New Zealand has a chance to salvage their so-far disappointing 2019 Women’s World Cup campaign with a victory over Cameroon, giving them a minor hope of making it into the knockout stages through third place rankings, according to CBS Sports. While optimism was high for the New Zealand women — who were hoping to finally make it out of the group stages after failing to do so in their previous four appearances — they are sitting at the bottom of the group with no points and no goals after two games. Cameroon, whose hopes were much lower, also has zero points and a matching -3 goal difference, along with its own hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
While New Zealand has had no success in the World Cup, they entered the tournament on the back of victories over teams such as England, Norway, and Mexico. Their worldwide ranking of 19th is well ahead of 48th-ranked Cameroon, who have had their best victory against 56th-ranked Croatia. New Zealand has a veteran squad, with seven of their players holding more than 100 caps. Chief among them is defender Abby Erceg, who led the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage to the league title while allowing the fewest goals, claiming NWSL Defender of the Year in the process.
However, Cameroon has its own veteran experience and hold the advantage of already making it to the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup. In the 2015 edition of the tournament, they became only the second African team to make it out of their group, defeating Switzerland in the process. Of the 13 players that lost their Round of 16 matchup against China, 12 of those players are currently in the Cameroon squad.
If Cameroon hopes to make it through against the odds, they will rely on attacker Gabrielle Onguene. Onguene gained an international profile after her 2015 goal against Switzerland and, since then, has been one of the top scorers in the Russian league. She managed to give Cameroon a glimpse of hope against the Netherlands, equalizing the match at 1-1 before the Dutch women put it beyond reach with two goals in response.
While a win by either team would put them in the conversation to make it through, both teams’ goal difference and lack of points make qualification a tough task. Viewers will have to expect both sides to go all-out in their attack, seeking out a big win by several goals and possibly leading to a very entertaining game.
Date: Thursday, June 20
Time: 5 p.m. (BST), 12 p.m. (ET)
TV Info: BBC Red Button (UK), Fox Sports 1 (U.S.)