Women’s World Cup: Who’s going to win? Who’s playing? Plus fun facts

Women's World Cup
Host nation: France Dates: 7 June - 7 July 2019
Coverage: BBC website will have live text commentaries on all England and Scotland matches and you can listen to commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, online and on the Red Button

The Fifa Women's World Cup starts on Friday so it's time to swat up on your knowledge of the competition.

Whether you're new to the world of women's football, on the hunt for a second team, or a die-hard fan looking for the quirkiest facts to share with your mates - keep this guide handy and you won't go wrong.

The tournament, held in France, runs from 7 June to 7 July and there is full coverage across the BBC.


Argentina celebrate reaching the World Cup finals

Form: They're definitely underdogs in Group D against England, Scotland and Japan. They've lost all six World Cup matches they've played in.

Stat: If goal difference is factored in, they finished last at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and have scored as many goals as they've had red cards (two).

Fact: They've overcome huge adversity. They qualified for France despite a two-year period with no games, no coach and no world ranking, as they battled with their own FA over equality.


Australia celebrate scoring

Form: They've reached the quarter-finals at the past three World Cups and are an outside bet for the trophy.

Stat: Their captain and striker Sam Kerr is one to watch. At 25, she's the all-time top goalscorer in the American NSWL and Australia's W-League. She's the highest-rated female player on Fifa 19.

Fact: At 16 years old, Matildas forward Mary Fowler is the youngest player at the World Cup.


Brazil's Formiga celebrates

Form: They were once runners-up, but they've dropped from third to 10th in the rankings and come into the World Cup having lost nine consecutive games.

Stat: Marta is their most high-profile player. She's the World Cup's all-time top scorer with 15 and was named world player of the year for the sixth time in September.

Fact: Brazil's formidable trio of Formiga, Marta and Cristiane have a combined age of 108. And at 41, Formiga is set to become the first player - male or female - to feature at seven World Cups.


Cameroon fans at Canada 2015

Form: They were the surprise package in Canada four years ago as the only African team to make it to the knockouts. They'll do well to match that in France.

Stat: They've lost only two of their past 14 matches at major tournaments in normal time.

Fact: They have arguably the strongest-sounding nickname at the tournament: the Indomitable Lionesses.


Christine Sinclair

Form: They were quarter-finalists on home soil in 2015, they won bronze at the Olympics a year later and coming into the tournament in France they've gone nine games unbeaten. They're outsiders for the trophy.

Stat: Captain Christine Sinclair is only four away from becoming the all-time top goalscorer - male or female - in international football. She has 181 goals for her country.

Fact: Sinclair has more caps (282) than the entire Jamaica squad put together.


Javiera Grez

Form: After failing to reach the last World Cup, the Chile women's team was disbanded and didn't play for 981 days. They're now back in the world's top 40, but are the underdogs in Group F.

Stat: They have named an uncapped 17-year-old in their squad. Elisa Duran made the cut ahead of Fernanda Pinilla, who is also president of the National Association of Female Football Players in Chile.

Fact: Teenage forward Javiera Grez is the only player at the World Cup under five feet tall. She comes in at 4ft 10ins.


China celebrate

Form: They're two-time hosts and 1999 losing finalists, as well as pioneers of the women's game. China are expected to reach the knockouts but are unlikely to get their hands on silverware.

Stat: Wang Shanshan started out as a defender, then played as a number nine, and now she's generally used in midfield. And she once came on as a 56th-minute sub and scored nine goals.

Fact: Wang Shuang is nicknamed 'Lady Messi' because of her grace and skill, but her hero is actually Cristiano Ronaldo.


England celebrate winning bronze in Canada

Form: The Lionesses finished third at the last World Cup and, now ranked third in the world, are among the favourites to win the tournament.

Stat: Karen Carney is the longest-serving player in the squad, having made her debut 14 years ago. She's played in 32 games at major tournaments - more than any other England player, male or female.

Fact: Leah Williamson, the 22-year-old midfielder, is training to be an accountant while defender Abbie McManus used to be Manchester City's kit-woman before signing for them when they turned professional.


Eugenie Le Sommer

Form: France have never got past the quarter-finals but the hosts have lost just once in two years, so they are one of the favourites.

Stat: Eugenie le Sommer is one of seven Lyon players in the France squad. The forward has scored 73 goals in 156 games and has won six Champions League titles with her club.

Fact: Defender Wendie Renard is the tallest player at the tournament, standing at 6ft 1in.


Germany women celebrate

Form: Twice winners, Germany have not made it all the way to the the final at the last two World Cups, but are unbeaten in 13 matches coming into this tournament.

Stat: Coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has picked nine members of the squad that won Olympic gold in Rio in 2016, including Dzsenifer Marozsan, who scored in that match and is considered one of the best midfielders in the world.

Fact: Their squad announcement video, which involved the players highlighting the struggles they have faced in the women's game, went viral on social media last month and has had over three million views.


Sara Gama

Form: This is the first time they've reached the World Cup in 20 years but after sailing through qualifying, they are tipped by many to make it into the knockouts.

Stat: Italy's AC Milan duo Valentina Giacinti and Daniela Sabatini were the two leading scorers in Serie A last season with 38 goals between them.

Fact: You can buy captain Sara Gama in Barbie doll form. She was honoured as part of a 'Sheroes' range after publicly supporting equality and diversity.


Bob Marley and daughter Cedella Marley

Form: Jamaica are World Cup debutants and the lowest-ranked side but their coach is confident of them reaching the knockout stages.

