The Women’s World Cup is finally upon us and the Lionesses begin their campaign in Group D against first time qualifiers Haiti.
The showcase event for Women’s football will be hosted in Australia and New Zealand and England’s first outing takes place at 10:30am GMT on Saturday the 22nd of July at the Brisbane Stadium, what a nice way to start the weekend for us fans at home!
Sarina Weigman’s side are looking to make it back-to-back tournament successes after their triumphant Euro 2022 success where they beat Germany 2-1 in the final to win the country’s first ever major trophy (women’s).
The Lionesses sealed their World Cup place with ease through a qualification process that can only be described as perfection. Weigman’s side won all ten of their games scoring 80 goals in the process. Even more impressive is the fact that they did not concede a single goal in qualifying for this event. During that period England went on an emphatic run of 30 games unbeaten, a run which has since come to an end after a 2-0 friendly defeat against hosts Australia in April.
There will be some recognisable faces in the England starting XI but it is largely a new look side compared to the one that we saw during that famous Euro campaign. Injuries have hampered Sarina Weigman’s team with captain Leah Williamson sidelined as well as the influential Fran Kirby missing out. The armband will now be worn by Chelsea’s Millie Bright who is a popular figure within the dressing room and also a respected voice on the pitch. Not only has Weigman had injuries to contend with in building a squad but influential figures in the dressing room have retired such as Ellen White and Jill Scott. Sarina also made a big name omission with Nakita Parris not making the final cut having been selected for every squad in qualification, which will have come as a surprise to many.
So who leads the line in the absence of Ellen White? Rachel Daly had a stellar Euro 2022 tournament operating as a left-back where she featured in all six games and is likely to spearhead the attack after an incredible debut campaign for Aston Villa in the Women’s Super League. Daly picked up both the WSL Golden Boot and WSL Player of the Season with 22 goals in 22 games. Manchester United’s Alessia Russo is another player that you can expect to see at the top end of the field after impressive cameos during the Euro’s. Russo is averaging a goal every two games for The Lionesses and has been United’s player of the season for the last two seasons.
The Lionesses have qualified for the World Cup on five occasions Having made it to the semi-finals of the last two World Cups the Lionesses will be hoping to get to their first ever final and pick up that elusive trophy. In a group made up of England, Denmark, Haiti and China it is no surprise to see that England are the overwhelming favourites to top the group priced at as little as 1/16. I do expect that Haiti will be our easiest game of the tournament with England priced at 1/100 to win this game. For me this is the perfect way to settle any pre tournament nerves, after two games without a win in the buildup.
The Haitians are one of eight teams who will make their World Cup debuts this summer. Nicolas Delepine’s side qualified through a playoff process having qualified third in their CONCACAF group. They made light work of Senegal with a 4-0 win in their first playoff encounter before a surprise 2-1 victory over Chile saw them secure their World Cup place. Les Grenadières are currently 53rd in the world rankings and are priced at 40/1 to qualify from Group D and 500/1 to win the World Cup. Without meaning any disrespect those odds tell you everything you need to know. Haiti are a team that are here on merit but will ultimately struggle to challenge the more prominent teams like England.
In recent games England have struggled to break down tight defences and Haiti will look to put 11 players behind the ball and restrict the impact of England’s playmakers such as Ella Toone, Lauren James and Lauren Hemp. A player to keep an eye on in this game is Melchie Dumonay who has recently signed for french giants Lyon. Dumonay bagged both the goals in Haiti’s playoff win against Chile and is widely regarded as one of the most exciting emerging talents in the game.
After the devastating impact the earthquake/tsunami of 2010 caused to Haiti it is remarkable to see that the country has managed to put together a women’s team that is capable of reaching the World Cup, I hope that this can inspire many more footballers in the region for years to come. It is estimated that 316,000+ lives were lost within a year as a result of the disaster in 2010, with a further 300,000 injuries and 1.5 million people forced to live in displaced person camps.
Since then Haiti as a nation has also had to endure Hurricane Matthew in 2017 which levelled entire communities, and in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane they faced another cholera outbreak where 7% of the population were infected. This is a monster achievement for Haiti to be participating and I am so excited for them to test themselves on the biggest stage.
- Haiti are participating in their first ever World Cup after winning a World Cup playoff against Chile in February.
- England are participating in their fifth World Cup having reached the quarter-finals in their first three tournaments and the semi-finals in their last two tournaments.
- This is the first time England and Haiti have ever met.
- England have failed to score in their last two games (friendlies) in the buildup to the tournament, losing 2-0 to hosts Australia and drawing with Portugal.
- Haiti have lost all of their last four games in the buildup to this game against Guatemala, Venezuela, Korea Republic and Costa Rica.
- England had a perfect qualifying campaign winning all ten of their games, scoring 80 goals without conceding.
I can’t lie it wasn’t an easy task finding value in this game in singular markets given the odds that were available but William Hill had some good options available with two #Yourodds in particular taking my fancy. I have gone with a safer option that could see us double our money and I have gone for a bigger odds fancy that would see us get nine times our stake should it come off. England have a consistent record for high corner counts against poor defensive sides so I expect plenty of corners here.
England women to win both halves, England women most corners, Haiti women most cards - Evens with William Hill
Over 2 goals, Over 3 cards and Over 10 corners - 9/1 with William Hill