Ranking the 5 favourites for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup
The eighth edition of the quadrennial Women's World Cup begins in France on Friday, June 7 as 24 nations battle it out for global honour and pride.
The tournament has on offer multiple world class players of the women's game including Brazil's Marta (who is the record goalscorer in the tournament's history), USA's Alex Morgan, Nigeria's Asisat Oshoala, Nikita Paris of England, Christine Sinclair of Canada (who would be aiming to break Abby Wambach's all-time record of 184 international goals), as well as the 2017 FIFA's The Best Women's Player Lieke Martens of the Netherlands.
One high profile name which would, however, be missing is that of inaugural and defending Female Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg who was the inspiration behind Lyon's fourth consecutive Champions League triumph. She made the decision to continue her almost two-year exile from the international scene to protest against inequality in pay between the male and female sport.
Her protest is justified in that the total prize money on offer at the female World up is less than one-tenth of what their male counterparts received in Russia last year. And despite improvements in marketability and coverage of the female game in recent years, there is still a long way to go.
Hegerberg's non-participation apart, the World Cup promises to be an exciting encounter as one month of exhilarating football is guaranteed as the best in the world attempt to prove that what a man can do, a woman can do better.
In this piece, we shall be profiling the top five favourites to lift the trophy at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon on July 7.
Honourable mentions - Japan, Brazil, Sweden, Australia, Canada
FIFA World Ranking - 3rd
Head Coach - Phil Neville
Player to watch - Nikita Parris
The Lionesses of England have made steady progress over the last year since the appointment of former Manchester United man Phil Neville.
They have undoubtedly benefited from the rebranding of the top tier of their domestic league in 2011, with most of the current squad coming from clubs in the FA Women's Super League (FA WSL).
They would be banking on the goalscoring prowess of Nikita Parris to lead the line and fire them to glory.
The 25-year-old had made a name for herself in her country where she starred for three different WSL clubs in eight years, becoming the all-time record goalscorer in the process before securing a transfer to French giants Lyon in 2019.
She played a part in helping Les Fenottes to their fourth consecutive Champions League crown as well as their 13th consecutive league title.
England triumphed in the 2019 edition of the SheBelieves Cup, ousting the likes of USA, Japan and Brazil to lay their marker ahead of this tournament.