7 Mar 2019

Year of the Cups: Women’s Football World Cup 2019

10:34 am on 7 March 2019

In a year of world cups, RNZ Sport turns the spotlight on the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.

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Graphic: RNZ / Michel Mulipola

Where and when is the tournament and how do I keep track of it?

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup is hosted by France from 7 June to 7 July.

Sarah Gregorius with the FIFA Women's World Cup.

The Football Ferns' Sarah Gregorius with the FIFA Women's World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 52 matches will be spread over nine venues; Valenciennes, Le Havre, Reims, Paris, Rennes, Lyon, Grenoble, Nice and Montpellier.

The semi-finals and final will be at the Stade de Lyon which opened its doors in 2016. Its capacity just over 58,000 and it is the third largest stadium in France in terms of capacity.

The games will be broadcast on Sky TV in New Zealand with the Football Ferns' group matches at 1am, 4am and 7am.

Football Ferns group match schedule:

Wednesday 12 June, 1am, NZ vs Netherlands, Le Havre

Sunday 16 June, 7am, NZ vs Canada, Grenoble

Friday 21 June, 4am, NZ vs Cameroon, Montpellier

How did the Football Ferns qualify and what are their chances of winning the Women's Football World Cup?

The Football Ferns qualified for the tournament after winning the OFC Nations Cup last year.

It was their fourth consecutive Oceania title and they went through the competition unbeaten, scoring 43 goals and conceding none.

New Zealand won it's first Oceania Nations Cup in 1991 and qualified for the inaugural World Cup.


Football Ferns win the OFC Nations Cup Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Following Australia's move to the Asian Confederation, the Football Ferns have won the last four tournaments without too many problems.

American Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji were involved in qualifying. New Zealand played Tonga, the Cooks Islands and Fiji in the group stage and then beat New Caledonia in the semi-finals and Fiji in the final.

This is the fifth time the Football Ferns have been to the World Cup. The first was at the inaugural tournament in China in 1991 when they lost all three games.

They managed their first draw in 2011 against Mexico, but have never won a game, and have subsequently never managed to get out of their group. They've played 12 matches for no wins, three draws and nine losses.

While the the Football Ferns have never had success at the tournament, the New Zealand Under 17 Women's team won bronze at last year's tournament, proving we can compete on the big stage in the most populous sport on the globe.

Who is in the New Zealand Football Ferns team for the World Cup?

The squad contains a huge amount of experience with six players boasting more than 100 caps - Ria Percival (135), Abby Erceg (132), Katie Duncan (119), Ali Riley (119), Annalie Longo (110) and Betsy Hassett (107).

The majority of the squad play their football overseas with the likes of Erceg, Rosie White and Katie Bowen plying their trade in the USA. Betsy Hassett, Erin Naylor, Percival and Ali Riley playing their club football in Europe.

The side is coached by Tom Sermanni, a Scot with a vast amount of experience. This will be his fourth World Cup after guiding Australia to the finals in 1995, 2001 and 2011.

Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni.

Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Sermanni also led the USA Women's Team in a coaching career that dates back to 1988.

He took over after the departure of Andreas Heraf following a review into the culture of that team that found incidents of harassment and bullying.

Which are the teams to look out for at the Women's Football World Cup?

This year's tournament will be its eighth edition and features 24 teams.

The United States have been the most successful team, winning the trophy three times, they will be defending champions heading to France. Germany have won the tournament twice while Norway and Japan have won it once each.

All those teams have qualified again and will be contenders along with England, Sweden and Brazil.

The Football Ferns in action against Canada in the 2015 World Cup

The Football Ferns in action against Canada in the 2015 World Cup. Photo: Photosport

New Zealand is the 19th ranked team in the world and have a good chance of picking up there first win against 46th ranked Cameroon, however, they'll also need to get a result against either fifth ranked Canada or seventh ranked the Netherlands if they're to progress past group play.

New Zealand, the Netherlands and Canada were in the same group four years ago with the Football Ferns losing 1-0 to the Netherlands and drawing 0-0 with Canada.

For all the updates on the Football Ferns' road to the Women's Football World Cup, keep an ear on RNZ National and an eye on the RNZ website.

RNZ will be looking at all the major World Cups throughout the week - we've already done rugby, netball and cricket and tomorrow we'll be casting the spotlight on the Basketball World Cup.

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