LOS ANGELES - The FIFA Women’s World Cup is underway in France and the defending champions, the U.S. Women’s National Team, will play their first game against Thailand on Tuesday.
Whether you’re rooting for Team USA, Thailand or any of the other countries facing off on the pitch, here’s five reasons to watch the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Team USA is favored to win again: The U.S Women’s National Team is considered one of the most successful in history when it comes to international women’s soccer. The team has three World Cup titles, including from the first-ever Women’s World Cup held in 1991.
The last time the team won was in 2015 when they defeated Japan 5-2. It was also the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history.
USWNT headed into the World Cup with a No. 1 ranking and were unbeatable during the World Cup qualifiers in CONCACAF.
Watch rivals duke it out on the field: Rivalries are part of soccer and there are teams looking to redeem themselves from some stinging past defeats.
Some of those rivalries include the U.S. and Sweden, France and Norway, and Brazil and Argentina. In the group phase, France and Norway will face off against one another on Wednesday, while the U.S. and Sweden will battle on June 20.
Sweden knocked out the U.S. in the quarterfinals of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Rio in 2016. That loss meant the U.S. didn’t even get a podium finish for the first time in history.
Women’s World Cup prize has doubled: The prize money for the top teams has doubled from $15 million in 2015 to $30 million. That money will be split between all 24 countries that participated in the event.
The team that wins it all this year will get $4 million, which is also double what USWNT earned in 2015, according to Fox Business.
Four teams made their WWC debut: There are four teams that made their first-ever appearance at the Women’s World Cup this year. Those teams are Jamaica, Chile, South Africa and Scotland.
The Jamaican team features Chanel Hudson-Marks, who happens to be the cousin of Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. Jamaica is also the first Caribbean team to make it to the soccer event. A lot of that is thanks to Cedella Marley, daughter of late singer Bob Marley, who sponsored the team when the Jamaican Football Federation cut funding.
New ads looking to empower, inspire young girls: There will be a slew of commercials focusing on getting young women more involved in the soccer world.
One of those ads created by Nike, called Dream Further, provides a powerful message to little girls. The commercial starts off with young girls walking out with the Netherlands and Nigerian teams. Then one of those girls ends up following alongside a Netherlands player.
The young girl goes from the Netherlands team to playing alongside other teams across the world, following players on the field hand-in-hand. The girl eventually ends up at a photo shoot then in a World Cup video game and finally on the sidelines with a female coach before being brought back to her start alongside the Netherlands team.
Watch the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on FOX from June 7 through July 7.