USA Star Megan Rapinoe Says France Is Favorite at 2019 Women's World Cup

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2019

Megan Rapinoe, a forward for the United States women's national team, which is headed to the FIFA Women's World Cup, is introduced for fans during a send-off ceremony following an international friendly soccer match against Mexico, Sunday, May 26, 2019, in Harrison, N.J. The U.S. won 3-0. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The United States women's national team likely has plenty of confidence heading into the 2019 World Cup, but some players think they're actually underdogs. 

According to Megan Rapinoe, France should be favored to win it all. 

"I think they are, in my opinion, the favorite, for sure," Rapinoe said Wednesday, per Graham Hays of ESPNW. "I don't say that to play mind games. They're a fantastic team. They're home. ... For me, I consider them the favorites and I feel like all the pressure is on them."

The Americans are the defending champions of this event after winning it all in 2015, and the squad has never finished worse than third in seven tournaments.

Not only will experience and past success be crucial in the tournament, but the U.S. is coming into the week with a six-match win streak, outscoring its past four opponents by a score of 17-0. This has helped the team retain its No. 1 FIFA ranking.

On the other hand, France has been nearly as impressive this year and picked up a 3-1 win over the United States in January in an international friendly. The home-field advantage could also play a huge part in the upcoming event.

"They're going to have, obviously, a home crowd with them every time," Rapinoe explained. "We felt that in the last World Cup, even though it was in Canada, it felt like a home World Cup for us. In some of those tighter games, that was definitely a big boost for us."

According to Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, France has a slightly better chance to win the World Cup:

Nate Silver @NateSilver538

France 20% USA 18% Germany 11% England 10% Netherlands 7% Australia 7% Japan 6% Canada 6% https://t.co/aBNGdCVABX

Of course, this could just be gamesmanship on the part of Rapinoe to put more pressure on the hosts.