ORP Guide to the Women’s World Cup: Group A and B

Nancy Frostick is here with all the key information you need to know about Group A and B as we prepare for a summer of women’s football.

Group A: France, Norway, South Korea, Nigeria

France

Coach: Corinne Diacre

Squad:

Peyraud-Magnin, Bouhaddi, Durand, Debever, Torrent, Tounkara, Majri, Renard, Mbock, Perisset, Karchaoui, Clemaron, Bussaglia, Thiney, Henry, Geyoro, Bilbaut, Gauvin, Cascarino, Diani, Le Sommer, Asseyi, Laurent.

Key players: Wendie Renard

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France’s natural leader and rock at the heart of defence. Recently a key figure as Lyon surged to a fourth successive Champions League title alongside compatriots Eugenie Le Sommer and Amandine Henry. All three have invaluable experience for both their club and country, and will bring a winning mentality to Diacre’s team.

Who’s missing? 

The big name that’s not in the provisional 23-player squad is Marie-Antoinette Katoto. The PSG striker was the top scorer in the French league this season, but the 20-year-old was apparently dropped earlier this year for a ‘lack of focus’.

World Cup Record: 

France will be bolstered by playing the tournament on home soil as they look to overcome their quarter-final curse, having never progressed beyond that stage of the competition. Last time out in Canada, they topped their group and swept aside South Korea in the round of 16, before losing to Germany on penalties in the final eight.

World ranking: 4th

Top scorer: Marinette Pichon

Norway

Coach: Martin Sjogren

Squad: 

Hjelmseth, Fiskerstrand, Bogstad, Thorisdottir, Mjelde, Hovland, Skinnes Hansen, Minde, Redisch Kvamme, Moe Wold, Ldnhardsen Maanum, Boe Risa, Syrstad Engen, Sessy Asland, Velve Eikeland, Bosshard Haavi, Reiten, Saevik, Graham Hansen, Herlovsen, Karlseng Utkand, Nautnes, Thorsnes.

Key players: Caroline Graham Hansen

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Chelsea duo Maria Thorisdottir and Maren Mjelde will have a big part to play if Norway are to challenge at the tournament, but the star name in the squad is Wolfsburg’s Caroline Graham Hansen.

Who’s missing?

The Hegerbergs. Not a surprising omission considering that both Ballon D’Or winner Ada and her sister Andrine have not featured for the national team in recent years in a dispute over equal working conditions for male and female players.

World Cup record:

Norway have never missed a Women’s World Cup tournament and won the competition in 1995, so are an experienced outfit to be taken seriously. In 2015 they were knocked out at the round of 16 stage.

World ranking: 12th

Top scorer: Marianne Pettersen

South Korea

Coach: Yoon Deok-yeo

Squad: 

Jung Bo-ram, Kang Ga-ae, Kim Min-Jeong, Hwang Bo-ram, Jang Sel-gi, Jeong Yeong-a, Kim Do-yeon, Kim Hye-rin, Lee Eun-mi, Lim Seon-joo, Shin Dam-yeong, Cho So-hyun, Kang Chae-rim, Kang Yu-mi, Lee Min-a, Lee So-dam, Lee Young-ju, Moon Mi-r, Ji So-yun, Jung Seol-bin, Lee Geum-min, Son Hwa-yeon, Yeo Min-ji.

Key players: Ji So-yun and Cho So-Hyun

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Both Ji So-yun and Cho So-Hyun are record holders for their country and have featured in the WSL this season. Chelsea’s Ji holds the record for the most international goals for her country, while West Ham’s Cho holds the record for most appearances.

World Cup record:

South Korea had one of the best defensive records in the qualifying campaign for France 2019 as they prepare to play in their second successive World Cup. In 2015 they were knocked out at the round of 16 stage by France, who they will face in the opening fixture of the competition in Paris.

World ranking: 14th

Top scorer: Ji So-yun

Nigeria

Coach: Thomas Dennerby

Squad:

Oluehi, Jonathan, Nnadozie, Ohale, Ebere, Ebi, Michael, Okeke, Chikwelu, Okobi-Okeoghene, Nwabuoku, Chukwudi, Ayinde, Okoronkwo, Oparanozie, Imo, Oshoala, Uchendu, Kanu, Ajibade, Ordega, Ogebe, Ihezuo.

Key players: Asisat Oshoala

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Asisat Oshoala is the standout name in the squad as the Barcelona player recently bagged a goal in the Champions League final and is three-time African footballer of the year.

Who’s missing? 

Brighton striker Ini-Abasi Umotong was included in the provisional squad but dropped from the final 23 for the tournament.

World Cup record:

Nigeria have qualified for six out of seven of the FIFA World Cups, having only missed the 2006 tournament that was held in Germany. The team have reached round 16 three times in their World Cup history.

World ranking: 38th

Top scorer: Perpetua Nkowcha

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Group B: Germany, Spain, China, South Africa

Germany

Coach: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg

Squad: Schult, Benkarth, Frohms, Simon, Hendrich, Maier, Hegering, Goessling, Elsig, Gwinn, Doorsoun, Oberdorf, Schuller, Huth, Marozsan, Popp, Dabritz, Dallmann, Schweers, Leupolz, Buhl, Magull, Knaak.

Key players: Dzsenifer Marozsan

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Dzsenifer Marozsan is back after recovering from a pulmonary embolism last year and lifted the Champions League trophy with Lyon earlier this month. She’ll be a key source of creativity and goals for the Germans.

Who’s missing?

Anja Mittag. Not a surprise as the striker announced her international retirement in August 2017, but this will be Germany’s first major tournament without their 158-cap forward.

World Cup record: 

Germany are two-time world champions, having won back-to-back tournaments in 2003 and 2007. They lost to England in the third place play-off match at Canada in 2015.

World ranking: 2nd

Top scorer: Birgit Prinz

Spain

Coach: Jorge Vilda

Squad:

Gallardo, Panos, Quinones, Paredes, Corredera, Ouahabi, Andres, Torrejon, Jiminez, Leon, Pereira, Sampedro, Bonmati, Guijarro, Torrecilla, Putellas, Losada, Meseguer, Hermoso, Falcon, Garcia, Caldentey.

Key players: Vicky Losada

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There’s a big Barcelona contingent in the Spain squad with ex-Arsenal midfielder Vicky Losada being one of ten from the Champions League finalists named in the squad.

Who’s missing?

Atletico Madrid trio Angela Sosa, Esther Gonzalez and Olga Garcia all surprisingly failed to make the cut.

World Cup record: 

Spain’s first World Cup came last time around in Canada, where they were knocked out at the group stage without winning a game. They’ll surely improve on that performance this time around.

World ranking: 13th

Top scorer: Veronica Boquete

China

Coach: Jia Xiuquan

Squad:

Huan, Shimeng, Yan, Xiaolin, Shanshan, Peng, Ying, Jiayue, Haiyan, Yuping, Guiping, Ruyin, Yan, Wen, Rui, Wei, Jiahui, Shuang, Yasha, Yanqui, Li, Man, Ying, Qiwen, Shanshan, Duan.

Key players: Wang Shuang

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The PSG player has been called the “Chinese Wambach” and links up play for China from midfield.

Who’s missing?

Yang Lina and Wang Linlin were both cut from the provisional squad before heading to France.

World Cup record:

China have a strong World Cup record. They reached the quarter finals on home soil in the 1991 tournament, before finishing as runners-up in the 1999 edition in the USA. They reached the quarter-finals in Canada 2015, where they were knocked out by the USA.

World ranking: 16th

Top scorer: Sun Wen

South Africa

Coach: Desiree Ellis

Squad:

Mpuru, Dlamini, Swart, Ramalepe, Vilakazi, Matlou, van Wyk, Mbane, Makhubela, Gamede, Jane, Makhabane, Dhlamini, Ndimeni, Smeda, Biyana, Holweni, Motlhalo, Kgatlana, Fulututidulu, Mthandi, Seoposenwe, Mulaudzi.

Key players: Thembi Kgatlana

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Banyana Banyana boast the African women’s Player of the Year in their squad in Thembi Kgatlana, who will be a key part of plans for the tournament as will Janine van Wyk and Noko Matlou.

Who’s missing? 

Experienced midfielder Mpumi Nyandeni was a surprise omission from the squad.

World Cup record: 

France 2019 is the first World Cup tournament that South Africa have qualified for, although they are five time runners-up in the African Cup of Nations.

World ranking: 49th

Top scorer: Portia Modise

You can follow Nancy on Twitter @NancyFrostick

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