Women’s World Cup Group H

Ji So-yun will be South Korea’s key player at the World Cup (Jung Yeon-je)

The FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand kicks off on July 20.

AFP Sport takes a detailed look at Group H:

Germany (FIFA ranking 2)

Coach: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg (GER)

Star player: Alexandra Popp (Wolfsburg/GER)

Best World Cup performance: Champions (2003, 2007)

Germany are two-times world champions and will once again be among the favourites.

They suffered heartbreak after losing to hosts England 2-1 in extra-time in the final of last year’s Euros.

It was especially devastating for star player Alexandra Popp, who was ruled out of the match at Wembley after picking up an injury in the warm-up, having scored six goals on the way to the final.

Germany have beaten the United States and France in friendlies since then, but recent results have been mixed and they lost 3-2 at home to fellow World Cup qualifiers Zambia earlier this month in a major shock.

The Germans have quality throughout their squad and feature 10 players from Champions League runners-up Wolfsburg.

They start just behind England and holders the United States as favourites.

Morocco (FIFA ranking 72)

Coach: Reynald Pedros (FRA)

Star player: Ghizlane Chebbak (AS FAR/MAR)

Best World Cup performance: First appearance

Tournament debutants Morocco are the first Arab nation to play at a Women’s World Cup, having finished runners-up at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations behind winners South Africa.

The Atlas Lionesses can draw on players from around Europe’s top leagues and at home, led by inspirational captain Ghizlane Chebbak.

Coach Reynald Pedros also has pedigree, having led women’s giants Lyon to two Champions League and two domestic French titles before joining Morocco in 2020.

Morocco start among the lowest-ranked teams at the World Cup and results in friendlies this year have been inconsistent.

But Chebbak insists she and her team-mates “aren’t going to the World Cup to make up the numbers”.

Colombia (FIFA ranking 25)

Coach: Nelson Abadia (COL)

Star player: Daniela Montoya (Atletico Nacional/COL)

Best World Cup performance: Last 16 (2015)

Colombia are known as “the Powerpuff Girls” and will be hoping to pull off some superpowered results in Australia and New Zealand.

The Colombians beat Argentina to reach the final of last year’s Copa America and only missed out on the trophy after a 1-0 defeat to Brazil.

Colombia have fared well against weaker sides since then but lost to both France and Italy in friendlies earlier this year.

They have still come a long way since their World Cup debut in 2011, when they exited at the group stage without scoring a goal.

South Korea (FIFA ranking 17)

Coach: Colin Bell (ENG)

Star player: Ji So-yun (Suwon FC/KOR)

Best World Cup performance: Last 16 (2015)

South Korea stuck a total of 10 goals past Zambia in two friendly matches earlier this year, then beat another World Cup team, Haiti, 2-1.

Led by creative force Ji So-yun, now back in her home country after eight successful years at Chelsea, the Koreans are aiming to get past the World Cup group stage for only the second time.

Their recent record against European teams is not good though, losing to England, Belgium and Italy at the Arnold Clark Cup in February.

English coach Colin Bell will relish facing Germany, having spent three decades there as a player and coach.

He will be relying on a mostly domestic squad, with 16-year-old US-born forward Casey Phair a notable exception — and an exciting addition to an otherwise unspectacular team.



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