After women’s World Cup co-hosts Australia and New Zealand kicked off the tournament with wins, attention turned to the next group match and three leading contenders: Canada, Spain and the United States.
Spain and USA are used to reaching the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup and will have to endure the pressure of having a target on their backs. Canada faces a different kind of pressure on the World Cup stage, with expectations hitherto unfulfilled. They played Nigeria on Friday and drew 0-0.
After these games, it will be clearer which of these contenders are ready to go for the championship and which have issues to deal with.
Spain vs Costa Rica
Spain, which has players from Europe’s powerhouse Barcelona on the roster, lost only once last year. Spain is another program in the fight against the Federation. A truce was called before the teams departed for the tournament, but tensions remain.
Costa Rica were able to hold Spain to a 1-1 draw in the opening game of the 2015 Women’s World Cup, and Costa Rica wants to repeat that performance.
USA vs Vietnam
Vietnam, who are starting their Women’s World Cup opener, have just 50,000-1 chances of winning the tournament, but the team stunned the highly rated German side on June 24 by holding on to a close game – with a final score of 2-1.
The United States came under fire after the team beat Thailand 13-0 in the 2019 opener. Heading into the Women’s World Cup this year, none of this year’s players are going to put up with a similar frenzy of goals, and the U.S. will come out victorious one way or another as a team trying to make history with a third straight win.
Nigeria v Canada
Both teams played the opening game after temporarily shelving their disputes with the federation over investment and equal pay, ending in a scoreless draw.
Reigning Olympic champions Canada reached the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup, but were eliminated in the round of 16 in 2019. Nigeria have won the Africa Cup of Nations 11 times but face a tough challenge in a group that includes hosts Australia.
Philippines vs Switzerland
The Philippines, who will participate in the Women’s World Cup for the first time, 18 American-born players. On Friday they lost to Switzerland, a team that has only made one appearance in the Women’s World Cup (2015). Neither team is expected to make big strides in this tournament.