The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup is just a few days away so we analyze what to expect from this event and look at the betting odds for the top teams to help you place your soccer picks.
2015 FIFA Women's World Cup
It has been a tough few days for FIFA, first the organization dealt with the corruption scandal that ended with the arrest of 14 officials last week, then a brazen and unrepentant Joseph “Sepp” Blatter easily won his re-election as FIFA president for a fifth term last Friday despite demands that he should quit and today he decided to resign and called an extraordinary FIFA congress to elect a new president as soon as possible. Fortunately there are still good news in the soccer world as the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Canada next Saturday.
It may not get the hype of the men's version but the interest in women's soccer has grown significantly as of late and the popularity of the Women's World Cup has also increased. This year the games will be played in six cities across Canada, with the Final taking place on July 5 in Vancouver.
The field for this year's edition is comprised of 24 teams, which is the largest ever (as opposed to the 32 teams that played in last year's men's tournament in Brazil). The teams are divided into six groups of four (we will take a close look at each group later). Once group-play finishes, 16 teams will advance to the knockout stage, just like in the men's tournament. Since the Women's World Cup field is smaller, some groups will see three teams advance while some will see just two advance. (The men's version has eight groups of four and two teams advance from each).
Important Preliminary Facts
- Japan are the defending champions after upsetting the U.S. on penalty kicks in 2011. (The U.S. led Japan 1-0 with nine minutes to play and then 2-1 with three minutes left in overtime).
- The first FIFA Women's World Cup was held in 1991.
- The United States and Germany are tied for the most World Cup titles with two apiece.
- Group D is this year's Group of Death. It includes the U.S., Nigeria, Sweden and Australia (all these four teams are in the top 10 of FIFA's world rankings).
Close Look at Each Group
Canada, the Netherlands, China and New Zealand
Game to watch: Canada vs. the Netherlands, June 15
Players to watch: Christine Sinclair (Canada) and Manon Melis (Netherlands)
Germany, Norway, Thailand and Cote d'Ivoire
Game to watch: Germany vs. Norway, June 11
Players to watch: Ada Hegerberg (Norway) and Nadine Angerer (Germany)
Japan, Switzerland, Ecuador and Cameroon
Game to watch: Japan vs. Switzerland, June 8
Players to watch: Ramona Bachmann (Switzerland) and Aya Miyama (Japan)
United States, Sweden, Australia and Nigeria
Game to watch: United States vs. Sweden, June 12
Players to watch: Lotta Schelin (Sweden), Christen Press (United States) and Lisa De Vanna (Australia)
Brazil, Spain, South Korea and Costa Rica
Game to watch: Brazil vs. Spain, June 13
Players to watch: Marta (Brazil), Vero Boquete (Spain)
France, England, Mexico and Colombia
Game to watch: France vs. England, June 9
Players to watch: Eugénie Le Sommer (France) and Yoreli Rincón (Colombia)
Favorites to Win the Tournament
According to the soccer odds makers at bet365, the United States and Germany are favored to win this tournament at +300, followed by France at +500 and Japan and Brazil at +800. Canada could be considered a dark horse candidate at +1400 because they will have home-field advantage.
The winner of this year's Women's World Cup is virtually guaranteed to be one of the following teams: the United States, Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Sweden or Japan, as no team on the rest of the field has the same level of talent.
The potential for a United States vs. Germany Final is intriguing and these teams are no strangers to each other, as one has eliminated the other in three out of the six Women's World Cups, although it's been 12 years since their last World Cup clash. The United States (+200 to win the Women's World Cup at Bovada) could have an easier path to the Final, as Germany would likely have to face an ultra-talented French team in the quarterfinals, which means that if both teams reach the Final then Germany will be more battle-tested, so keep this is mind when placing your soccer picks.