The teams playing in the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, with ranking, qualification, appearances, coach, players to watch, facts to know and the state of women’s soccer in each nation.
FIFA RANKING: 4
QUALIFICATION: Qualified as host.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2003 (9th), 2011 (4th), 2015 (5th), 2019.
COACH: Corinne Diacre
KEY PLAYERS: Amandine Henry, Wendie Renard, Eugenie Le Sommer.
WHAT TO KNOW: Diacre surprised many when she left Marie-Antoinette Katoto off her roster. Katoto was the leading scorer in the French league this season while playing for Paris Saint-Germain. Diacre was formerly coach of the second-tier men’s team Clermont, becoming the first woman to coach a men’s team in a competitive match in France. Nickname is Les Bleues. If the women can win the World Cup, it will be the first time a country has had both the men’s and women’s champions.
STATE OF THE GAME: France has a robust women’s league and Lyon advanced to the Champions League final against Barcelona.
FIFA RANKING: 14
QUALIFICATION: Finished fifth at the 2018 AFC Women’s Cup.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2003 (14th), 2015 (14th), 2019.
COACH: Yoon Deok-yeo
KEY PLAYERS: Ji So-yun, Cho So-hyun, Jeon Ga-eul.
WHAT TO KNOW: South Korea went to the round of 16 at the 2015 World Cup in Canada but fell to France. It was the first time the team had reached the knockout stage. Ji So-yun, who plays for Chelsea, has 54 goals in 115 appearances with the national team. Yoon Deok-yeo, coach since 2012, is a former player for the men’s national team and went to the 1990 World Cup.
STATE OF THE GAME: South Korea has a women’s professional league called the WK League, which consists of eight teams.
FIFA RANKING: 13
QUALIFICATION: Won Group 3 of UEFA Qualification.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (2nd), 1995 (1st), 1999 (4th), 2003 (7th), 2007 (4th), 2011 (10th), 2015 (10th), 2019.
COACH: Martin Sjogren
KEY PLAYERS: Caroline Graham Hansen, Maren Mjelde, Isabell Herlovsen.
WHAT TO KNOW: Norway is without its best player, Ada Hegerberg, the 2018 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, because of what she says are differences in the way the federation treats the men’s and women’s teams. She still plays club football for Lyon. Norway won the World Cup in 1995. Norway lost to England in the round of 16 at the 2015 World Cup in Canada. Norway is one of just four countries to have won a World Cup, along with Japan, Germany and the United States. Norway won the 2019 Algarve Cup.
STATE OF THE GAME: Norway’s football federation announced in 2017 that the men’s and women’s national team players would be compensated equally.
FIFA RANKING: 38
QUALIFICATION: Won the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (10th), 1995 (11th), 1999 (7th), 2003 (15th), 2007 (13th), 2011 (9th), 2015 (21st), 2019.
COACH: Thomas Dennerby
KEY PLAYERS: Tochukwu Oluehi, Francisca Ordega, Onome Ebi
WHAT TO KNOW: Nigeria has won nine Women’s Cup of Nations titles, including the last four. The team has been to every World Cup, and made it to the quarterfinals in 1999 but was defeated by Brazil. The team is nicknamed the Super Falcons. Francisca Ordega played for the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League in the U.S. Thomas Dennerby coached Sweden’s national team from 2005-12, including a third-place finish in the 2011 World Cup.
STATE OF THE GAME: The Nigeria Women Premier League has come under fire for player compensation and conditions, including transportation for the teams.
FIFA RANKING: 2
QUALIFICATION: Won Group 5 of UEFA qualification.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (4th), 1995 (2nd), 1999 (8th), 2003 (1st), 2007 (1st), 2011 (6th), 2015 (4th), 2019.
COACH: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg
KEY PLAYERS: Alexandra Popp, Dzsenifer Marozsan, Almuth Schult.
WHAT TO KNOW: Germany has appeared in every World Cup and has won twice. In 2007, the team did not concede a goal during the competition. After Germany won in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, celebrated coach Sylvia Neid stepped down and former defender Steffi Jones took over. Jones was dismissed in 2018 and Voss-Tecklenburg, herself a former player and head coach of Switzerland’s national team, took over. Marozsan scored the winning goal in Brazil. Popp has played in two previous World Cups. Germany had 35 goals during qualifying, conceding only three.
