Excitement around the world is building for the 2019 Women’s World Cup, as some of the game’s top talents will take their talents to France to try lead their country to glory.
Here’s your preview to Group E, which is made up of the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Cameroon.
FIFA Ranking: 8th
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 years old, 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.
Any Other Business? For a team so good, it comes as a surprise that this will be just their second appearance at a World Cup, having failed to qualify for the first six iterations of the competition.
FIFA Ranking: 5th
Best World Cup: 4th (2003)
Coach: Kenneth 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 35-year-old legend Christine Sinclair. 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 their penalty taker, she just might do it.
Rising Star: Jordyn Huitema, 18 – Again, 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 are here to win. They don’t lose many games, and they will be looking to take the next step and cement their place as champions. They have often come up short on the global scale, but this year could be their year.
Any Other Business? They have plenty of attacking stars, but Canada’s defence has been just as impressive in 2019. They have only conceded one goal this year, and just four in their last 13 games.
FIFA Ranking: 19th
Best World Cup: Group Stage (1991, 2007, 2011, 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 centre-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 want 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 years old. 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 are certainly a good team, but the task ahead of them 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. Winning the trophy would be nice, but a solitary victory would be a historic moment.
Any Other Business? At the OFC Nations Cup in late 2018, New Zealand managed to net a breathtaking 43 goals in just five games (yes, you read that right). Goals won’t be so easy to come by this summer, but they will certainly come in with some confidence.
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 stages 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 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 their group, beating New Zealand is a must if they are to have any hope of a long run this time out.
Any Other Business? Keep an eye out for 26-year-old striker Gaëlle 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.
Group E Fixtures
|10 June 2019||Canada vs Cameroon||9pm||Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier|
|11 June 2019||New Zealand vs Netherlands||3pm||Stade Océane, Le Havre|
|15 June 2019||Netherlands vs Cameroon||3pm||Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes|
|15 June 2019||Canada vs New Zealand||9pm||Stade des Alpes, Grenoble|
|20 June 2019||Netherlands vs Canada||6pm||Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims|
|20 June 2019||Cameroon vs New Zealand||6pm||Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier|
*All dates and times are local