After winning it all four years ago in Canada, a deep USA side is back to do it again and has a favorable group to navigate.

By 90Min
May 29, 2019

The U.S. women's national team wants a fourth star for its jerseys, and it has a favorable group to navigate in order to kick-start its Women's World Cup run in France.

Likely playing its matches in ascending order of difficulty, the U.S. women should have little problem getting through Group F, though a third match against regular foe Sweden will be one to watch, with first place likely on the line.

Here's a closer look at the group, which also includes Thailand and Chile.


United States

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FIFA Ranking: First

Best World Cup: Champions (1991, 1999, 2015)

Coach: Jill Ellis - With a longstanding affiliation to the USWNT, Ellis will be leading her nation at a second World Cup in charge of the side, having been at the helm four years ago when she led the country to the 2015 title.

Player to Watch: Alex Morgan - The poster girl for women's football is her country's standout star in a richly talented forward line. Ellis's side is littered with attacking talent, but the 29-year-old Morgan is likely to be among the top scorers for the whole competition.

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Rising Star: Mallory Pugh, 21 - Pugh passed on college in 2017 to go professional and hasn't looked back since. The youngster has already played 53 matches for her country, netting 16 times and will rival her fellow forwards for minutes in France.

Expectations: To win. There is good reason why the USWNT is ranked as the best international women's side, with experience in every department and an excellent coach to guide teh team. The favorite to win the competition, it has a favorable group as well and should finish as Group F winners.

Miscellanous: With no single squad member playing their football outside of their home nation, there are also only three players in the 23-player team who have played less than 20 matches for the national side.

 


Sweden

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FIFA Ranking: Ninth

Best World Cup: Second (2003)

Coach: Peter Gerhardsson - Previously manager of Swedish men's side BK Häcken, where he won the Swedish Cup in 2016, Gerhardsson took the reins of the women's national team in late 2017. A former forward, the 59-year-old played his entire career in his native Sweden before retiring in 1992.

Player to Watch: Hedvig Lindahl - Much has been said about strikers ahead of the summer showpiece, but Sweden boasts one of the finest goalkeepers in the tournament in Lindahl. The 36-year-old is a veteran of the game and one of three Chelsea players in Gerhardsson's squad.

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Rising Star: Anna Anvegård, 22 - "She has the classic nose for the target and knows where it is," were the words her national team manager used to describe her shortly after earning her first cap in June 2018. The midfielder has an immense scoring record for her club with 104 goals in 89 appearances for Växjö, and will be hoping to recreate that for the national team in France.

Expectations: Sweden was eliminated in the round of 16 four years ago, but has a much more experienced squad this time around. A second-place finish at the 2016 Olympics was a sign of its growth.

Miscellaneous: The Swedes lost only one match during their entire 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign and have qualified for all the Women's World Cup tournaments since its inaugural 1991 edition.


Thailand

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FIFA Ranking: 34th

Best World Cup: Group Stage (2015)

Coach: Nuengruethai Sathongwien - She returned as Thailand's head coach following the departure of former manager Spencer Prior, following the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Sathongwien is well liked among supporters after steering Thailand to their first Women’s World Cup following a fifth-place finish at the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

Player to Watch: Duangnapa Sritala - As the oldest and most experienced member of the squad, defender Sritala is also the national side's captain, and will need to use all her guile and know-how to steer Thailand out of a difficult group.

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Rising Star: Suchawadee Nildhamrong, 22 - The American-born forward is already one of her country's star players, having broken into the national side back in 2017. In just 17 matches, the striker has already notched 12 goals and will be the key threat going forward.

Expectations: If Thailand can somehow manage a second-place finish in a group featuring the United States and Sweden, or even go through as a third-place finisher, it will be one of the shocks of the tournament.

Miscellaneous: Nearly half of the squad turns out for the same Thai club, Chonburi, while only Tiffany Sornpao plays for a club outside of Thailand.


Chile

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FIFA Ranking: 39th

Best World Cup: N/A

Coach: Jose Letelier - The former professional goalkeeper has been coaching the national team since 2015. While in charge of Colo-Colo's women's team, he won the Campeonato Nacional Primera División de Fútbol Femenino 10 times in a row before steering Chile to its first Women's World Cup.

Player to Watch: María José Rojas - The highest scoring player in the Chile squad, Rojas joined Slavia Praha in the Czech Republic this year after last turning out for Canberra United. Her 12 goals in 20 national appearances make her Letelier's most dangerous weapon up front.

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Rising Star: Javiera Grez, 18 - She may stand under five feet, but the forward definitely has the chance to fly under the radar and make some noise in France.

Expectations: Much like Thailand, little is expected of Chile in the summer. The squad is certainly talented, but it's a few tournaments short of experience to challenge the bigger nations.

Miscellaneous: Not one member of the entire 23-player squad has over 22 international caps, making it one of the least experienced squads in the competition.


Group F Fixtures

Date Teams Kick-Off Venue
June 11 Chile vs Sweden 12 p.m. Roazhon Park, Rennes
June 11 United States vs Thailand 3 p.m. Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims
June 16 Sweden vs Thailand 9 a.m. Allianz Riviera, Nice
June 16 United States vs Chile 12 p.m. Parc des Princes, Paris
June 20 Sweden vs Unites States 3 p.m. Stade Océane, Le Havre
June 20 Thailand vs Chile 3 p.m. Roazhon Park, Rennes

*All times Eastern

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