Women's World Cup Preview: Canada team to beat in Group B

Field Level Media
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Christine Sinclair (12) is one of soccer's greatest scorers.
Christine Sinclair (12) is one of soccer's greatest scorers.
Image: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Previewing the Women's World Cup.

Group B

Australia, Republic of Ireland, Nigeria, Canada

The favorite: It might be a dead heat between Canada, the highest-ranked side in the FIFA World Rankings not to receive one of the eight top seeds in the World Cup draw, and co-host Australia. Each co-host received one of those eight seeds. Australia clearly has been in better form of late, with recent friendly wins over European powers England and France that were part of a longer stretch of nine wins in their past 10 senior international matches.

Best matchup: You'd think this would be Australia and Canada in the group finale. In reality, it might be Australia's opener against the Republic of Ireland, the side with the best chance to upset the presumed group hierarchy. If Ireland can't get a result there or against Canada, it's possible both the Matildas and the Canadians could have their places in the knockout phase already secure when they meet on Matchday 3.


History lesson: At 40 years old, Canada striker Christine Sinclair has 190 international goals -- the most scored by anyone in the world, male or female, for a national team. She is still starting regularly for the NWSL's Portland Thorns, for whom she has scored three times this season. She (and Brazil's Marta) will attempt to become the first player ever to score in six World Cups.

Players to watch: While Sinclair will get all the attention coming in, this could be a breakout moment for Canada's 22-year-old Jordyn Huitema, who already has a career-best four goals in the NWSL for the OL Reign. Australia's all-time leading goal scorer Sam Kerr has found the net everywhere she's played. And it's a testament to her own high standards that her 12-goal campaign for Chelsea this season was considered a down year.


Up next: It won't be easy for both teams that advance from Group B, as they will face one of the top two finishers from a balanced Group D, but winning the group could mean avoiding Euro 2022 winners England. From a narrative perspective, it wouldn't get much better than the Matildas facing their former colonial power before a raucous Australian crowd in the round of 16.

--Field Level Media