2019 Women's World Cup: Group E Preview
The 2019 Women's World Cup kicks off in France on June 7th. It is time to get to know the teams, so be sure to check out our the other group previews.
Let's turn attention to Group E, which consists of Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, and Netherlands. There are two clear favorites to advance out of the group, per the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Which teams, players and matchups should you focus on in Group E?
Netherlands have just over a 55% implied probability of winning the group while Canada sits at close to 48%, per oddsmakers, so the slight edge goes to Netherlands. They will begin their campaign on June 11th after dominating Australia in their final warm-up match. Shanice van de Sanden scored twice in that match after seven goals in 19 appearances for Lyon this season. Netherlands have outscored their opponents 12-0 in the last three friendlies.
Netherlands won the 2017 European Championship due in part to the goal scoring ability of Vivianne Miedema, who should lead the line for the Dutch women in France. The former Heerenveen and Bayern Munich striker scored 22 goals in 20 appearances for Arsenal this season. Miedema won the PFA Player of the Year award and helped Arsenal secure the WSL Championship.
What an honour to win this award, in such a competitive league! Love my @ArsenalWFC teammates!! pic.twitter.com/NKx7STLAKg
— Vivianne Miedema (@VivianneMiedema) April 28, 2019
Potential starting left-back Kika van Es was injured in the match against Australia, and her participation in the World Cup is in doubt, although it is a hand injury that she may be able to overcome. Regardless the Dutch have asserted their dominance from back to front, with the defense led by Stefanie van der Gragt. She is one of many players from FC Barcelona representing their national team this summer. The opposition has scored in less than half of the last 10 matches that van der Gragt has appeared in.
Netherlands will play on the last day of group play in the most high-profile game of the group against Canada, but both teams may have secured their place the next round before they face off.
Team of Intrigue
Even though Canada is expected to finish second, New Zealand should have a chance to qualify for the knockout rounds as one of the best third-place teams. The Football Ferns shocked England on Saturday with Sarah Gregorius scoring just after the restart. They will have to keep the momentum going as they face the Netherlands in the first group match.
New Zealand have won their last two matches after falling to the United States 5-0 in mid-May. They have a veteran team that is led by former USWNT manager Tom Sermanni and experienced defender Abby Erceg. Erceg has played her last five seasons in the NWSL, winning the title twice, including last season with North Carolina. She has been a starter since making the national team in 2007 and has only been substituted once in her 24 starts.
The star of the win against England was keeper Erin Nayler, who has a chance to be a breakout star during this World Cup. The Bordeaux keeper established herself as the number-one keeper nearly two years ago, and her time in professional league football has proven valuable. She also has quite the story after being attacked as a bystander in a protest against Uber in Barcelona. The windows of the vehicle she was traveling in were bashed in during what Nayler called "three minutes of terror."
Even though six players have at least 100 caps and Rosie White's next match will be her 100th, this is still an underdog story. Four players do not have a professional contract, and Daisy Cleverley plays for the University of California. New Zealand will be easy to root for as a neutral observer with their 4-3-3 formation and incredible chemistry.
Janine Beckie, Canada
Christine Sinclair is the all-time leading scorer for Canada, but Becke's move from the NWSL to Manchester City turned heads and was a sign of continued maturation. Becke was left off the Canadian roster four years ago but has scored 24 goals since the snub.
Becke is the all-time leading scorer in Texas Tech history. She burst onto the international scene with the quickest goal ever in Olympic competition in 2016. She tied Sinclair for most goals on the team in the competition and set up the winning goal in the quarterfinal match against France. Becke also scored the winning penalty for City in the FA Women's Continental League Cup.
Along with Nayler, Becke is a rising star who should be known on the international landscape. Her partnership with Sinclair has blossomed as she has developed control on the ball to go with her pace. That combination allows her to get free and continuously challenge opposition back lines.
Match in Focus
New Zealand vs. Netherlands -- June 11th
It was mentioned above, but the opening match between the Football Ferns and Oranje will set the tone for the group. If the Netherlands are dominant, then they immediately establish themselves as the team to beat in the group, with Canada expected to handle Cameroon the previous night. However, New Zealand could show they are ready to perform on the big stage and back up their upset of England. The opening game for the Football Ferns is their most important match as they hope to move out of the group stage for the first time.
Netherlands will get Cameroon second, so a win in the opening game sets up an easy qualification for the knockout rounds. Wins in the first two could mean resting some important players as well as showing they are a serious threat for the title.
What Lies Ahead
The Group E winner will get the second-place team in Group D while the second-place team out of Group E will get the second-place team out of Group F. Both of the top two teams out of Group E should have good matchups in the knockout round, unless the U.S. slip up and take second in their group. Japan are the favorite to finish second in Group D while Sweden are expected to finish second in Group F, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
If the third-place team advances from this group, they will face the winner of either Group A or D. That most likely means a game against France or England. A rematch between New Zealand and England could be in the cards.
Group E kicks off on June 10th in Montpellier.