2015 World Cup: Group E Preview

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It’s time for us to all get excited as the 2015 Women’s World Cup is about to kick off and we proudly present to you our Group E preview.

The Football Sack’s Group E preview
‘E’ would seem to stand for ‘excellent’, ‘exciting’ and ‘extraordinary’. Yup, Group E is pretty cracking, featuring the likes of Brazil, South Korea, Spain and Costa Rica.
Brazil

Charted as numeró uno in Group E, the Brazilians are no strangers to the World Cup: their appearance in Canada marks their seventh World Cup to date. Globally ranked at eighth place, they are sure to be chasing the Cup, having come closest in 2007 when they were runners up.

Road to Canada
They just drove straight on up. Brazil qualified by winning the 2014 Copa Améicana Feminina, which was held in Ecuador.
Manager
Oswaldo Fumeiro Alvarez, more commonly referred to as just ‘Vadão’, like ‘Seal’, has earned his stripes. Having coached the liked of Rivaldo and Kaka, both of whom went on to win the FIFA World Player Award, he is an experienced manager with clubs such as Mogi Morim, Guarani, Atletico Paranaense, Bahia, Corinthians and Sao Paulo. Having been appointed in 2014, he has been an integral part of the teams’ journey to Canada.
Key players
Marta Vieira da Silva – named FIFA World Player of the Year five years in a row between 2006 and 2010, Marta is Brazil’s top scorer and a legend. Discovered playing football on the street by well-known Brazilian women’s coach Helena Pacheco when she was fourteen years old, Marta hasn’t stopped since. Currently playing as a forward for FC Rosengård in Sweden, Marta’s illustrious career has seen her be compared to football legend Pelé “in a skirt”.
Captian Bruna Soares is also one to watch. A defender, she keeps the whole squad in line (see what I did there) and is an indispensable part of Brazil’s game. Like a sensible person, she completed a degree in physiotherapy as her Plan B – but clearly Bruna didn’t need it! She currently plays as a defender for Sao Paulo, her national team debut was in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Fact you didn’t know
It was illegal for women to play football in Brazil from 1941 to 1979.
Verdict
Even if they don’t win, surely they can’t bomb as hard as their male counterparts last year who lost seven- one in the semi-finals against Germany. Brazil has a good chance in this one.

Spain

The espańolas know how to party, make tapas and delicious wine-based beverages, but do they know how to play fútbol?Yes, yes they do! Ranked in at an overall 14th in the world, the ladies from Spain should make the group stage interesting.
Road to Canada
Spain finished at the top of UEFA Group 2 in the FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers, with 28 points and a goal difference of positive 40. Their group included Italy, the Czech Republic, Romania, Estonia and Macedonia. They’re coming in at third place in the World Cup group, with this being only their first World Cup appearance.
Manager
Ignacio Quereda Lavińa was formerly a winger for the Real Madrid youth team. His first foray into coaching was as Spain’s assistant coach in the 1979 World University Games, which in 1988 was followed by a gig as Spain’s women’s national team coach. 2015, therefore, marks his 27th year in the job. We know the Spanish have a history of dictators (jokes), but seriously, it will be interesting to see if he can make an impact this year, as it is his team’s first World Cup appearance.
Key players
Marta Torrejón Moya, a defender, has the most caps of the whole squad – she’s been playing professionally since the age of fourteen, debuting in the Superliga Feminina. She made her national team debut in 2007, and was an integral part of Spain’s qualification for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, having played every minute of the campaign.
Verónica Boquete is the highest scorer of her teammates – 29 goals to be exact. To add to that accolade, she is also captain of her squad and an important part of Spain’s offensive game. A midfielder who plays for FFC Frankfurt in the Bundesliga, Verónica’s international career started in Spains’s U19 team in the 2004 UEFA Women’s U19 Championship, which they won. She was awarded Player of the Year in 2011 for her performance in American Women’s Professional Soccer league team, Philadelphia Independence.
Fact you didn’t know
Although when we think of Spain, we tend to immediately think of football, women’s football wasn’t officially recognized as a sport until 1980 at which point the Royal Spanish Football Federation accepted that it indeed was real.
Verdict
Although Spain isn’t necessarily a European powerhouse when it comes to the ladies, they are certainly in with a shot although by no means will it be easy to get through to the next stage.

