The eighth edition of the FIFA Women World Cup 2019 got underway with song, celebration and festivity at the Parc des Princes in Paris. French artist Jain is performed at the opening ceremony with acrobatic performers to set the atmosphere on fire and entertain a capacity crowd of 38,000 cheering fans.
The Teams are 24 teams are slotted in Six groups of four team each. Where the Top two qualify for the Round of 16 to be joined the best four third-place finishers. United States is the FIFA rank 1 and defending champions on Canada 2015. The 24 qualifiers are placed for their league matches.
Group A: (Hosts) France (3), Norway (13), Nigeria (39) and South Korea (14)
Group B: Germany (2), China PR (15), Spain (12) and South Africa (48)
Group C: Australia (6), Italy (16), Brazil (10) and Jamaica (53)
Group D: England (4), Scotland (20), Argentina (36) and Japan (8)
Group E: Canada (5), Cameroon (46), New Zealand (19) and Netherlands (7)
Group F: United States (1), Thailand (29), Chile (38) and Sweden (9)
France Vs South Korea
The opening game of the world’s biggest Women’s sporting event featured hosts France takes on the Korean Republic.
Head to Head:
The Le Blues had faced the Korean side on three past occasions where all three matches were won by the French and a total of 8 goals scored by the blue brigade. The last meeting between the sides at a World Cup finished 3-0 in Les Blues’ favor which saw France book a berth in the last eight at Canada 2015.
The Game Plan and Strategy
While the South Korean side settled for their usual 4-3-3 formation, Jung Seolbin, Lee Geummin and Kang Yumi were the three players in attack. Cho Sohyun, Ji Soyun and Lee Youngju completed the midfield trio while the quartet of Jang Selg, Kim Doyeon, Hwang Boram and Kim Hyeri manned the defence in front of Kim Minjung in the Korean goal.
Les Blues play in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Kadidiatou Diani as their lone striker. The Central midfield role has been taken up by Gaëtane Thiney while Eugenie Le Sommer and Delphine Cascarino, who makes her World Cup debut adds width to the French attack.
Amandine Henry who recovered from a back problem and will join Elise Bussaglia as the two withdrawn midfielders. Amel Majri as left-back, with Wendie Renard and Griedge Mbock in the heart of the defense, along with Marion Torrent as right full back complete the defense. The Lyon Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi will hold the fort as the custodian for the home team.
Seven players who were part of the Lyon FC that recently won the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the fourth time in a row makes the starting XI for France. On the other hand, South Korean midfield boasted of Chelsea star Ji So-Yun and West Ham’s Cho So-Hyun.
Uruguay’s Claudia Umpierrez was in charge as the referee in the middle Assistant Referees Luciana Mascarana and Monica Amboya and Fourth official: Melissa Borjas from Honduras. This match will also go down in the record books as the first FIFA Women’s World Cup to feature the VAR technology.
First Half of FIFA Women’s World Cup opener:
South Korea in all White kick off the 2019 edition of the World Cup in France and in no time France take over the game play and start dominating the midfield with clever passing and some pristine movement.
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France’s energy, movement and pressing was rewarded in the 9th minute as Eugenie Le Sommer drew first blood and sent the Paris crowds into a frenzy. France’s talismanic captain Amandine Henry picked out the Lyon striker, and she coolly guided the ball into the Korean goal to make it France 1 – 0 South Korea. The goal put Sommer in the record books as she scored the fastest ever goal in a FIFA Women’s World Cup Opening Match.
Within minutes Griedge Mbock Bathy acrobatically volleyed into the South Korean net but the goal was disallowed as on-field officials and VAR confirmed the fractional offside decision was accurate.
France won a Corner with ten minutes left in the first half and Gaetane Thiney’s chip was measured to perfection to find an unmarked Wendie Renard – the tallest player at these finals – on the far post. Her effortless head in the 35th minute makes gives France a 2 – 0 lead over South Korea. The Lyon defender has helped her side win the European title six times since 2011, including four successive titles in a row.
Renard scored France’s third goal in an almost similar fashion as the South Korean defense was unable to pick out the tall defender from the corner. Majri’s corner found the center-back unmarked once again as she rose high above the Korean defense to place a powerful header home and make it France 3 – 0 South Korea at 45+3. The Le Blues were firmly in the driving seat with the three-goal lead at the stroke of half time.
Second Half of FIFA Women’s World Cup opener:
The second half was once again a one-sided contest with the Koreans managing to win the ball from brief moments before being dispossessed by the blue brigade and rushing back to their goal as wave after wave of the French attack seemed to pound on the South Korean goal.
France routed their opposition with a Fourth goal in the 85th minute when skipper Amandine Henry made it France 4 – 0 South Korea. The defensive midfielder picked up possession of the ball 25 yards out and curled an unstoppable shot beyond the reach of Kim Minjung and into the Korean net.
South Korea Coach Yoon Dukyeo will have to find a magic wand as his players struggle to find their rhythm and feet in this world cup opener. Yoon played for the South Korean national men’s soccer team at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy,
France coach Corinne Diacre who also played for the La Blues National team from 1993 to 2005, while represented France in the 2003 World Cup apart from the 1997, 2001 and 2005 European Championships, serving as the team’s captain.
Coinne will surely be pleased with the performance of her players in the opening game. She would know that she has to better her performance for the tough games ahead as top favorites to win the big prize on the home turf.
Match Score: France 4-0 South Korea Republic
Next Matches from Pool A (all times are in GMT+2 Hrs):
8 June 2019 Norway Vs Nigeria at the Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims
12 June 2019 Nigeria Vs South Korea at the Stade des Alpes, Grenoble
12 June 2019 France Vs Norway at the Allianz Riviera, Nice
17 June 2019 Nigeria Vs France at the Roazhon Park, Rennes
17 June 2019 South Korea Vs Norway at the Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims