LIONEL BONAVENTURE/Getty Images
24. Thailand (Stay)
Thailand lost 10 of their last 11 games coming into the tournament, and they were overwhelmed in their opening match against the defending world champions on Tuesday. There was a large difference in both quality and physicality throughout the 90 minutes as the side crashed to a record 13-0 defeat to the United States in Group F.
23. Cameroon (Stay)
Cameroon had a mixed run-in to the tournament, but they showed plenty of fight against a strong Canada side in their opening game, losing just 1-0 on Monday. On another day, against a side less defensively solid than that of manager Kenneth Heiner-Moller, Cameroon could have gotten a result. They had chances to equalise, but instead, they now face another two tough games in Group E (against the Netherlands and New Zealand) and could go home with zero points.
22. Jamaica (-3)
McCollum and the Blazers Snapped Postseason Losing Streak for “Jennifer”
Spencer Is the Real Winner of the Boston Marathon
Stars Invest in Plant-Based Food as Vegetarianism Sweeps NBA
The NBA Got Some Wild Techs This Season
Jarrett Allen Is One of the NBA’s Hottest Rim Protectors
Wade’s Jersey Swaps Created Epic Moments This Season
NBA Squads Brought the Heat with Bench Reactions This Year
Westbrook Makes History While Honoring Nipsey Hussle
Nation’s Top-Ranked H.S. Teams Will Play for a National Title
Is 20-Year-Old Undefeated Ryan Garcia Boxing’s Next Superstar?
Devin Booker Makes History with Scoring Tear
29 Years Ago, Jordan Dropped Career-High 69 Points
MLB Players Are Getting Wild Inspiration for Their Cuts
Bosh Is Getting His Jersey Raised to the Rafters in Miami
Carsen Edwards Put on a Show vs. the Defending Champs
Gabe Kalscheur Is Early Breakout Star of March Madness
Barrett, Brazdeikis Lead Canadian Hoops Revolution to March Madness
UM’s Ignas Brazdeikis Is the Villain of March Madness
OBJ’s Trade to Cleveland Has the Browns Hyped
Steph Returns to Houston for 1st Time Since His Moon Landing Troll
Despite Jamaica’s role as one of the four debut countries, there was an air of excitement surrounding the side prior to the opening match. A combination of the exciting Khadija Shaw up front and Brazil’s woeful form had people wondering if an upset was on the cards. But Brazil swept past them with ease in what was a star performance from Cristiane, who got all three goals in a 3-0 win on Sunday, leaving Jamaica rooted to the bottom of Group C after the first game.
21. Chile (-1)
The South American debutants put up a respectable effort against Sweden in Group F on Tuesday. A break for a storm towards the end of the match appeared to do Chile no favours as Sweden came back out and scored twice without reply in the final 10 minutes, but Jose Letelier’s team didn’t embarrass themselves on the big stage.
20. Nigeria (-2)
Nigeria disappointed in their opening match against Norway. The champions of Africa have become a more solid outfit under Thomas Dennerby, but the lack of defensive organisation cost them dearly during a first half, during which Norway ran riot and took a 3-0 lead into the break. Nigeria improved a bit after half-time, and their next opponents in Group A, South Korea, looked poor against France. But they have still left themselves with an uphill struggle.
19. South Africa (+2)
Having not won a match in 2019, the debutants were one of the more pleasant surprises in Matchday 1, despite falling 3-1 to Spain in Group B. Their brand of “no fear” football saw them trouble Jorge Vilda’s side for the majority of the game, taking the lead in spectacular fashion before VAR awarded not one but two penalties against them. Still, they showed enough to suggest they won’t be easy for China in their next match.
18. South Korea (-3)
South Korea’s defensive worries coming into the tournament were justified. They struggled to cope with the hosts during the opening match in Paris. They were regularly pulled out of position by the pace and movement of France and constantly failed to challenge at set pieces, allowing centre-back Wendie Renard to bag two in a 4-0 French win.
17. Argentina (+5)
Marcio Machado/Getty Images
After being on the end of a couple of heavy defeats in previous World Cups, the nation that only professionalised its game earlier this year surprised everyone by getting a point against 2015 finalists Japan on Monday in Group D. The Argentinians looked solid at the back and were rarely troubled. The tricky Estefania Banini looked lively at the other end too, and the side won’t be the walkover England were hoping for this Friday.
16. China (+1)
It was hard to know what to expect from China coming into the tournament, but they put in a more than encouraging performance against a Germany side that failed to get out of second gear. In the end, China had only themselves to blame for the narrow 1-0 defeat after passing up a couple of glorious opportunities to take the lead before Giulia Gwinn’s winner in the 66th minute.
15. New Zealand (+1)
Tom Sermanni’s side caused a stir when they beat England in the week leading up to the tournament, and they looked to be on the verge of causing another upset with a superb defensive display against European champions Netherlands. A stoppage-time header from Jill Roord left them cruelly empty-handed, but there’s enough to suggest they might have enough to get through Group E if they can put away their chances and remain stubborn at the back in their final two games.
14. Scotland (-2)
Scotland were a little disappointing in a 2-1 defeat to England on Sunday. Barring a few good counter-attacks in the opening 10 minutes, it looked like they lacked ideas after the Lionesses took an early lead, and they rarely troubled England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley. A spirited second half will give cause for optimism, and they’ll take plenty of confidence into their next match after seeing Japan fail to break down Argentina.
