It’s the most anticipated Women’s World Cup ever and this might be the Matildas best shot at winning the entire tournament.
Of course it hasn’t been the ideal build up with the much publicised sacking of Alen Stajic however his replacement Ante Milicic has done an admirable job getting the squad as best prepared as he can.
While a win isn’t out of the question for the Australians, there will be plenty of stiff competition along the way with tournament hosts France and defending champions the USA the two tournament favourites.
We are previewing all 24 teams right here and making our tournament predictions so sit back and enjoy.
The Rest of the World
Let’s start with the outsiders and, with all due respect to the likes of Thailand and Cameroon, who sit at massive odds, none of these sides warrant much support here.
For Thailand, it’s their second World Cup appearance and at a price of $501 at the time of writing, that should tell you what to expect.
Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa are other members of the group of sides that are probably worth backing against at any opportunity, even if you have to give the opponent a few goals head start in the group stage.
South Korea are massive long shots to win the entire tournament at $151 but could frustrate a few teams in the group stage with a stingy defensive record at last year’s Asian Cup where they did not concede a goal.
China is a really solid team and is the 16th ranked side in the world but are left to sit on the outside of Group B with European heavyweights Germany and Spain favoured to go through.
New Zealand has never left the Group Stage of a Women’s World Cup and it looks like it might be another early exit for Oceania’s best side having drawn Canada and the Netherlands.
They are coached by Tom Sermanni who is a familiar name to Australian fans as he coached the Matildas in 1995, 2007 and 2011 so he knows how to get a side through a tricky group stage.
Jamaica’s World Cup odds sit at $501 so their betting summary is as simple as the other sides in that range: back against them at any oportunity.
Argentina’s team doesn’t quite have the name recognition of Lionel Messi nor the intimidation factor having the best player in the world can bring to a match like this.
They face a tough task to get out of their group with two genuine tournament contenders and a Scottish side eyeing an underdog run.
Brazil might be a good candidate for a run through the knockout stages if their top players fire especially if you consider how they swept through the Copa America last year.
They still have Marta who is still pretty good and can still pull out a moment of magic so you have to fancy their chances to get out of Group C with Australia.
Chile could come away from this tournament with three points, assuming they beat Thailand in their final group game which, after facing Sweden and the USA could just see them playing for pride.
Canada is co-favourite for Group E and if they hit top form throughout this tournament, could be a really tough out and be a good value play for punters, their biggest game will be on June 21 when they take on the Netherlands.
Europe’s participants can be split into two overarching groups, the contenders, which we’ll discuss a little bit later and the outsiders.
Starting with Scotland who have the longest odds of any European side of $151 and their biggest game will be their tournament opener against England, although it could be their longest game of the tournament with the English expected to cruise to victory.
There was panic in the streets when the Italian men’s side missed last year’s World Cup but the women are returning to the big stage after a 20 year absence.
While the numbers aren’t on their side to advance to the knockout stages, they’ll have to get by Brazil and Australia (and Jamaica) and they might be in contention to take advantage if one or both of those sides slip up.
Norway and Sweden both sit at $26 to win so you wouldn’t call them long shots to win the World Cup but they are a step below the heavyweights.
Outside of 39-year-old goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth, Norway is bringing a young squad to this tournament but it’s a talented one that will be worth backing in their group matches.
Sweden is second favourite to win Group F and should have no trouble getting through as runners up but will be worth watching when they take on the favoured Americans.
It’s the team that you’ll be backing with your heart and it’s the easiest side to talk yourself into betting on.
Their preparation hasn’t been ideal with a change in coach and a number of players well below peak fitness however on their day they are more than capable of matching, if not beating the tournament favourites.
It’s helpful that their group is, for all intents & purposes a very manageable one and Millicic will be able to chop and change the team as necessary setting themselves up for a run to the knockout stages.
Their biggest group stage match will come in the very early hours of June when they face Brazil however a three win group stage (or at least winning the group) should be the minimum here.
If they manage to win Group C, they will take on the third placed team from Groups A, B or F before facing the Group E winner (likely Canada).
From there it will likely be a semi final against the USA where, even the most patriotic fan would admit it’s going to be a big ask to get past there, but at $21 it’s worth a small bet if you want an extra reason to back the local side.
In terms of a value play, there’s good value on offer for the Matildas to win Group C at over even money which will likely produce a better return than just backing them in every match.
Sam Kerr is obviously the most prominent player in the squad and is listed at $11 to be the top goalscorer in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
She’s the fifth favourite for that honour behind some of the other big names such as Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd but if the Matilda’s make a deep run Kerr will be a key figure.
Outside of the Matildas, there are seven teams with World Cup odds of under $20 who are in the mix to lift the trophy at the end of the tournament.
Let’s start with Japan and the Netherlands who both come into this tournament with title aspirations, even if the market sees both of them as outsiders.
The Dutch are making their second appearance at the World Cup and came through the European play-offs but have plenty of quality in that side winning the Algarve Cup friendly tournament last year and beating the Matildas in a warm up match last weekend.
Japan is hoping to go one better than in 2015 where they went down to the US 5-2 in the final.
They qualified as Asian Champions but have had some indifferent form leading into the tournament, winning just one game in 2019 in the build up to this.
That being said, at $17, they certainly do leap out as a value play.
The last team with double digit odds is Spain who have only made the World Cup for the second time, exiting in the Group Stage.
However after going eight for eight in qualifying, the Spanish side have brought in plenty of impact players but have drawn a tough group against Germany, though if you are higher on their chances than I am, could be a good value play at $5 to win Group B.
Finally, it’s time to take a look at the top four sides in the market and the group that will more probably than not produce the World Cup winner.
Tournament hosts France are favoured in our market and bring some great form into this tournament, losing just one of their last 11 friendlies including big wins over Japan, France and the US.
Speaking of the US, they are the defending champions, looking for their fourth title, they will be a very popular team to back as the tournament goes on.
Their attack is nothing short of superb, lead by Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe who can score more goals than a potentially leaky defence may give up.
Like the French, at that price they may not be worth backing outright but their games should have plenty of goals in them.
Up next is an English side that is deservedly among the tournament favourites with Phil Neville’s side a real chance to win their first World Cup.
They aren’t blowing sides out at the moment but winning some close games might steel them for the knockout stages when they have to battle in a tight game.
Finally, it’s the German side who are my pick to win the World Cup with a team than can grind out results just like England, but with a player like Dzsenifer Marozsan who can turn a match, I think they’ll have the edge come the semis and final.