FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup

Former champions look for winning start

Alexandra Popp of Germany (C) celebrates her team
© Getty Images
  • Two-time winners Germany in action in Group B
  • 1995 champions Norway take on Nigeria in Group A
  • THE LATEST: #GERCHN, #ESPRSA & #NORNGA Live Blogs updating now

Germany and Norway, both former FIFA Women's World Cup winners, are among the teams in action as the first round of matches in Groups A and B concludes on Saturday. All three intercontinental meetings promise an intriguing clash of styles, and our Team Reporters have been getting the latest ahead of the action in Rennes, Reims and Le Havre.

Germany-China PR: Group B, Rennes, 15:00

Team reporter analysis

Steffen Potter (GER)
Where exactly does Germany stand on the eve of the FIFA Women's World Cup™? They are unbeaten in their last 12 games, having faced some heavyweight opposition in that time. The team has undergone a change: young players have been included, and the impression is that Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has found a good blend. The mood seems positive, there was lots of laughter and banter during training and the chemistry seems right.

Qian Sun (CHN)
Facing Germany, one of women’s football’s true superpowers, is undoubtedly a major challenge for China. But it can be an opportunity too. If the team can hold firm against the German attacking line, and be as dogged in defence in as their previous games against European opposition, the entire team’s morale and confidence can receive a major boost.

Spain-South Africa: Group B, Le Havre, 18:00

Team reporter analysis

Elisa Revuelta (ESP)
In a section as tough and evenly matched as Group B, a good result against the debutantes South Africa may be crucial to Spain’s World Cup hopes. Besides, La Roja didn’t win a single match at Canada 2015, so beating Banyana Banyana would be historic. The problems facing Spain are are a lack of depth, and scoring goals, so Jorge Vilda and the players have been focusing on improving their attacking accuracy.

Busisiwe Mokwena (RSA)
South Africa are hoping for a dream start in their first-ever Women’s World Cup. Even though the preparation matches leading to France 2019 haven’t produced the best, the players are in high spirits and out to make a name for themselves. Coach Desiree Ellis will pick her strongest team against a Spain side who may not know what to expect from the South Africans.

Norway-Nigeria: Group A, Reims, 21:00

Team reporter analysis

Philip O’Connor (NOR)
Norway shook off a poor performance at UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 with a superb Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign, and they are hoping to get off to the perfect start in Group. The Norwegians are expecting a tough, physical encounter and are promising to go for goals by playing attacking football in their opponents' half.

Ann Odong (NGA)
Nigeria’s preparations for this Women’s World Cup have been their best ever. They also have one of the strongest squads in their history. Against a compact Norway defence, the key for the Super Falcons will be using the full width of the pitch and then releasing their dynamic and lethal strike force.

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