South Korea

The Taegeuk Ladies as they are known at home have once again qualified for the Women’s World Cup. This is South Korea’s second appearance and looks to be a promising one, having just played a friendly against USA on Saturday in which they held the tournament favourites scoreless at home in New Jersey.
Road to Canada
South Korea came fourth in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup and is globally ranked at 18th place. Their hard work  has earned them a spot in their second Women’s World Cup, their first qualification was in 2003 during which they did not make it past the group stage, in which they were also competing against Brazil.
Manager
Retired South Korean footballer Yoon DeokYeo, who played for the national team in the 1990 World Cup. The former defender spent his youth career at Sungkyunkwan University and has been managing since 1993. Some of the clubs he has managed include Gyeongnam FC, South Korea’s U17s and Ulsan Hyundai Horangi.
Key players
Park Eun-sun, known as much for her footballing skill as for her gender ambiguity, she has been accused on several occasions of being male. Standing at an impressive 180cm tall, she is an imposing striker with 18 national goals to her name. She has been playing for Rossiyanka, a Russian Women’s Football Championship club, since 2014.
Kwon Hah-Nul at just 27 years of age has an impressive 94 caps for the national team. Her current club career is at Busam Sangmu WFC, where she has played since 2011. The versatile midfielder has proven she’s worth her weight (52kg, apparently) with consistent performances throughout her career.
Fact you didn’t know
South Korea’s first official women’s game was in 1990 and saw them lose 13-1 to Japan – it’s still their worst result to date.
Verdict
The Taegeuk Ladies have every shot of progressing to the next stage. Their squad has come a long way in a short period of time and there’s no reason why they wouldn’t keep improving.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica – which means “rich coast” is famous for more than just its bountiful natural resources – it is also considered one of the strongest Central American footballing nations despite this being their first appearance at the Women’s World Cup.
Road to Canada
The road was long, but Costa Rica has made it to their first Women’s World Cup. They qualified by coming in second to the USA in the CONCACAF FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament, and although they lost the final 6-0, it’s a great start for a relatively inexperienced squad against the powerhouse that is the USA women’s team.
Manager
Amelia Valverde has been with the national team in various roles since 2011, such as the conditioning coach, and assistant coach of the under-20s. When former coach Carlos Avedissian stepped down last year so close to the World Cup, Valverde was the natural choice having a deep understanding of the squad. The World Cup will be her biggest gig to date.
Key players
Fifteen year-old Gloriana de Jesús Villalobos Vega found her love of football at the age of 5, having grown up around brothers who showed her the magic of the round ball game. Having played for a boys’ team from the age of 7 until she was 11, her professional career started at the age of twelve with local club Deportivo Saprissa, where she has been ever since. Gloriana debuted for her country at the age of fourteen and is set to be a star on the rise.
Shirley Cruz Trańa grew up with seven football-obsessed brothers, so she too found her love of the game at a young age. Her first major tournament appearance for Costa Rica was at the 2002 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, which served as a qualifying tournament for the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, which may sound familiar because David Beckham played there, too. A creative midfielder, she is an indispensible playmaker and will be one to watch this tournament.
Fact you didn’t know
Costa Rica won the Fair Play Award at the CONCACAF tournament, so you know they have hearts of gold. Also, incase you were wondering, CONCACAF stands for ‘Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football’
Verdict
Costa Rica might not be ranked as highly as the other teams but definitely has the passion and guts to make an impact in the group stage and perhaps ruffle a few feathers.

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