STATE OF THE GAME: The German federation banned women’s football from 1955-1970. The women’s national team was founded in 1982.
FIFA RANKING: 16
QUALIFICATION: Third at the 2018 AFC Women’s Cup.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (7th), 1995 (4th), 1999 (Runner-Up), 2003 (6th), 2007 (5th), 2015 (8th), 2019.
COACH: Jia Xiuquan
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Wang Shuang, Li Ying, Wang Shanshan.
WHAT TO KNOW: China is an eight-time AFC champion. Last May the team replaced coach Siggi Eyjolfsson with 55-year-old Jia Xiuquan, a former defender for China’s men’s national team. Wang Shuang plays for Paris Saint-Germain. Li Ying scored seven goals during qualifying. The team is known as the Steel Roses.
STATE OF THE GAME: China hosted the first Women’s World Cup in 1991. The professional Chinese Women’s Super League consists of eight teams.
FIFA RANKING: 13
QUALIFICATION: Won Group 7 of UEFA Qualification.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2015 (20th), 2019.
COACH: Jorge Vilda
KEY PLAYERS: Virginia Torrecilla, Amanda Sampedro, Marta Torrejon.
WHAT TO KNOW: The team is nicknamed La Roja. Spain was disappointed in the 2015 World Cup, finishing last in a group that included Brazil, Costa Rica and South Korea. Spain won all eight games in qualifying, scoring 25 goals. Jennifer Hermoso led the way with seven goals and nine assists. Under Vilda, the team won the Algarve Cup in 2017 and the Cyprus Cup the next year.
STATE OF THE GAME: Spain’s top player, Vero Boquete, led a group of players in a protest following the team’s poor performance at the 2015 World Cup. New coach Jorge Vilda left her off the roster for the 2017 Euros and she has not played for the national team since. She now plays in the United States for the Utah Royals.
FIFA RANKING: 49
QUALIFICATION: Second at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2019.
COACH: Desiree Ellis
KEY PLAYERS: Janine Van Wyk, Thembi Kgatlana, Lebohang Ramalepe.
WHAT TO KNOW: This is the team’s first World Cup. Janine Van Wyk, Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo all previously played for the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League in the U.S. Van Wyk has made 150 appearances for the national team. The team’s nickname is Banyana Banyana. Coach Desiree Ellis was one of the founding players of the national team, playing from 1993 to 2003. Banyana Banyana played in the past two Olympics.
STATE OF THE GAME: South Africa’s federation has been criticized for not paying its national team players in a timely manner. Team members threatened to keep their uniforms in protest in 2017.
FIFA RANKING: 6
QUALIFICATION: Runner-up at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1995 (12th), 1999 (11th), 2003 (13th), 2007 (6th), 2011 (8th), 2015 (7th), 2019.
COACH: Ante Milicic
KEY PLAYERS: Sam Kerr, Kyah Simon, Steph Catley.
WHAT TO KNOW: Nickname is the Matildas. There has been some turbulence lately, with coach Alen Stajcic dismissed in January and replaced by Milicic. The Australian federation said the decision was based on a confidential survey with players. Kerr was among the players who spoke in support of Stajcic afterward. Kerr is considered among the best players in the world.
STATE OF THE GAME: Australia has a thriving women’s professional league, the W-League, which has nine teams. The national team players boycotted matches in 2015 while fighting for better treatment and salaries, which they won.
FIFA RANKING: 15
QUALIFICATION: Won Group 6 of UEFA Qualification.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (5th), 1999 (9th), 2019.
COACH: Milena Bertolini
KEY PLAYERS: Sara Gama, Laura Giuliani, Barbara Bonansea.
WHAT TO KNOW: Italy hasn’t been to the World Cup since 1999, coming close in 2015 but losing in a playoff. The team clinched the trip to France with a 3-0 victory over Portugal, but then fell in the final match of qualification to Belgium. Nickname is the Azzurre. Italy has a tough group with Brazil and Australia. Italy went to the final of the Cyprus Cup this year but fell to South Korea on penalties after a 3-3 draw.
