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What to watch for in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

This image shows a fish-eye lens view of a large stadium that will hold the 2019 FIFA games.
Parc des Princes stadium ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. Photo: Joosep Martinson/FIFA via Getty Images

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off Friday at 3pm ET, with host France taking on South Korea.

Why it matters: This year's World Cup seems poised for a breakout moment, as the sport has gained greater acceptance globally. For the first time, each match will stand on its own, as doubleheaders — designed to limit costs and boost attendance in past years — have been phased out.

Watch details:

  • TV: Fox, FS1
  • Streaming: Fubo TV, Hulu Live TV, Playstation Vue (see all)
  • Schedule: Most games will kick off at either 9am ET, 12pm ET or 3pm ET. Full schedule.

Key storylines:

  • Can USA repeat? The USWNT is the No. 1 team in the world and the defending champs, but the competition is stiffer than ever. In fact, FiveThirtyEight says France is the favorite.
  • A rebellious time: The world's best player, Norway's Ada Hegerberg, is boycotting the tournament over frustrations with how the Norwegian soccer federation treats its women's players. Meanwhile, the Americans are suing their employer, claiming gender discrimination, and the Australians have called for increased pay.
  • Can France make history? Women's soccer has come a long way in France, and this year's squad has a legit chance to make history, as no country has ever held both the men's and women's World Cup titles simultaneously.

Groups (world ranking):

  • Group A: France (4), Norway (12), South Korea (14), Nigeria (38)
  • Group B: Germany (2), Spain (13), China (16), South Africa (49)
  • Group C: Australia (6), Brazil (10), Italy (15), Jamaica (53)
  • Group D: England (3), Japan (7), Scotland (20), Argentina (37)
  • Group E: Canada (5), Netherlands (8), New Zealand (19), Cameroon (46)
  • Group F: USA (1), Sweden (9), Thailand (34), Chile (39)

Top 5 players (via SB Nation):

  1. Sam Kerr, Australia
  2. Wendie Renard, France
  3. Tobin Heath, USA
  4. Lieke Martens, Netherlands
  5. Dzsenifer Marozsan, Germany

What to watch: Axios' in-depth team preview kicks off next week, after the U.S. plays on Tuesday.

Go deeper: How Bob Marley's daughter saved Jamaican soccer