The eighth FIFA Women’s World Cup gets underway in a little under two weeks time (June 7th). The competition will be held in France, the third time it has been held in Europe, and the second time in the last three editions. Twenty-four teams will battle it out, beginning with six groups of four teams.
The United States will be looking to win their fourth tournament and their second in a row. In fact, the USWNT has finished in the top-three in every running of the tournament! The other teams who have had success in the tournament are Norway, Japan, and Germany, who have won it twice themselves.
As with all football tournaments, there is sure to be a lot of thrills and spills before all is said and done on July 7th. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the favorites and some potential underdogs for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Odds are courtesy FanDuel, and you can check them all out here.
The United States +340
It’s hard to not consider the defending champions as potential winners once again in 2019. They have some of the most talented individuals in the world of football at their disposal and the experience to make it count. They also know how to win games, having not lost a game for over 18 months, from July 2017 until January 2019.
However, there have been some hiccups earlier this season. They lost 3-1 to France, on French soil, in January to break their unbeaten streak. They then drew twice in the SheBelieves Cup, with England and Japan, which ultimately cost them that competition. Following that they have rattled off five straight wins, scoring an average of four goals per game, and conceding just three in total. However, only three of those games were against teams who qualified for the World Cup, and none were against any of the big names.
Finally, the USWNT has never won a World Cup on European soil. In the previous three iterations of the tournament, they could only finish at best runners up in 2011. There is not really any value at this price which tempers enthusiasm. However, their pedigree will always make them contenders and mean they are always worth backing in a World Cup situation.
The French team comes into this tournament ranked fourth in the world, and they have drawn a relatively friendly group. Norway and South Korea could challenge them on their day, but it should be straightforward for France. However, things will quickly get tough after that, with a potential draw against the US awaiting them in the quarterfinals.
Even on home soil, winning a tournament that you have never finished higher than fourth in will be tough. In the last World Cup, they were eliminated by Germany on penalties at the Quarter Final stage, and they have not played a lot of competitive football recently. They have not played a tournament style match since defeating Germany 3-0 in the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. That lack of do-or-die type of football could show its effect once the knockout rounds begin.
This team has won 11 of its last 12 games, only losing 1-0 to Germany in that time. They also defeated the USWNT 3-1 last time they met, so they will know they can go toe-to-toe with the best. However, this price is far too short for a team with no real pedigree in this tournament and a lack of recent tournament style football.
Germany is actually in great form heading into the tournament. They have not lost for over a year, winning nine and drawing twice. In that time they have beaten France, Canada, and Sweden, who all have a chance to win this tournament. Their draws have also come against solid opponents, in Spain and Japan. They have a lot of tournament experience, having won every Women’s European Championship from 1995 to 2013.
Given their form in the last 12 months, and a group which they should sail through, this looks to be a great price for the two-time champions. As any football fan will tell you the Germans are never to be discounted in tournament football. If I was ranking the teams entering this tournament, Germany would be my number two. Therefore, this value makes them worth a punt, especially on European soil.
England will be hoping to build off their success at the SheBelieves Cup. They drew with defending World Cup champions the US and beat 2011 champions and 2015 runners up Japan. However, they recently lost to Canada 1-0 in a friendly before just squeaking past Spain 2-1.
Coming off the back of a third-place finish last time out, England will be desperate to go at least one step further. However, a tough group, containing Japan and the old enemy, Scotland, awaits them. Much like the other four teams in this section, they have the talent to challenge, but much like France, there are concerns about the experience. As an England fan trust me, nothing positive ever comes from backing an English senior side at a major football tournament. For that reason, I am staying away.
Interesting Long Shots
This seems like a lot of disrespect for a team with Japan’s pedigree. Granted they are not as good as they have been in the past, but this is still a team who made the last two World Cup Finals, winning one. They come into this tournament having won the last World Cup held on European soil, and they won the Women’s Asian Games competition in 2018. Their form is a concern, having won just one of their last five games. That includes losses to both England and France, as well as draws with the United States and Germany.
Their group is not the easiest, but they should progress. When they reach the knockout stages they have all of the experience to potentially go deep into this tournament. At the very least, at these odds, they are worth a bet to win it all.
Norway stands out to me as an outstanding value in the upcoming tournament. They recently emerged victorious from the Algarve Cup, so they will be riding on the crest of a wave. The Norwegians remain an outside shot because the Algarve Cup lacks some of the prestige of other tournaments. For example, they only had to win three games to emerge victorious, and they defeated a Poland team in the final who are not even at this World Cup. However, it is still an international tournament requiring nerve and strong football, and they won it. Their lack of marquee victories over world class sides is not ideal, but there are not many underdog sides in this tournament with a great history of success against the best in the world. At these odds, they are a fun bet to win it all for when your first choice team is not playing.
Summary of Best Bets to Win 2019 Women’s World Cup
- The United States: +340
- Germany: +500
- Japan: +1300
- Norway: +6500