Women’s World Cup predictions
Ahead of the Women’s World Cup kicking off tonight, our intelligence team have looked at the players and form of the teams and compiled some predictions for the tournament.
The 21st Club model rates the United States as the best team in the world. France aren’t far behind them though, and we have the hosts as favourites after taking into account home advantage. France to become the first ever joint holders of the men’s and women’s World Cups: 24%
There’s a good chance France and the US will square off in the quarter-finals, denting the two favourites’ chances of making the semis. There’s a 1-in-3 chance of this match up happening before the tournament starts. If the two do play, it will place the world’s best attack (Rapinoe, Morgan, Heath of the US) against the world’s best defence (Bouhaddi, Renard and Mbock Bathy of France).
Best of the rest
England have the highest probability of making the semi-finals of any nation (48%). But they would then likely face one of the US or France, a tough route to the final. England to bring it home: 14%
The Netherlands are the current European champions and go into their second ever World Cup with a strong attacking line-up. Arsenal striker and top scorer in the English league Vivianne Miedema will be joined by former FIFA women’s player of the year Lieke Martens and Lyon’s Shanice van de Sanden in their attack. Netherlands to become both the reigning World and European champions: 11%.
Germany could draw level with the US on three tournament wins if they prevail this year, but the 21st club model has them as only the 5th favourites going into the tournament. Germany to win: 8%.
What else to look out for
Entertainers: Australia’s strike force boasts Sam Kerr, the third best player at the World Cup according to the 21st Club Model. She’s scored at a rate of 1.08 goals per game over the past two years. Australia are prone to conceding at the other end though, and their past five games coming into the competition have featured 4.2 goals per game. Australia to win: 2%.
Defensive unit: following defeat for the US at the 2016 Olympics, goalkeeper Hope Solo attracted controversy for her strong criticism of their opponent Sweden’s defensive style of play, describing them as a “bunch of cowards”. We still rate Sweden as the most defensively focussed side in the competition, with the 4th best defence in the world but only 14th best attack. A rematch with the US awaits in the group stage, in a game that will almost certainly decide the group winner. Second place will likely face Canada or the Netherlands in the round of 16, diminishing their chances of making it deep into the tournament. Sweden to win the tournament: 4%.
Group of death: hosts France sit in the toughest group, although they’re strong favourites to come out on top and leave South Korea, Norway and Nigeria fighting over second place. Norway’s chances are undoubtedly lower without Ada Hegerberg, the world’s best player. She has refused to play for the national team due to a dispute over equal treatment, but we still rate Norway as the most likely of the group’s remaining three teams to make the R16. Norway to win without the Women’s Ballon d’Or winner: 2%
Third chance: this is a 24-team tournament, so teams finishing third in their group still have a chance of making it to the knockouts: the four best third-placed teams go through to the round of 16. We rate New Zealand as the most likely to progress through this route. New Zealand to get to the knockouts despite finishing in third place: 42%.
We’ll be flagging up the best games to watch ahead of each round of fixtures on our social media accounts.