Stat: Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw, a graduate from the University of Tennessee, scored 19 goals in 12 qualifiers and has the best goals-per-game ratio of any players at the World Cup.

Fact: The national team restarted in 2014 after a four-year break, thanks to ambassador and sponsor Cedella Marley, who is the daughter of legendary musician Bob.


Japan celebrate winning the 2011 World Cup

Form: The 2011 winners are aiming to become the first side to reach three consecutive Women's World Cup finals, and will probably battle for top spot in Group D with England.

Stat: They've got a young team - 14 are under the age of 24 and there are two teenagers.

Fact: Ten of the squad members are team-mates at Nippon TV Beleza in Japan's top flight.

New Zealand

New Zealand score against England

Form: New Zealand were the final team to qualify and scored 43 goals on their way to France, but have finished bottom of the group stages at four previous World Cups.

Stat: Ali Riley and Abby Erceg have played every minute of New Zealand's past nine World Cup finals games, dating back to 2007, but are yet to win any of them.

Fact: Twelve players quit the squad last year following accusations of bullying against coach Andreas Heraf. He has since been replaced by Glasgow-born Tom Sermanni.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands celebrate winning Euro 2017

Form: The reigning European champions are among the favourites in France, even though they needed to come through the play-offs to reach the finals.

Stat: Vivianne Miedema finished top scorer in the Women's Super League for Arsenal and won the PFA player of the year award. At just 22 she already has 75 caps for her country.

Fact: Miedema is also a co-author of a series of comics.


Nigeria's Rasheedat Ajibade

Form: Nigeria have appeared at every Women's World Cup but have only made it out of the group stage once and they've been placed alongside hosts France this time round.

Stat: Nigeria have lost a record 16 World Cup matches and conceded 56 goals. But you can expect attacking play as they've named 10 forwards in their squad.

Fact: Their 19-year-old forward Rasheedat Ajibade is the reigning Nigeria freestyle champion.


Caroline Graham Hansen and Wolfsburg celebrate

Form: They won it in 1995 and have qualified for every tournament, but this Norway team are unlikely to make a huge impact.

Stat: Winger Caroline Graham Hansen made her Norway debut at 16 and now, at just 24, has over 70 caps

Fact: Two years on from Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg quitting the team over equality issues, the Norwegian FA and the nation's players' association have a historic equal pay agreement, which has seen the amount paid to the women's team double to 6m krone (£574,540).


Claire Emslie's mural

Form: Scotland, making their World Cup debut, have a tough task of getting out of Group D. But they are on good form, unbeaten in their past five matches.

Stat: Midfielder and vice-captain Kim Little has won domestic trophies on three continents, with Hibernian, Seattle Reign, Melbourne City and, most recently, Arsenal.

Fact: The face of forward Claire Emslie has been immortalised on a mural on the side of The Biscuit Factory, an art and studio venue in Leith.


Sweden's national kit promotion

Form: The 2003 runners-up are ranked ninth in the world but have claimed just two wins at their past three major tournaments. However, they are expected get out of Group F.

Stat: Midfielder Caroline Seger has been Sweden captain for 10 years, while defender Nilla Fischer, also 34, is playing at her fourth World Cup.

Fact: Sweden's kit incorporates a collage of some of the nation's female role models in the shirt numbers

South Africa

Desiree Ellis

Form: South Africa are one of four nations making their debut in France and face a tough task getting out of Group B against Germany, Spain and China.

Stat: Striker Thembi Kgatlana was named the best player in Africa in 2018 and won the golden boot at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Fact: Manager Desiree Ellis was one of the founding members of South Africa's women's team. She worked in a meat-packing market making spices while pursuing football.

South Korea

South Korea

Form: South Korea made the knockout stages in 2015 but they have won just one match in seven attempts at a World Cup and they made it through qualifying on goal difference.

Stat: Forward Ji So-yun became the country's youngest goalscorer at the age of 15 in 2006. She is now their all-time top scorer and has won both the Player's Player and PFA Player of the Year at Chelsea

Fact: Over 40,000 people turned up to watch South Korea play North Korea in Pyongyang, a game that ended 1-1.


Jorge Vilda

Form: Spain went unbeaten in 2018 - and have a 100% record in qualifying - but they then came unstuck against bigger nations like England and the USA. Even so, they should make it into the knockouts for the first time.

Stat: Atletico Madrid's Jennifer Hermoso won the golden boot in Spain's top flight, as they picked up the league title. She scored seven times and created nine assists in qualifying.

Fact: At 37, Spain boss Jorge Vilda is the youngest manager at the tournament. He turns 38 on the day of the final.


Thailand's 2015 team

Form: Back in 2015 they lost 4-0 against Germany and Norway in the group stages. This time round they have holders the USA up first. They're not expected to make the knockouts.

Stat: Striker Orathai Srimanee is the only member of the Thailand squad who has scored a goal at a World Cup.

Fact: The team are nicknamed Chaba Kaew after the pink female elephant of the same name in the Thai animated family film Khan Kluay.


USA win the World Cup

Form: They're the defending champions, the world's top-ranked side and are among the favourites to win it again. The Americans have never finished lower than third at a World Cup.

Stat: The USA have never lost a game when Alex Morgan has scored. The 30-year-old Orlando Pride striker has 101 goals in 163 games.

Fact: The team's faces were plastered across New York and LA as part of Nike's advertising campaign last month. They featured on billboards, advertising hoardings, and even stretching across the faces of entire buildings.

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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