranking: 19th

Best World Cup: Group Stage (2015)

Coach:Tom Sermanni - Recruiting Sermanni, who is one of the most high-profile names in management, was a masterstroke from New Zealand. The Scot has plenty of experience to his name, having led Australia, Canada and the United States throughout his 21-year career.

Player to Watch:Abby Erceg - New Zealand's star center back has endured a tumultuous few years with the team. She retired in 2017, returned in 2018, retired three months later and then returned again in January 2019. New Zealand wants her around, and understandably so, as she is one of the NWSL's finest in her position.


Rising Star: Meikayla Moore, 22 - Moore has long been a vital part of the Football Ferns, so you'd be forgiven for forgetting she is just 22. The defender plays her club football for German side Duisburg and is leaps and bounds ahead of where many players her age are.

Expectations: This side is certainly a good one, but the task in France is enormous. No New Zealand side, male or female, has ever won a game at a World Cup, despite the women's team being part four competitions in the past. A deep run would be nice, but a solitary victory would be a historic moment.

Miscellaneous: At the OFC Nations Cup in late 2018, New Zealand managed to net a breathtaking 43 goals in just five games. Goals won't be so easy to come by this summer, but the Kiwis will certainly come in with some confidence.

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FIFA Ranking: 46th

Best World Cup: Round of 16 (2015)

Coach: Alain Djeumfa - Cameroon underwent a drastic change by bringing in Djeumfa to replace then-manager Joseph Ndoko in January, but the Indomitable Lionesses have faith in the former fitness coach, who has previously led some of Cameroon's elite club sides.

Player to Watch: Madeleine Ngono Mani - Cameroon's leading scorer has plenty of World Cup experience to her name, having made her debut for the team in 2002. She bagged the winning goal to help Cameroon out of the group stage in 2015, and Ngono Mani will certainly be eager for a similar showing this time around.


Rising Star: Alexandra Takounda, 18 - Few players in Cameroon have generated excitement quite like Takounda. She struck for 32 goals in the domestic league for Éclair of Sa'a last season, and she appears set to take over from Ngona Mani once the veteran forward hangs up her boots.

Expectations: Having stunned fans by emerging from the group stage in 2015, Cameroon will know that a similar feat would be nothing short of extraordinary in France. With both Canada and the Netherlands in the group, beating New Zealand is a must if it is to have any hope of a long run this time out.

Miscellaneous: Keep an eye out for 26-year-old strikerGaëlle Enganamouit. She dominated at the 2015 tournament, earning the nickname 'Freight Train' amongst Canadian fans. She has been a free agent since leaving Malaga in April 2019, but the former African Player of the Year still knows how to get fans on their feet.

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Group E Fixtures





June 10

Canada vs Cameroon

3 p.m.

Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier

June 11

New Zealand vs Netherlands

9 a.m.

Stade Océane, Le Havre

June 15

Netherlands vs Cameroon

9 a.m.

Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes

June 15

Canada vs New Zealand

3 p.m.

Stade des Alpes, Grenoble

June 20

Netherlands vs Canada

12 p.m.

Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims

June 20

Cameroon vs New Zealand

12 p.m.

Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier

*All times Eastern