Group B / Women's World Cup

World Cup Preview: Group B

Teams:  Germany, Norway, Cote d’Ivoire, Thailand

Group B features two previous World Cup winners and two World Cup debutantes. Germany is poised to win the group and Norway will likely finish second. Thailand and Cote d’Ivoire will likely fight for the third-place spot and a possible match in the knockout stages.  The third place team will need to minimize their goal differential if they hope to be one of the four third place teams to advance to the knockout round.

 

germanyGermany
FIFA Ranking: 1
Last World Cup: 2011 – quarterfinalist
Best World Cup finish:  Germany has qualified for every World Cup and has won the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

Roster

The powerhouse and favorite to win the World Cup looks to regain their previous dominance after being upset by Japan in the quarterfinals four years ago. The squad will miss FIFA Player of the Year Nadine Kessler due to injury and Fatmire Alushi as a result of pregnancy. This will be head coach Silvia Neid’s last World Cup as she announced this March she will retire in 2016.

Players to Watch: M Dzsenifer Marozán, F Célia Šašić:
Marozán makes her World Cup debut at the age of 23 and holds the record for the youngest goalscorer in the Bundesliga. The highly technical midfielder was born in Hungary but has been in the German system from the U15 level. She’s been with the German team since 2010 and has 25 goals in 48 caps. At the club level, she has played with FFC Frankfurt since 2009.

Šašić will turn 27 during this World Cup and has been part of the German senior team since 2005. The striker has 57 goals in 104 caps for the German national team. She was injured for the 2007 World Cup but was part of the team that won bronze at the 2008 Olympics. She led the Bundesliga in scoring during both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 season. The center forward has played with FFC Frankfurt since 2013 after playing for SC 07 Bad Neuenahr for nine years.

Key Match-up:  Germany vs Norway ( June 11 at 4 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1)

This match will likely decide the winner of Group B and will get a third-place finisher in Group A, C or D in the knockout stage.  It’s also a rematch of the 2013 European Championship, which Germany won, 1-0.

NorwayNorway
FIFA Ranking: 11
Last World Cup: 2011 – the side failed to advance out of the group stage.
Best World Cup finish:  1995, Won the World Cup after advancing to the final in 1991.

 

Roster

Like Germany, Norway has qualified for every World Cup. The 90’s powerhouse has an easy path to the knockout round after failing to advance past the group stage in 2011. The team is highly direct and is managed by Evan Pellerud, who returned to coach the team in 2012 after last coaching Norway in 1996. The side made semifinal appearance in 1999 and 2007 and exited in the quarterfinals in 2003.

Player to Watch:  M Caroline Graham Hansen

The 20-year old midfielder for VfL Wolfsburg makes her World Cup debut after being part of the senior team since 2011. She way key in Norway’s run to the Euro final in 2013 where the Norwegians lost to Germany. The midfielder has 12 goals in 32 caps for the senior team. She scored three times in seven appearances for Tyreso in 2013.

Key Match-up:  Germany vs Norway ( June 11 at 4 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1)

This match will likely decide the winner of Group B and will get a third-place finisher in Group A, C or D in the knockout stage.  It’s also a rematch of the 2013 European Championship, which Germany won, 1-0.

ThailandThailand
FIFA Ranking: 29
Last World Cup: This is Thailand’s debut at the World Cup.
Best World Cup finish:  N/A


Roster

The Thailand squad is one of the weakest in the tournament and faces tough odds and rough games against Germany and Norway. This is their first World Cup and the team qualified by a fifth-place finish in the 2014 Women’s Asia Cup and was helped by North Korea’s ineligibility for this World Cup.

Player to Watch: Kanjana Sung Ngoen

Sung Ngoen scored both goals in Thailand’s 2-1 victory over Vietnam, qualifying the Thai side for the World Cup. The 28-year old started playing soccer at the age of 16 and trains in Bangkok. She previously played for Speranza FC Osaka-Takatsuki in Japan. Her athleticism and strength will be key to Thailand.

Key Match-up:  Ivory Coast vs Thailand (June 11, 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1)

This game will be key for both teams as it will likely determine the third place slot in the group. If either team is able to keeps its goal differential relatively small against Germany and Norway, it could face either the Group C or Group D winner in the knockout stages. It would also give a World Cup debutante a chance at making it out of the group.

ivory coastCote d’Ivoire:
FIFA Ranking: 67
Previous World Cups: This is Ivory Coast’s World Cup debut. The side placed third in the African championship to qualify.
Best World Cup finish:  N/A

Roster

“Les Éléphantes” make their World Cup debut after upsetting South Africa to qualify for the Women’s World Cup. A third place group finish is within reach, but the team will need to minimize its goal differential against Germany and Norway if to have any hope of making it to the knockout round. The team is generally defensive and relies on quick counter-attacks.

Players to Watch: Josée Nahi, Ines N’Rehy

Nahi and N’Rehy both have Champions League experience for Zvesda Perm (Russia) and Spartak Subotica (Serbia) respectively. N’Rehy and Nahi are two of four Ivory Coast players playing abroad. N’Rehy is 21 years old and made her debut for the Ivory Coast in 2011. She scored three times in Ivory Coast’s World Cup qualification. Nahi is 26 and also had a stint with Spartak Subotica and scored 14 goals, making her the second leading scorer in the Serbian league.

Key Match-up:  Ivory Coast vs Thailand (June 11, 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1)

This game will be key for both teams as it will likely determine the third place slot in the group. If either team is able to keeps its goal differential relatively small against Germany and Norway, it could face either the Group C or Group D winner in the knockout stages. It would also give a World Cup debutante a chance at making it out of the group.

 

Complete Group B Schedule:
June 7 at Lansdowne Stadium in Ottawa:
Norway vs. Thailand (1 p.m. ET, FOX)
Germany vs. Cote d’Ivoire (4 p.m. ET, FOX)

June 11 at Lansdowne Stadium in Ottawa:
Germany vs. Norway (4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1)
Cote d’Ivoire vs. Thailand (7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1)

June 15:
Thailand vs. Germany at Winnipeg Stadium in Winnipeg  (4 p.m. ET, FOX)
Cote d’Ivoire vs. Norway at Moncton Stadium in Moncton(4 p.m ET, Fox Sports 1)

Predicted order to finish:   Germany, Norway, Cote d’Ivoire, Thailand

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