The year 2019 sees the biggest female competition in the World come on display, with the best of female players all around the globe representing their countries. Some of them veterans. while others are youngsters with potentials, all of whom will converge in France for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July.
Although, Norwegian and Olympique Lyonnais forward who is also the current female Ballon d’Or winner, Ada Hegerberg will not be at the Mundial due to personal reasons, citing poor treatment of female football players in Norway as her reason for opting out of the National team.
Irrespective, there are various other World class players who could as well light up the tournament, some are household names, others are pretty up and coming. We take a look at some of them
LIEKE MARTENS – Netherlands
One of the biggest and prominent names in female football, Martens ply her trade with FC Barcelona in the Feminine division of the Spanish La Liga, shooting into prominence in 2017, after winning both the FIFA Women’s Player of the year and the UEFA Women’s Player of the year.
This year’s edition makes her second World Cup appearance after featuring in 2015 where she scored once, however she is expected to hit her stride in France at the age of 26, where she is likely to push the Dutch women into the knockout stages and possibly a final four spot.
She won’t be alone however, as the likes of Vivianne Miedema and Danielle Van De Donk will be providing the support from the middle of the park.
ASISAT OSHOALA – Nigeria
Arguably now a World-class player, Oshoala broke into prominence at the 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup pushing the Falconets to the finals where they lost to Germany in the final.
Since then she has consistent and has played in England for Liverpool and Arsenal Ladies, before moving to Barcelona through a loan stint from (Dalian Quanjian F.C.) China. The three times African women’s player of the year has scored 8 goals in 10 games including one in the final of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, which has seen her become a reckoning force.
Blessed with pace and trickery, Oshoala will prove problematic for Nigeria’s Group A opponents as they bid to make it into the semifinals for the first time. If the Super Falcons are to make it that far, Oshoala who will be playing in her second finals will be pivotal, alongside Francesca Ordega who starred at the African Women’s Championship in 2018 in Ghana.
EUGENIE LE SOMMER – France
30-year old Le Sommer is a veteran and the focal point of the French team’s attack, Playing in front of home fans will be of huge advantage to her confidence level as they bid to win the Women’s World Cup for the first time.
The Olympique Lyonnais forward started the Uefa women’s Champions League final match on May 18th but was unable to register her name on the scoresheet, however she remains the French’s biggest threat in front of goals as the like of Gredge Mbock Bathy and Wendy Reinard hold the forth at the back.
THEMBI KGATLANA – South Africa
After several years of wait, South Africa will be playing at their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup, partly due to Thembi Kgatlana’s qualities and her rich vein of form for the past two years.
The Beijing Phoenix striker scored 5 goals in six matches at the African Women’s Championship in Ghana last year as the Banyana Banyana made it to the finals thus securing a place at the World Cup. She was also instrumental as the South Africans beat rivals Nigeria in the opening group game of the same tournament.
Club teammate, Linda Mothlalo would also be a much-needed ally if the debutants are to make it out of a group of death that has China, Germany and Spain.
MARTA – Brazil
One of the Greatest female football players of all time will be playing at her fifth women’s World Cup and only teammate Formiga has played more, having featured in all FIFA Women’s World Cup since the inception of the female World Cup in 1999.
Marta is the record goalscorer of the FIFA Women’s World Cup with 15 goals ahead of Abby Wambach (USA) and Brigit Prinz (Germany), both who have 14 goals and she looks likely to pull further clear if she adds to the tally in France.
Football fans will be looking out for what the Brazilian still has left in her coffers and also to look out for in the Brazilian team is 24 -year old Andressinha who is also another live-wire for the South Americans.
FRAN KIRBY – England
The 2017/18 PFA and FWA Player of the Year has enjoyed an incredible four years since her World Cup debut in 2015. She contributed 25 goals – including an excellent strike in the FA Cup final at Wembley – as Emma Hayes’ side won the League and Cup double last season.
Kirby has truly made a name for herself, having terrorised defenders since her breakthrough aged 19, she played a major role on the road to France, with a hand in seven strikes(2 goals and 5 assists) in the qualifying series.
The former Reading forward has 12 goals in 37 matches for England and will be hoping to add more to her World Cup tally after scoring against Mexico in the group stage in 2015.
GEALLE ENGANAMOUIT – Cameroon
Cameroon‘s biggest protagonist on their run to the Round of 16 at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, Enganamouit scored a hattrick as they beat Ecuador by 6 goals to 1 in one of their matches.
However, apart from the 2016 African Women’s Championship which the Central African nation hosted and reached its final, Enganamouit has been largely off form since then due to a niggling injury, especially at the AWCON in Ghana last year, where they could only finish third to qualify for the world cup.
It is then left to be seen how the one time African player of the year will perform at her second appearance at the Mundial.
JODY BROWN & KHADIJAT SHAW – Jamaica
Jamaica’s qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup was masterminded by two quality but extremely young players, one of which is Jody Brown, a 17-year old winger who scored 6 goals in the qualifiers for the World Cup including a hattrick against Cuba. She also made the CONCACAF Women’s 11 of the year.
For Khadija Shaw, there might be a question on the quality of teams she faced in the qualifications for the World Cup but the 21-year-old scored 19 goals in 12 games becoming the highest goalscorer of the entire FIFA Women’s world cup qualifiers.
If Jamaica are to make any meaningful impact against Italy, Brazil and Australia both players had better be in their best form.