Four New Teams to Watch at the 2019 World Cup at The Toffee Club
In advance of tomorrow’s kickoff of the 2019 World Cup, we speak to Aimee Olivas about four teams who are making their debut on the World Cup stage.
Friday, June 7th marks the start of the 8th Women’s World Cup, and as the USA sets to defend their title and other nations try to take it from them, four teams are simply focused on making a great first impression on the World Cup stage. Chile, Jamaica, Scotland & South Africa… welcome to the biggest tournament in football.
Chile, led by Paris St Germain goalkeeper Christiane Endler (one of our Top Ten Players to watch), will take to the World Cup stage for the first time against Sweden on June 11th. This young and talented squad have made history by qualifying for the 2019 World Cup, despite inadequate training facilities and funding, in a country where soccer is a “sport for men”. They have been drawn into Group F with USA, Sweden, and Thailand, Las Chicas de Rojo are willing to fight to beat the odds again.
A GoFundMe page, a song and Cedella Marley leading the way as an ambassador for the team is only part of the process that has led to Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz qualifying for the 2019 World Cup. The women’s team lost all funding for World Cup and Olympic games in 2008, leaving them without the opportunity to try to qualify for the 2011 World Cup. That’s when Cedella Marley stepped in, made phone calls and even put in some of her own money to fundraise for travel expenses, equipment and meals. Still they failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup, but with every failure the efforts doubled. Marley made more calls, even getting a volunteer head coach for the team, and they set off to the CONCACAF Women’s Championship in Texas. Two wins (vs Cuba and Costa Rica) and one loss (vs the USA) they faced a must-win against Panama. A very dramatic game that led to penalties is what has led the Reggae Girlz to the 2019 World Cup to continue making history.
A team who once wore the hand me down jerseys from their male counterparts made their first major international appearance at the Euros 2017, a tournament that saw them place as Group 1 runner-ups after their squad was depleted with injuries. Now, they are heading to their second major tournament, the 2019 World Cup, and their main goal is to inspire a nation that has not seen their country represented on a World Cup stage since the men played in 1998. Rachel Corsie, who plays in the NWSL will captain the squad, taking the reins after the retirement of most capped player Gemma Fay. This is a nation to watch. If they manage to stay fit, they are set to impress in France and inspire a nation of boys and girls who are looking to them to make history.
There is no better person to guide Banyana Banyana in their first World Cup than their longest standing captain and founding member, Desiree Ellis, who has earned only 32 caps. This squad is young in every sense of the word and will rely heavily on their emerging talent to carry them to an impressive first World Cup. Leading the front is former Houston Dash forward Linda Montahlo, who is expected to score, and score a lot. But in order to impress, “The Girls, The Girls” will have to do better at not conceding in the first half. For this, they will rely on captain and Houston Dash defender Janine Van Wyk. It's fair to say that Banyana Banyana’s success in their first World Cup will depend on a good mixture of the past, the present, and the future.
We look forward to watching the first impressions these teams make on their first World Cup.