Remember those darting, lightening-quick runs from Kylian Mbappe last summer across the glowing, green fields of Russia? He turned Kazan into a graveyard of the great when speeding past Lionel Messi and Argentina. He also tamed Uruguay and Belgium before scoring France’s fourth goal in the final against Croatia to crown Les Bleus world champions. His standout conquest of Russia transformed the teenager into a global star.
Every World Cup has breakout players and established stars who light up the tournament and this summer won’t be any different when 24 teams compete for the global crown in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019.
You will be familiar with Brazil’s decennium-long lodestar Marta and Norway’s Ada Hegerber, whose self-imposed exile highlights the ongoing struggle of the women’s game, but here are a few players to watch out for in France. The hosts will kick off the finals in the opening match of the tournament against South Korea.
Erin Cuthbert (Scotland)
Scotland will debut at the finals. The men’s team hasn’t achieved that since 1998 when they kicked off the World Cup against Brazil. They will play England, Argentina and Japan in Group D and midfielder Cuthbert will be the midfield metronome. She plays for Chelsea in England and was named player of the year at the club. Last week, she netted a brilliant goal against Jamaica in a warm-up game.
Wendie Renard (France)
Renard is a stalwart in the host team. She has a honors list that can is almost unmatched with numerous league titles and Champions League conquest. She marshals the Lyon defence with her towering presence and her experience will be important. She has consistently played at the highest level and performed. With 100 caps to her name, her defensive qualities should help France along the way, looking for a deep run in the tournament.
Let’s first get the obvious out of the way: At 41, she will be the first player, female or male, to play in seven World Cups and the oldest player at the World Cup. Participating in France, she will overtake Japan’s Homare Sawa, who led the Japanese to World Cup glory in 2011. Coach Vadao convinced her to play in the qualifiers, the Copa America, but Brazil have been on a poor run of form recently and after a disappointment at the last World Cup, their campaign is up in the air. Formiga will want to avoid a second-round exit like in 2015 in Canada.
Christine Sinclair (Canada)
The Canadian veteran has won too much silverware to list, but at 35 this World Cup will be her swansong. She has played in every consecutive World Cup since 2003 and at the last finals she propelled the host nation to the quarterfinals. If she continues her rich goal-scoring vain, she could break Abby Wambach's all-time goal-scoring record.
Sam Kerr (Australia)
She has been a top scorer in the United States' National Women's Soccer League and as a forward at Chicago Red Stars she should provide the Matildas with goalscoring prowess. Aged 15, she made her debut for Australia and her team will aim to emulate at least the quarter-final result from Canada 2015.
Rose Lavelle (USA)
The favorites for the tournament? That is a bit of a rhetorical question, but the depth and pedigree of the American team can’t be questioned. Amid all the stars, like Alex Morgan or Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle could well be the breakout star in this World Cup. She has played for the US since 2013 at various age levels and she might well become a dominant force for a long time to come in the team’s midfield.
Updated Date: Jun 04, 2019 21:41:51 IST