STATE OF THE GAME: The Italian Serie A league includes 12 teams, but it is a semi-pro league with a tight salary cap and some teams are still amateur.
FIFA RANKING: 10
QUALIFICATION: 2018 Copa America Femenina Champions.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (9th), 1995 (9th), 1999 (3rd), 2003 (5th), 2007 (Runner-Up), 2011 (5th), 2015 (9th), 2019.
KEY PLATERS: Marta, Debinha, Cristiane.
WHAT TO KNOW: Brazil has made the field of every World Cup but has yet to win one. Marta, the five-time world player of the year, is expected to play in her fifth World Cup. After the women’s team failed to medal at the 2016 Olympics as the home team, Vadao was replaced by Emily Lima, the first female coach of the team. But Vadao was re-installed after 10 months and led the team through qualification. Brazil won all its Copa America Femenina matches, conceding just two goals.
STATE OF THE GAME: Women were banned from playing soccer in Brazil from 1941 to 1983. The country has what best could be described as a semi-pro women’s league, but players are paid only sporadically and often under the table.
FIFA RANKING: 53
QUALIFICATION: Finished third at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2019.
COACH: Hue Menzies
KEY PLAYERS: Khadija Shaw, Jody Brown, Konya Plummer.
WHAT TO KNOW: Nicknamed the Reggae Girlz, the team’s benefactor is Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella. Jamaica will make its World Cup debut in France after defeating Panama on penalties for third in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. The team was disbanded in 2010 and fell out of the FIFA rankings but was revived in 2014. Jamaica is the first Caribbean nation to qualify for a World Cup. Brown had four goals in qualifying.
STATE OF THE GAME: Jamaica has no women’s league, and the national team held fundraisers to help with the effort to get to France. Caribbean Airlines is among the sponsors to step up and help the team.
FIFA RANKING: 3
QUALIFICATION: Won Group 1 of UEFA qualification.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1995 (6th), 2007 (7th), 2011 (5th), 2015 (3rd), 2019.
COACH: Phil Neville
KEY PLAYERS: Jodie Taylor, Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton.
WHAT TO KNOW: There were a lot of questions when Neville took over the team from Mark Sampson, who was fired because of inappropriate conduct. Neville, the former England fullback, had never coached a women’s team and most of his experience was as an assistant. But England has fared well under Neville and won the 2019 SheBelieves Cup, a tournament that included the United States, Japan and Brazil. Celebrities, including David Beckham and Prince William, announced the players on the team’s roster for the World Cup. Nickname is the Lionesses.
STATE OF THE GAME: There are 11 teams in the professional Women’s Super League, the top tier of the women’s game. The league recently struck a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Barclays.
FIFA RANKING: 20
QUALIFICATION: Won Group 2 of UEFA Qualification.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2019.
COACH: Shelley Kerr
KEY PLAYERS: Kim Little, Rachel Corsie, Jennifer Beattie.
WHAT TO KNOW: Scotland is making its World Cup debut in France. The team made its debut in the Euros in 2017. Kim Little won the National Women’s Soccer League Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot awards in 2014 while playing for the Seattle Reign. She now plays for Arsenal. Shelley Kerr is a former center back. As a coach, she led Arsenal to back-to-back FA Women’s Cup titles in 2013 and 2014. Scotland and England wound up in the same group in France and will play on June 9 in Nice.
STATE OF THE GAME: In 2013, the federation pledged to invest more in women’s football, and the recent achievements of the team have been seen as the effort’s result.
FIFA RANKING: 37
QUALIFICATION: Defeated Panama in intercontinental playoff after fourth-place finish in the CONCACAF qualification tournament.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2003 (16th), 2007 (16th), 2019.
COACH: Carlos Borrello
KEY PLAYERS: Soledad Jaimes, Estefania Banini, Belen Potassa.
WHAT TO KNOW: Nickname is La Albiceleste. Argentina has made six appearances in the Copa America Femenina, winning it in 2006. Finished third in the Copa America, which earned the team the two-legged playoff with Panama to qualify for its first World Cup in 12 years. Argentina lost all three of its matches at the first Cup of Nations in Australia this spring. Carlos Borrello, reappointed as coach in 2017, was also coach of the team for its previous World Cup appearances.
STATE OF THE GAME: National team players threatened to strike in 2017 over conditions. Macarena Sanchez, an Argentine club player, took legal action against her team to be recognized as an employee. In April, she signed one of the first pro contracts in the country’s women’s league.
FIFA RANKING: 7
QUALIFICATION: Won the 2018 AFC Women’s Cup.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (12th), 1995 (8th), 1999 (13th), 2003 (10th), 2007 (10th), 2011 (Champions), 2015 (Runner-Up), 2019.
COACH: Asako Takakura
KEY PLAYERS: Rumi Utsugi, Kumi Yokoyama, Saki Kumagai.
WHAT TO KNOW: Asako Takakura took over as coach in 2016, replacing Norio Sasaki, who took the team to two World Cup finals, including the title in 2011 when Japan beat the United Sates on penalties. The U.S. team got revenge with a 5-2 victory in the final in Canada in 2015. The team’s nickname is Nadeshiko. Japan won silver at the 2012 Olympics in London. Rumi Utsugi plays for the Seattle Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League in the U.S.
STATE OF THE GAME: Japan has a robust three-tiered women’s professional league.
FIFA RANKING: 5
QUALIFICATION: Runner-up at the CONCACAF Qualification tournament
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1995 (10th), 1999 (12th), 2003 (4th), 2007 (9th), 2011 (16th), 2015 (6th), 2019.
COACH: Kenneth Heiner-Moller
KEY PLAYERS: Christine Sinclair, Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence.
WHAT TO KNOW: Sinclair is Canada’s most prolific scorer ever. She has 180 international goals, just four goals back of American Abby Wambach, who holds the record among men and women. Canada was led by John Herdman at the last World Cup, and he has moved on to coach the nation’s men’s team. Kenneth Heiner-Moller coached the Danish women’s national team from 2006-13. Canada has won the bronze medal in the last two Olympics.
STATE OF THE GAME: The Canadian federation pays the salaries for the national team players allocated to the U.S-based National Women’s Soccer League.
FIFA RANKING: 46
QUALIFICATION: Third at the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2015 (11th), 2019.
COACH: Alain Djeumfa
KEY PLAYERS: Madeleine Ngono, Christine Manie, Gaelle Enganamouit.
WHAT TO KNOW: Cameroon advanced to the knockout round at the 2015 World Cup before falling 1-0 to China. Nickname is the Indomitable Lionesses. The team is led by veteran defender Christine Manie, who plays professionally in Romania. Coach Alain Djeumfa replaced Joseph Ndoko in January, a move that was somewhat of a surprise because Ndoko had guided the team to its third-place finish at the Africa Women Cup of Nations last year.
STATE OF THE GAME: Earlier this year, Gaelle Enganamouit opened a women’s soccer school, the Rails Football Academy, to train the next generation of players.
FIFA RANKING: 19
QUALIFICATION: 2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup champions.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (11th), 2007 (14th), 2011 (12th), 2015 (19th), 2019.
COACH: Tom Sermanni
KEY PLAYERS: Erin Nayler, Katie Bowen, Sarah Gregorius.
WHAT TO KNOW: Tom Sermanni, former coach of both the U.S. national team and the Orlando Pride of the U.S.-based National Women’s Soccer League, took over at head coach in October, just in time for qualification. Gregorius scored eight of new Zealand’s 43 goals in the Nations Cup. It was the team’s fourth straight title at the tournament, which was capped by an 8-0 victory over Fiji. The victory also qualified New Zealand for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Nickname is the Ferns.
STATE OF THE GAME: The women’s national team won equal pay to the men’s team in 2018.
FIFA RANKING: 8
QUALIFICATION: Won a four-team UEFA playoff.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2015 (13th), 2019.
COACH: Sarina Wiegman
KEY PLAYERS: Lieke Martens, Shanice van de Sanden, Loes Geurts.
WHAT TO KNOW: The Netherlands won the 2017 Euros. Forward Martens was the FIFA women’s player of the year in 2017. Goalkeeper Geurts has 123 caps. Nickname is the Oranje. The Dutch played in the first FIFA-recognized women’s match in 1971 against France. Wiegman, a former Dutch international with 104 caps, took over the team in January 2017 and was named FIFA women’s coach of the year for her rookie season.
STATE OF THE GAME: The Eredivisie Vrouwen is the professional women’s soccer league in the Netherlands, consisting of nine teams.
FIFA RANKING: 1
QUALIFICATION: CONCACAF women’s qualifying tournament champions.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (1st), 1995 (3rd), 1999 (1st), 2003 (3rd), 2007 (3rd), 2011 (2nd), 2015 (1st), 2019.
COACH: Jill Ellis
KEY PLAYERS: Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn.
WHAT TO KNOW: The United States has three World Cup titles and is the defending champion. The Americans defeated Japan 5-2 in the final at the 2015 World Cup in Canada, with Carli Lloyd scoring a hat trick in the first 16 minutes. The current squad includes 12 players who were on the 2015 World Cup roster. Alex Morgan was named the team’s Player of the Year after scoring 18 goals in 19 games last year.
STATE OF THE GAME: U.S. team players filed a lawsuit earlier this year seeking pay equitable to that of their counterparts on the men’s national team. It is the latest salvo in a long-running dispute with U.S. Soccer over pay.
FIFA RANKING: 34
QUALIFICATION: Fourth at the 2018 AFC Women’s Cup.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2015 (17th), 2019.
COACH: Nuengruethai Sathongwien
KEY PLAYERS: Wilaiporn Boothduang, Rattikan Thongsombut, Kanjana Sungngoen.
WHAT TO KNOW: Thailand won the AFC Women’s Asia Cup in 1983. The team has seen a more recent rise on the international stage. It made the World Cup in 2015 and had its first victory (3-2) against Ivory Coast. The team’s nickname is Chaba Kaew. Coach Nuengruethai Sathongwien is in his second stint with the team, he also was coach in Canada.
STATE OF THE GAME: The professional Thai Women’s League was revived in 2017 with 10 teams. After the 2015 World Cup, Thailand’s federation announced it would invest more to develop the women’s team.
FIFA RANKING: 39
QUALIFICATION: Runner-up at the 2018 Copa America Femenina.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 2019.
COACH: Jose Letelier
KEY PLAYERS: Christiane Endler, Francisca Lara, Carla Guerrero.
WHAT TO KNOW: Chile defeated Argentina 4-0 in the Copa America Femenina to clinch a spot in the World Cup. The team has never been to soccer’s premier tournament. Chile’s men qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, making the nation just the fifth in CONMEBOL to have both sides qualify. Endler, a goalkeeper who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, is the team’s captain. Player to watch is Yanara Aedo, who has nine goals in 19 appearances, including three goals in qualifying.
STATE OF THE GAME: Women’s club players in Chile are classified as amateurs. Players hope women’s soccer will gain respect with the national team’s World Cup appearance.
FIFA RANKING: 9
QUALIFICATION: Won Group 4 of UEFA Qualification.
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES: 1991 (3rd), 1995 (5th), 1999 (6th), 2003 (Runner-Up), 2007 (10th), 2011 (3rd), 2015 (16th), 2019.
COACH: Peter Gerhardsson
KEY PLAYERS: Hedvig Lindahl, Caroline Seger, Stina Blackstenius.
WHAT TO KNOW: Gerhardsson took over for Pia Sundhage, who stepped down following the 2017 Euros. Sundhage, the former U.S. coach, led Sweden to the silver medal at the 2016 Brazil Olympics. The Swedes infamously “parked the bus” against the U.S. in the quarterfinals in Brazil, advancing on penalties, and afterward U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo called them cowards. Although Sweden has appeared in every World Cup, a title has eluded the team.
STATE OF THE GAME: Sweden has a thriving women’s professional league, the Damallsvenskan.