LOS ANGELES - As the Women’s World Cup 2019 kicks off in France on June 7, All eyes will be on group F. The top-ranked team in the group, the United States, faces off against Chile (a team that is making its international debut), Thailand (making their second appearance) and Sweden who just might stand a chance since beating the U.S. team in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
Before the tournament starts, here’s everything you need to know about Group F.
Team USA (FIFA Ranking: 1) – Everyone will be eager to see who can actually stop the most successful nation in Women’s World Cup history. They were unbeatable during World Cup Qualifying in CONCACAF, where they scored 26 goals in total and conceded none.
This is familiar territory for the team since they have always reached the semi-finals at least in every single woman’s world cup since the first one in 1991, which they won.
All-star coach Jill Ellis led the team to victory in 2015, when the women redeemed themselves from a bitter defeat against Japan in 2011. The USA squad currently holds the record for total goals, with 112 scored in all seven appearances.
Thailand (FIFA Ranking: 34) – This will be the team's second appearance at the world finals after making their debut at Canada 2015.
Head coach Nuengruethai Sathongwien led the team in their debut campaign as well as their first victory at the finals against Cote d’Ivoire, where they won 3-2.
Thailand cemented their place in the 2019 Women’s World Cup when they reached the semi-finals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, where they finished fourth.
Everyone will have their eyes on veteran striker Kanjana Sungngoen, who played a crucial role in leading her team to Canada in 2015, and now France 2019.
Chile (FIFA Ranking: 39) – Making their World Cup debut along with four other countries, team Chile's players are already making a name for themselves. They were the runners up at the Copa America Femenina, losing to Brazil in the final.
Goalkeeper Christiane Endler first appeared with the national team when she was 15 and is currently the team's captain.
Jose Letelier has been Chile’s national team coach since 2015. As a former goalkeeper himself who won the Copa Libertadores title with his team Colo Colo in 1991, Letelier took the reigns as coach of his former club’s women’s team, winning 10 straight domestic titles.
Sweden (FIFA Ranking: 9) – If anyone can beat the U.S., it might be Sweden. They knocked out the USA in the quarterfinals of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Rio in 2016, which denied the stars and stripes a podium finish for the first time in history.
Everyone will be waiting with anticipation as the U.S. faces Sweden in the final game on the group stage on June 20, the sixth time the two teams have been in the same group.
Star striker Stina Blackstenius scored three goals in seven appearances during the countries’ World Cup qualifying rounds, which put the spotlight on her as a truly significant player.
Watch the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on FOX beginning June 7.