After four years of waiting, the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ is back. France 2019 kicks off with an intriguing showdown between the hosts – packed full of talent, but with a record of under-performing at major tournaments – and Korea Republic.
Emmanuelle Hingant (FRA)
France’s ‘home’ World Cup is about to start and, naturally, excitement levels are extremely high. In Les Bleues’ camp, everyone is firmly focused on this opening game and taking maximum points against a Korea Republic team that is most commonly described as "disciplined". However, two mainstays of Corinne Diacre's team – Griedge Mbock in central defence and captain Amandine Henry in the midfield – might not be fit in time to start Friday's game. Their absence, if confirmed, could be a huge blow for the hosts as they look to start with a bang.
Hounche Chung (KOR)
From the outside, a realistic goal for Korea Republic in this Opening Match would seem to be simply avoiding a heavy defeat. Their opponents, after all, are France - the hosts and a team that beat them 3-0 in the Round of 16 at Canada 2015. But most of the players I've come across since arriving in Paris seem more optimistic about their prospects. Coach Yoon Dukyeo has said this is his side’s most important game in terms of setting the tone of the group stage. And encouragingly, his Taegeuk Nangja look to be blossoming into a more organised unit – at least on the evidence of their most recent friendly against Sweden (a narrow 1-0 defeat).