Something will have to give in Group C, with heavyweights USA, Japan and Spain fighting it out for two quarter-final slots, while Paraguay will also hope to feature after their fine showing in the South American qualifiers.
The big match
The Stade Guy Piriou in Concarneau will provide the setting for one of the main attractions of the group phase at France 2018, on 6 August. These old rivals will begin their campaigns against each other in a clash of styles that promises plenty, if the two nations’ meetings in the last two FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Finals are anything to go by.
Did you know?
The draw has been unkind to Japan and Spain once again. Two years ago they found themselves in an equally challenging group with Canada and Nigeria, two fellow powerhouses of the women’s game. On that occasion, the Japanese and Spaniards managed to advance to the knockout phase.
Paraguay’s leading scorer in the South American qualifiers with seven goals, forward Jessica Martinez failed to find the back of the net in the three FIFA tournaments she has previously appeared in.
What they said
“It’s a difficult group. Taking on Spain, Paraguay and Japan will be very challenging, though we would have expected that to be the case with the other 12 teams too.”
USA coach Jitka Klimkova
“It’s a very tough group, as are the other three. Every team in this tournament is very competitive and I think we can expect a very high quality tournament.”
Spain coach Pedro Lopez
“We’ll be coming up against some good sides and it’s going to be a very positive experience for the players. They will learn a lot from the three matches we’ll be playing.”
Japan coach Futoshi Ikeda