2015 World Cup: Group F Preview

-

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 F preview.

The Football Sack’s Group F preview

France

Road to Canada

Les Bleues enter their third Women’s World Cup among the pre-tournament favourites. After cruising through the qualifying stage unbeaten, the side ranked third in the world will try to improve on their fourth placed finish in Germany 2011.

Manager

Philippe Bergeroo will look to make the most out of a squad that almost all currently play their domestic football for high-class Division 1 Feminine outfits Lyon and PSG.

The former French international goalkeeper, who was part of the Euro 1984 winning side along with the likes of Michel Platini and Jean Tigana, takes the reins of a women’s team for the first time in a major tournament. He has previously coached Paris Saint-Germain, Rennes, and the French men’s U17 side.

Key players

If Les Bleues are to live up to their pre-tournament hype, playmaker Louisa Necib will be key.

Although a natural number ten, 28-year-old Necib is typically stationed wide-left of Bergeroo’s compact 4-4-2 where she has licence to take up several positions in the final third, drift inside and link up with the prolific Eugene Le Sommer.

Elsewhere, the vastly experienced Laura Georges partners skipper Wendie Ranard in a defence that conceded a meagre three goals in their qualification campaign. Both are intimidating, rangy figures who have genuine presence on the field and are significant threats from set-pieces.

France will play an aggressively high line and are effective in squeezing out space for the opposition. They look to win the ball high up the pitch and combative midfielder Amandine Henry will offer a mature presence once possession has been won. They are rapid on the counter and will utilise the lightning pace of winger Elodie Thomas who will try and get in behind defences at every opportunity.

Fact you didn’t know

Louisa Necib is widely regarded as “Ziza” or “the female Zidane” due to her Algerian ancestry, Marseille roots and immense technical ability. The two met in 2004 and swapped shirts when Zidane was training with the national side in Clairefontaine.

Verdict

Historically, France struggle against the women’s football elite but they seem to have broken this hoodoo in the past seven months, notching wins against Germany, USA and Brazil. Les Bleues have drawn a tough group but there is every chance that this consistently improving and intelligent side will finish top with a result against England, and from there, improve on their highest fourth placed finish.

England

Road to Canada

Along with group favourites France, England will touch down on Canadian soil unbeaten during the qualifiers. The Three Lionesses enter their fourth World Cup having won all ten of their Group Six qualifying matches, scoring 53 and conceding just the solitary goal.

Manager

Welshman Mark Sampson succeeded long-standing manager Hope Powell in 2013 after her 15-year tenure came to an end with a disappointing UEFA Women’s Championship campaign.

A former coach under Roberto Martinez’ Swansea and manager of Bristol Academy, the 32-year old is charged with progressing beyond the quarter-finals of a major tournament: an achievement that has eluded English football for years.

Key players

Toni Duggan was one of the many young strikers faced with the arduous task of replacing retiring record goalscorer Kelly Smith earlier in the year but the 23-year-old Manchester City forward has relished the responsibility, scoring 11 goals in 16 games. Duggan’s versatility has been key in striking up a successful partnership with fellow front-woman Eniola Aluko: a willing runner who likes to come deep to receive the ball and has deceptively good aerial ability.

The Three Lionesses boast a talented midfield pack that exude an exciting blend of British steel and continental flair. Fara Williams, voted FA International Player of the Year in 2007 and 2009, is highly regarded as one of the best players the country has ever produced. England’s most-capped player, Williams’ goals from midfield and excellent set-piece delivery will prove vital to their success.

Talented youngster Jordan Nobbs could partner Williams in the centre of the field, and is one of the young stars looking to make her mark on the world stage. The 22-year-old has become a key part of an Arsenal Ladies side that have dominated the domestic women’s competition for years and her tenacity and ability to chip in with vital goals will prove important.

England have favoured both the traditional 4-4-2 diamond and a 4-3-3 formation under Sampson who is satisfied his players have the ability to adjust to tactical changes. Whatever the set up, England will employ their pace and power going forward and along with an assured solidity and dynamism in midfield, they have the tactical nous in Williams to control key areas in big games.

Fact you didn’t know

28-year-old striker Eniola Aluko is the sister of Hull City forward Sone Aluko. Last season, she became the first female pundit to appear on the BBC’s longstanding football programme, Match of the Day.

Verdict

There is a real sense of optimism and confidence surrounding this team, and as such England will be quietly confident of progressing well beyond the group stage. Sampson is a canny operator and has crafted a team that appears to be going places and should at least go one better than their customary quarter-final finish.

Colombia

Road to Canada

Las Cafeteras have warmed up to the tournament in an impressively consistent fashion, finishing runners up in the 2014 Copa America and securing morale-boosting draws against Argentina and Brazil. The side ranked 28th in the world will touch down in Canada for their second World Cup, hoping to improve on their 2011 campaign where they finished bottom of their group.

Manager

Despite the positive results produced so far, Professor Felipe Taborda is one of the least experienced managers at the tournament and faces a big challenge in getting Colombia out of their group. The 36-year-old PE teacher has previously overseen the Colombian women’s U17 squad.

Key players

It’s a big tournament for Yoreli Rincon. After a few underwhelming years since bursting onto the world stage at the 2010 U20 Women’s World Cup, the 2014 Copa America player of the tournament looks to have regained a level of form that will worry the other Group F teams.

Rincon, very much the conventional South American number 10, has the ability to provide the killer ball but also operate as the team’s central goal threat. Colombia’s hopes rest heavily on the shoulders of the pocket-sized playmaker.      

Las Cafeteras finished the 2014 Copa America with the leanest defence, highlighted by stalemates against superior Brazil and Argentina sides. The spine of defensive midfielder Diana Ospina, centre-half Natalia Gaitan and experienced goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda are vital components of this balanced and disciplined unit.

Fact you didn’t know

The nickname Las Cafeteras means “the coffee growers” but the Colombians also go by the more impressive Las Chicas Superpoderosas: “the powerpuff girls”.

Verdict

Colombia are an organised and disciplined outfit who have produced some promising results under Taborda’s short stewardship. They are the lowest ranked team in the group but their excellent Copa America campaign should give this youthful squad the confidence to at least put on a strong showing.

Mexico

Road to Canada

El Tricolor earned a 2015 Women’s World Cup berth during the latter stages of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, beating Trinidad and Tobago to receive the final automatic qualification position. After an unbeaten Central American and Caribbean Games campaign, they have won 6 of their last 12 matches.

Manager

Leonardo Cuellar has been the custodian of the team for nearly two decades and is seen as a pioneer of the women’s game in Mexico. The 61-year-old represented his country on 41 occasions and played in the 1978 World Cup.

Key players

If Mexico are to upset the odds and avoid a third winless World Cup campaign they will need to hope that forward Charlyn Corral can translate her performances on a domestic level onto the world stage. The 23-year-old, who plys her trade in the top echelon of Finnish women’s football, is an explosive, terrier-like runner with a great turn of pace who should cause opposition defences headaches.

The Mexican defence lacks pace and there are question marks over their collective discipline and concentration when defending. Goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago, who is an experienced hand despite being only 20-years-old, will have her work cut out to keep the opposition at bay and to galvanize an inexperienced back four.

Fact you didn’t know

In 2011, Cecilia Santiago became the youngest-ever goalkeeper to appear at a World Cup at just 16 years and 251 days.

Verdict

Although a 2-0 win over Colombia in a highly successful Central American and Caribbean Games in November 2014 will give them some confidence, this Mexican team lack the overall quality, consistency and international pedigree of their group opposition. They are winless in their two Women’s World Cup appearances and they could well be consigned to a third consecutive winless campaign.

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required