The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup finally kicks off today at the Parc des Princes in Paris, as host France opens festivities with a matchup against South Korea, according to Bleacher Report. The French women are one of the early favorites to reach the tournament’s final in Lyon on July 7, but they will be tested by the difficult Group A. South Korea will be looking to rain on France’s parade and pull off a shocking upset while keeping up with group rivals Norway and Nigeria, who face off on Saturday.
France’s team is stocked with some of the world’s most talented soccer players, with manager Corinne Diacre charged with utilizing it and improving on its quarterfinals appearance in 2015. The team is blessed with a unique mix of youth and experience with a spine that is made up of members of the Lyon team that recently secured their fourth consecutive Champion’s League victory by destroying Barcelona 5-1 in the final.
The standout player for France is captain Amandine Henry, who will be looking to stake her claim as one of the best midfielders in the world in the tournament, while Eugenie Le Sommer will be looking to build on the 74 goals that she has already netted on international duty.
Le Sommer will be joined by talented young attacking options in Delphine Cascarino, Valerie Gauvin, and Emelyne Laurent, who can create a potent scoring threat either from the bench or in Diacre’s more attacking formations. While France is considered the favorite to win their group, neither South Korea nor Norway and Nigeria can be considered soft touches, and Group A could prove to be one of the most entertaining groups in the tournament.
South Korea returns to the Women’s World Cup looking to build on its Round of 16 appearance in 2015. The team has developed a strong defensive identity under manager Yoon Deokyeo, never allowing a goal en route to a fifth-place finish in the 2018 Asian Cup. Ji So-yun provides the team’s focal attacking threat, and the star will be looking to take her form with Chelsea in the FA Women’s Super League to the global stage.
Still, with France playing in front of an excited home crowd, it’s hard to see the French women not leaving the match with a victory.
Date: Friday, June 7
Time: 3 p.m. (ET), 8 p.m. (BST)
TV Info: FOX Sports 1 (U.S.), BBC (UK)