The Women’s World Cup is just around the corner, with the first match kicking off today. While every game should be exciting — and there are plenty of competitive groups to keep it interesting — here are a few of the group stage matches you won’t want to miss.
Friday, June 7, 12 PM PT (FS1)
It’s the World Cup opening match. France should be able to handle Korea, but the game will set the tone for the weekend. Korea has a world-class star in Ji So-yun, who plays for Chelsea in the FA WSL. France has a bench that could field a World Cup team for another country. The tournament could be France’s to lose — they have the talent to get to the final — but they’ll need to make their mark early to establish a rhythm.
Sunday, June 9, 6:30 AM PT (FS1)
For all you morning people, this match could go one of two ways: it could be highly entertaining or a total mess. Jamaica is making its World Cup debut, powered behind rising star Bunny Shaw. Marta has been the one-woman show for Brazil (although they have plenty of talent around her), but she might not be healthy for Brazil’s World Cup opener.
Sunday, June 9, 9 AM PT (Fox)
England has Reign FC’s Jodie Taylor and a competitive squad that has a real shot at making it to the World Cup final. Scotland has former Reign FC stars Rachel Corsie and Kim Little. This is Scotland’s first trip to the World Cup, but they aren't finished yet. They’ll need a strong result against longtime rival England to give them a chance to get out of a tough group that also includes Japan. With a strong defense, Scotland could pull it off.
Canada v. Cameroon
Monday, June 10, 12 PM PT (FS1)
Listen, this match should be a walk in the park for Canada. But Cameroon was one of the most surprising teams in 2015, as they got the better of Switzerland to advance out of the group stage. They have speed and chaos in the attack, and could cause confusion for Canada’s defense. They also have some talented new players to bolster their backline, including Sky Blue FC’s Estelle Johnson, who recently joined Cameroon after putting in MVP performances for years in the NWSL. Canada has Christine Sinclair, who is only four goals away from scoring the most goals in international soccer — men or women (Sinclair has 181, Abby Wambach has 184). This game could be a blowout in Canada’s favor, but don’t count Cameroon out just yet.
Wednesday, June 12, 9 AM PT (Fox)
Germany really hasn’t been getting the respect it deserves heading into the World Cup. This squad might be more talented than the one that made it to the semifinals last cycle before falling to the eventual champs. Spain, meanwhile, is a country on the rise in women’s soccer. Barcelona, home to many of Spain’s top players, made it to the Champions League final this year. Reign FC defender Celia Jimenez Delgado representing Spain gives you another reason to tune into what could be a highly skilled and exciting matchup.
Australia v. Brazil
Thursday, June 13, 9 AM PT (Fox)
Here are two teams that have been making a name for themselves in women’s soccer. Here also are two teams that don’t play a lot of defense. Australia has Sam Kerr, the best striker in the world right now. Brazil has an injured Marta who may or may not be available, plus numerous other attacking talents. This could be a high-scoring, raucous match. Reign FC stars Lydia Williams, Elise Kellond-Knight, and Steph Catley are all suiting up for Australia, making this another must-watch affair.
Jamaica v. Italy
Friday, June 14, 9 AM PT (Fox)
Both teams could be fighting hard for a spot out of the group at this point. With Brazil and Australia ahead of them, their chances aren’t strong. But anything goes in the World Cup, and the pressure to perform this late in the group stage could be exciting.
Nigeria v. France
Monday, June 17, 12 PM PT (Fox)
This is a fun Nigeria squad that includes no shortage of attacking talent. It’s France’s last match of the group stage. Could they phone it in if they already have a spot locked up? One thing France has lacked in the past is an ability to show up for big matches and tournaments on a consistent basis. Nigeria could be just the test they need to prove themselves.
Japan v. England
Wednesday, June 19, 12 PM PT (FS1)
Both teams faced off in the 2015 Women’s World Cup semifinals, with Japan coming out on top to advance to the finals thanks to an unfortunate England own goal. This is the final group stage match for both teams — and it could determine who wins their group, or advances at all. These are two skilled, quality sides. Japan will need to be solid defensively to control the match, and England will have to be consistent in finishing their chances.
Netherlands v. Canada
Thursday, June 20, 9 AM PT (Fox)
The fifth-ranked team in the world (Canada) faces off against the eighth-ranked team. After winning the UEFA Euro tournament in 2017, Netherlands have welcomed record-setting attendance for their matches. I imagine Dutch fans will show up to France with enthusiasm, which could give this match an exciting atmosphere. They’ll have a tough time breaking down Canada, who hasn’t done much offensively in recent months — but also hasn’t let in many goals. Netherlands will need to be more consistent if they want to escape this match with a win.
Sweden v. USA
Thursday, June 20, 12 PM PT (Fox)
Remember the 2016 Olympics? Hope Solo and the U.S. Women’s National Team sure do. That’s when Sweden’s bunker defense came out on top, as they found a goal on a counter and beat the U.S. in the Olympic quarterfinals. Solo called them cowards, and the rest is history. America has struggled to get the better of Sweden for more than a decade. Could this high-powered attack be what the USWNT needs to get the job done? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
You can peruse the full group-stage schedule on the FIFA website, and we’ll have daily gamethreads to watch and discuss with other fans. As the games kick off, share which match you’re most excited to watch.