With just days remaining until the Women’s World Cup kicks off in New Zealand and Australia the excitement in the world of soccer (or football) is palpable. The United States hopes to win a third straight World Cup in what likely represents the final tournament for players like Alex Morgan. Meanwhile, a host of challengers plan to play spoiler and claim the throne.
The first action of the tournament takes place Thursday when one of the hosts, New Zealand, takes on Norway. It’s sure to be a thrilling tournament but before it gets underway, we’re going to attempt to predict who advances from each group. Let’s dive in.
Norway holds the honor of being the Vegas favorite in Group A and I think they are likely to live up to that billing. The Philippines make their first appearance in a World Cup but seem unlikely to advance. It feels like the battle to advance from this group in the second spot will come down to New Zealand and Switzerland. I give the edge here to New Zealand due to the home-field advantage.
Group A Standings Projection:
- New Zealand
- The Philippines
It feels like a two-horse race between Australia and Canada in Group B. Vegas gives the edge to Australia and I have to think home-field advantage plays a role once more. I think Ireland and Nigeria could make things interesting here but Australia and Canada should be advancing, with Australia taking the group win.
Group B Standings Projection:
Spain sits atop Group C as a clear favorite. Japan likely finishes a distant second. Zambia made history by becoming the first land-locked African country to qualify for any FIFA World Cup but as the lowest-ranked team to qualify, I don’t see them advancing. Costa Rica’s chances seem only slightly better. Spain takes the group and Japan advances in the second spot.
Group C Standings Projection:
- Costa Rica
England represents the biggest favorite among all groups to win their group. However, I think Denmark could be a real threat to the English women here. With that being said, I do think England wins Group D of the Women’s World Cup. Denmark finishes second and advances with China and Haiti in third and fourth respectively.
Group D Standings Projection:
In the last Women’s World Cup, the United States and the Netherlands met in the final with the USWNT taking the crown. The Netherlands have a real shot at taking the group here but I think Alex Morgan and company should be able to repeat history here. The Netherlands and the U.S, shouldn’t have trouble with either Vietnam or Portugal so regardless who finishes on top, I expect both to advance.
Group E Standings Projection:
- United States
- the Netherlands
So far, I’ve agreed with Vegas on every group winner. That changes here. France is listed as the favorite in this one but I’m taking Brazil to win Group F. I also think Jamaica possesses a real shot to upset either France or Brazil. With that being said, I do think France and Brazil both advance to the knockout stage with Jamaica and Panama eliminated.
Group F Standings Projection:
This group represents one of the more interesting quartets in the Women’s World Cup for me. Sweden feels like the clear favorite but Italy, Argentina, and South Africa all bring attributes to the table that I think could allow them to advance. However, I lean Argentina in the second spot.
Group G Standings Projection:
- South Africa
Germany figures as the second biggest favorite in the group stage and should have no trouble whatsoever advancing to the knockout stage. However, the battle between Colombia and South Korea to advance ought to be a thriller. I’m taking South Korea but really this one is a coin flip.
Group H Standings Projection:
- South Korea