Women’s World Cup: USA Slight Favorite Over France in Most Anticipated Match of the Tournament
Posted on: June 27, 2019, 06:20h.
Last updated on: June 27, 2019, 06:21h.
Since before the Women’s World Cup began, France and the United States have been the two clear favorites to walk away as the tournament champion. But rather than face off for the trophy in the final, the two teams are meeting on Friday in a quarterfinal showdown.
The United States enters the match as a slight favorite to advance through to the semifinals, with William Hill listing the USA as a 4/6 pick over France (11/10).
World Cup Gets Dream Matchup
It’s likely that either team could have become the betting favorite with a dominant performance in the Round of 16. But the United States struggled in a 2-1 win over Spain, while France needed extra time to score their own 2-1 victory against Brazil.
Those less than impressive performances have fans on both sides nervous heading into the quarterfinal round. But it hasn’t diminished the hype for what might be one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year.
I hope it’s huge and crazy. That’s what it should be,” US midfielder Megan Rapinoe said immediately after the win over Spain. “This is the best game, this is what everybody wanted.”
Ratings are already up across the globe for the Women’s World Cup, with France’s match with Brazil drawing the largest ever global viewership in the history of the tournament. In the United States, Fox Sports is seeing ratings that are up 16 percent compared to the 2015 World Cup, and three of the 10 most-watched soccer matches in England this year have come from the tournament.
While the midday Friday start time could depress ratings locally in the United States, there’s still every chance that the USA vs. France contest could have more exposure than any other women’s soccer game in history.
“This is a big game, and the players know that,” said American coach Jill Ellis. “They’re wired for this, they’re build for this. You don’t come into the US program and hide in the shadows – you come in and you’re in the spotlight right away.”
Diacre: No Pressure on France
The United States has more big game experience – the country has already won the Women’s World Cup three times, and is the defending champion – and France has the added pressure of playing in front of a home crowd. But according to French coach Corinne Diacre, her team isn’t the one that should feel nervous heading into the match.
“When you come up against the United States there is no pressure, quite the opposite,” Diacre told reporters in a pre-match press conference. “We are coming up against the best team in the world, the only pressure we have is to produce a good performance.”
The recent history between the two sides favors France as well. The two nations last met for a friendly in January at Le Havre, with the French scoring a comfortable 3-1 win.
While there’s been talk of this match being a de facto championship game, things won’t actually get much easier for the winner in the semifinal. Whoever moves on will have to face a confident England team that defeated Norway 3-0 in their own quarterfinal match on Thursday.
The United States is a 6/4 favorite to win the Women’s World Cup, ahead of France (4/1), England (4/1), and Germany (9/2).
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