BC-SOC--WWCup-Capsules-Group A,1st Ld-Writethru
The teams playing in the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, with ranking, qualification, appearances, coach, players to watch, facts to know and the state of women’s soccer in each nation:
FIFA RANKING: 4
QUALIFICATION: Qualified as host.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2003 (9th), 2011 (4th), 2015 (5th), 2019.
COACH: Corinne Diacre
KEY PLAYERS: Amandine Henry, Wendie Renard, Eugenie Le Sommer.
WHAT TO KNOW: Diacre surprised many when she left Marie-Antoinette Katoto off her roster. Katoto was the leading scorer in the French league this season while playing for Paris Saint-Germain. Corinne Diacre was formerly coach of the second-tier men’s team Clermont, becoming the first woman to coach a men’s team in a competitive match in France. Nickname is Les Bleues. If the women can win the World Cup, it will be the first time a country has had both the men’s and women’s champions.
STATE OF THE GAME: France has a robust women’s league and Lyon advanced to the Champions League final against Barcelona.
FIFA RANKING: 14
QUALIFICATION: Finished fifth at the 2018 AFC Women’s Cup.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2003 (14th), 2015 (14th), 2019.
COACH: Yoon Deok-yeo
KEY PLAYERS: Ji So-yun, Cho So-hyun, Jang Sel-gi.
WHAT TO KNOW: South Korea went to the round of 16 at the 2015 World Cup in Canada but fell to France. It was the first time the team had reached the knockout stage. Ji So-yun, who plays for Chelsea, has 54 goals in 115 appearances with the national team. Yoon Deok-yeo, coach since 2012, is a former player for the men’s national team and went to the 1990 World Cup.
STATE OF THE GAME: South Korea has a women’s professional league called the WK League, which consists of eight teams.
FIFA RANKING: 12
QUALIFICATION: Won Group 3 of UEFA Qualification.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (2nd), 1995 (1st), 1999 (4th), 2003 (7th), 2007 (4th), 2011 (10th), 2015 (10th), 2019.
COACH: Martin Sjogren
KEY PLAYERS: Caroline Graham Hansen, Maren Mjelde, Isabell Herlovsen.
WHAT TO KNOW: Norway is without its best player, Ada Hegerberg, the 2018 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, because of what she says are differences in the way the federation treats the men’s and women’s teams. She still plays club football for Lyon. Norway won the World Cup in 1995. Norway lost to England in the round of 16 at the 2015 World Cup in Canada. Norway is one of just four countries to have won a World Cup, along with Japan, Germany and the United States. Norway won the 2019 Algarve Cup.
STATE OF THE GAME: Norway’s football federation announced in 2017 that the men’s and women’s national team players would be compensated equally.
FIFA Ranking: 38
QUALIFICATION: Won the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (10th), 1995 (11th), 1999 (7th), 2003 (15th), 2007 (13th), 2011 (9th), 2015 (21st), 2019.
COACH: Thomas Dennerby
KEY PLAYERS: Tochukwu Oluehi, Francisca Ordega, Onome Ebi
WHAT TO KNOW: Nigeria has won nine Women’s Cup of Nations titles, including the last four. The team has been to every World Cup, and made it to the quarterfinals in 1999 but was defeated by Brazil. The team is nicknamed the Super Falcons. Francisca Ordega played for the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League in the U.S. Thomas Dennerby coached Sweden’s national team from 2005-12, including a third-place finish in the 2011 World Cup.
STATE OF THE GAME: The Nigeria Women Premier League has come under fire for player compensation and conditions, including transportation for the teams.