13. Brazil (+1)
Brazil had to get off to a good start after failing to register a victory in almost a year, and thanks to a comfortable 3-0 victory against Jamaica—combined with Australia’s defeat to Italy—they’ve already gone a long way to making it out of Group C. Cristiane, who turned 34 last month, rolled back the years with a superb hat-trick, and the team were rarely troubled at the other end with goalkeeper Barbara looking like one of the most assured shot-stoppers in the opening round.
12. Australia (-4)
Australia were the big underachievers of the first round, throwing away a 1-0 lead against Italy in a group in which there is no simple route into the knockouts. Australia’s pre-tournament defensive concerns came to light, and it was once again an error that allowed their opponent back into the match. There were bright moments from their attack, but on the whole, Australia didn’t look like a side ready to mount a serious push for glory.
11. Italy (+2)
Italy were tipped as a potential surprise package pre-tournament, and their come-from-behind victory against Australia in their opening game has done nothing to halt the momentum. With a solid defence and the super Barbara Bonansea up top, Italy already look like a side ready to announce themselves.
10. Spain (Stay)
For a while, it looked like Spain were going to fall short in their first game because of the same old issues of not putting the ball in the back of the net. Jorge Vilda’s side were troubled by a spirited South Africa who broke with pace and caused plenty of issues, even taking the lead. VAR came to their aid on two occasions, and Spain will need to make definite improvements if they are to fulfill their potential.
9. Norway (+2)
Norway lived up to the hype they brought into the tournament with a 3-0 win over Nigeria. Martin Sjogren’s side will face tougher tests going forward but their linkup play, in particular between Guro Reiten and Caroline Graham Hansen, will give even the best defences a few headaches. Norway face hosts France in their next match on Wednesday in what will be a true test of where they are as a team.
8. Japan (-1)
Japan head coach Asako Takakura has openly said the nation has one eye on next year’s Tokyo Olympics, and it did look as though the 2011 World Cup champions were missing that extra bit of quality and experience as they failed to break down a solid Argentina. Clear chances were few and far between, and with two tough tests against Scotland and England to come, people may start to wonder about how far Japan can seriously go in France.
7. Sweden (+2)
Things were looking a bit tense for Peter Gerhardsson’s side against debutants Chile. The South Americans held out mainly thanks to some inspired goalkeeping from Christiane Endler. However, a break for a storm seemed to aid the Swedes. Goals from Kosovare Asllani and Madelen Janogy in the final 10 minutes got them off to the start they needed to try to keep pace with the USA in Group F.
6. England (Stay)
VALERY HACHE/Getty Images
England showed their strengths and weaknesses against Scotland. The first half was one of the best by any side so far, but the team looked fatigued in the second half, not for the first time in recent matches. The speed of their attacks will worry any defence in the tournament, but there still appears to be holes in their game down the other end. But their 2-1 win on Sunday, coupled with Japan’s draw to Argentina, already gives them an advantage when it comes to finishing in the vital top spot.
5. Netherlands (Stay)
The European champions got off to an untidy start against New Zealand but found a crucial winner in stoppage time thanks to substitute Jill Roord. Head coach Sarina Wiegman will be encouraged that her side created more than enough chances to score several goals, even without her front four hitting top gear. However, she will be worried about how exposed her defence looked when New Zealand countered. Like several other contenders, defensive issues may be the Netherlands’ undoing.
4. Canada (Stay)
A 1-0 Canada win against a spirited Cameroon side lacking in outright quality may have been one of the more predictable results given the lack of goals at either end in Canadian matches right now. The victory means Kenneth Heiner-Moller’s side have still conceded only one goal in 2019, and if they can keep that up, they still have every chance of going far given that some of their rivals look less than settled at the back.
3. Germany (Stay)
Germany failed to hit top form in their opening win against China on Saturday. They were fortunate to remain at 0-0 for so long given the chances they presented their opponents. And, on a day in which the German attackers failed to deliver, youngster Giulia Gwinn, 19, rescued them with the goal of the tournament so far. The side remain one of the favourites, but a toe injury to star player Dzsenifer Marozsan could rule her out of the whole tournament, which would be a massive blow.
2. France (-1)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
The hosts were our No. 1 pre-tournament and would have stayed there if not for the USA’s record-breaking exploits on Tuesday. Corinne Diacre’s side never looked overwhelmed by the occasion as they enjoyed a convincing 4-0 win against South Korea, playing some of the best football of the tournament so far. Their world-class spine of Wendie Renard, Amandine Henry and Eugenie Le Sommer all found the net as they put down a marker to the other 23 nations.
1. USA (+1)
Molly Darlington – AMA/Getty Images
USA vs. Thailand was always going to be one of the most one-sided games of the first round, and so it played out as the ruthless champions cut apart their opponents. The 13-0 victory eclipsed Germany’s 11-0 rout of Argentina in 2007 to become the biggest margin of victory in World Cup history. It was only 3-0 at half-time, but in the second half, the U.S. made their extra quality count, scoring goal after goal to remind the world that they’re the champions, and they’re not going to give their title away without a fight. Alex Morgan was particularly clinical, as she helped herself to five goals.