With 2014 nearly over, it is time to start looking forward to the summer and the upcoming Women’s World Cup. A tournament with stories flowing across every fixture; Canada will have some amazing pieces of action to display in the summer of 2015. Will the USWNT be able to shine in the one tournament that has denied them during the last decade of dominance? Will the home nation of Canada make an impressive run? Here at the Center Circle, we absolutely cannot wait!
The biggest stories that emerged from the group draw seemed to be many declaring that group D (the group that the USWNT got drawn into) as the “Group of Death.” Despite being extremely biased when it comes to women’s international soccer (USA! USA! USA!), that label is always given too quickly. While a fixture for the USWNT against the former coach Pia Sundhage – the current manager of the Swedish national team – is absolutely mouth-watering, there is little doubt that the USWNT and Sweden will emerge from Group D and move into the knockout stage. While Australia is very highly ranked, this is a squad that is desperately lacking in championship pedigree. Early exits in the last few World Cups and failing to even qualify for the last Olympic Games shows a squad that may struggle under the brightest lights. However, with boot-spotting ninja Jordon rooting for them, anything may be possible.
For us, the group for the host nation (Group A/Canada) feels like it will be the most competitive. The biggest ranking differential is only 11 (Canada – 8/New Zealand – 19), with it feeling like anybody’s game to snag the second spot for progression out of group A. Considering Canada’s recent form and their player’s success with their clubs during the last season (not to mention home field advantage), they seem a lock to make a deep run in the WWC. Plus, Canada will want to put as many points between them and second place within their group as possible considering that second in Group A will probably have to face the juggernaut that is Germany in the first knockout stage. Can Germany add a WWC victory to their recent 2014 WC triumph?
We also cannot wait to see what the always-amazing Marta has on offer as Brazil emerge as the heavy favorites in Group E. Despite being reticent to accept the tag of “veteran” in a recent interview with us, Marta will definitely be a leader whose actions on the field can certainly inspire a team to make a march to the final. Much in the same way that Brazil are heavily favored to exit their group, reigning champion Japan are (numerically) drawn into the weakest group of the entire tournament. Considering that the 2011 Champions have only continued to consolidate their status as a worthy champion, it would not be surprising for the Japanese to have a decent shot at chasing a repeat.
It will be great to see if Sydney Leroux gives a little bit extra against a coach that seemed reticent to give her a chance. It will be great to see if the new women’s league in the US gets a boost from this WWC, and, also, what kinds of moves are made in that league because of the performances in the WWC.
Be prepared for some amazing footy this summer and make sure that you are watching when the opening whistle blows!