Women's World Cup Schedule 2019: Dates, Bracket and Overall Predictions

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IDecember 8, 2018

FILE - In this July 5, 2015, file photo, the United States Women's National Team celebrates with the trophy after they beat Japan 5-2 in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Five players from the World Cup-winning U.S. national team have accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of wage discrimination in an action filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo maintain in the EEOC filing they were paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts on the U.S. men's national team. The filing was announced Thursday in a statement from the law firm representing the players.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

The draw for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup has been made, with the 24 nations having discovered who they will face in next year's finals in France.

The contenders have been drawn into six groups of four teams, and there are some exciting fixtures to look forward to:

Hosts France have been drawn into Group A and will face South Korea, Norway and Nigeria. They will kick off the tournament on June 7 against South Korea in Paris.

Holders United States have been handed a favourable draw and will face Thailand, Chile and Sweden in Group F. The holders kick off the defence of their title against Thailand on June 11 in Reims.

Some other fixtures to look forward to include England facing Scotland in Group D and Germany taking on Spain in Group B.

The full schedule and fixture list is available from the tournament's official website.

     

Holders USA the Team to Beat in France

It's hard to look past the United States retaining the trophy they won in Canada in 2015 after beating Japan 5-2 in the final. 

Jill Ellis' team have won their last 10 matches in a row, have drawn just two of their last 18 fixtures and are undefeated since a 1-0 loss to Australia in July 2017.

The Stars and Stripes booked their place in the finals in style with a 6-0 thrashing of Jamaica in October at the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship.

Midfielder Tobin Heath said after the game it was a great way to qualify, per Caitlin Murray at the Guardian.

"Now, how we're clicking at this moment, is a special time for us," she said. "Qualifying is a great feeling, and qualifying in this way is even better."

It's been a dominant year for Ellis' side. They went on to win the CONCACAF Women's Championship, beating Canada 2-0 in the final. They also saw off England to reclaim the SheBelieves Cup in 2018.

The U.S. also emerged victorious at the Tournament of Nations in August, their 4-1 victory over Brazil enough to seal the title courtesy of a better goal difference than Australia.

The team have made winning a habit and have quality all over the pitch. Striker Alex Morgan scored 18 goals for the national team in 2018, and midfielder Megan Rapinoe came up with 12 assists, per U.S. Soccer.

Julie Ertz is a dominant presence in midfield, while Heath made a successful return from injury in 2018 and brings excitement with her dribbling ability and creativity.

Ellis has her team playing with style and has a deep pool of talent available. They head toward the World Cup having not lost a match in 2018 and are the team to beat next summer in France.

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