By Ryan Mayer–
(CBS Local) In the midst of the maelstrom currently surrounding the top executives at FIFA and their alleged corruption, one of their main events has gotten lost.
The time for the Women’s World Cup has cycled around again as our nation’s best get set to take on the world in Canada. The U.S. Women’s National Team blew up in popularity in the last cycle when the likes of Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach and Hope Solo led the team to the finals, where they fell to Japan in penalty kicks. The women are back again this time looking to win it all for the first time since 1999, and here’s a quick overview of what you need to know before the U.S. kicks off on June 8.
The USWNT is the overwhelming favorites heading into the tournament with 11/5 odds to take home the golden statue. However, there will be some stiff competition for the Americans, here are the rest of the Top 10 favorites to win the World Cup. Odds courtesy of Bovada.
If you got into watching the World Cup with the men’s team in 2014, you probably heard its group referred to many times as the “Group of Death” in the qualifying stage. Well, the women have found themselves in a similar situation. The U.S. is currently ranked No. 2 in the world and are joined in Group D by the No. 5 Sweden, No. 10 Australia and No. 33 Nigeria. That’s a tough slate facing Team USA.
Game 1: Monday, June 8: USA vs. Australia, 6:30 p.m. CT, Fox Sports 1
Game 2: Friday, June 12: USA vs. Sweden, 7 p.m. CT, Fox Sports 1
Game 3: Tuesday, June 16: USA vs. Nigeria, 7 p.m. CT, Fox Sports 1
One of the biggest questions for the casual fan around this time of year is who are the stars? Well, you’re in luck.
Most of the USA team is back, as 13 players that were on the roster in 2011 return. Of those players, Wambach, Solo, Morgan, Christie Rampone, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd are names you probably recognize. The point is there’s plenty of experience on this team.
Rampone and Wambach are the grizzled veterans expected to be playing in their final World Cup. In addition to those recognizable names, Sydney Leroux, Lauren Holiday and Julie Johnston are all young players to watch as the U.S. begins its quest.
One more fact to know: Jill Ellis has replaced Pia Sundhage on the U.S. sidelines, but the Americans will square off against their old coach in the second game as Sundhage now leads her home country of Sweden.
Did I scare you with talk of the “group of death” and the world rankings? Well, Team USA is considered the favorite by Vegas, and those guys tend to know what they’re talking about.
The Americans are also the favorite to win their group at -300. That all said, they looked unimpressive in their sendoff match last weekend, drawing South Korea nil-nil. However, they were without both Morgan and Rapinoe in that match due to caution surrounding previous injuries.
The U.S. is considered the team to beat, but Germany, Brazil and Japan are all dangerous threats to their title hopes.