The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 is several weeks away, but this early, football fans in the CNMI, especially players involved in the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association’s women’s program, have made their choices—the teams that they think stand a great chance of winning the competition and the squads that can pull off surprises.
Let’s see which team made their list.
“Since Japan Football Association has done and continues to do so much for NMIFA, I always root for the Nadeshiko. But I have been a US WNT fan for many years. The US WNT continues to take important steps to ensure equal pay for equal play. France has a technically gifted team that seems to have great cohesiveness. And having the home crowd will definitely help. All the teams have worked so hard to even qualify for the World Cup, so I don’t really think of any of them as underdogs. This is the first time for Jamaica’s WNT to qualify for the World Cup and the second time for Thailand. Even though Jamaica will be inexperienced at this level of play, it’s a huge step for women’s football in Jamaica for their NT to qualify for the World Cup.”
NMIFA Women’s Committee chair
“The favored team this year as it is usually most years is Team USA. Team USA is complete once again, getting Tobin Heath back from injury, and having its starting line up stronger than ever. Team USA, as current champion, has lot to fight for because we all know that every team is out to get them. The underdogs I believe that have potential would either be Brazil or England. These teams have been able to get into the quarters and semis but never reaching their goal to be on top. I believe these two teams have a lot of potential to pull through and give a good fight.”
CNMI Women’s National Team member
“I think USA is the favorite. The way they won their games at CONCACAF women’s championship, scoring goals one after the other. And they’ve got so many talented and experienced players from Morgan to Rapinoe and Lloyd. The pressure is on them. Many are also favoring France to win the Cup since they will be on their home turf. Plus, back-to-back wins for World Cup men’s and women’s would be historic for France. But, I always like to see an Asian team go to the Top 4 and try to win that trophy. Japan did it before and they could do it again. I am rooting for an Asian team to get to the finals. As for the underdogs, it could be Jamaica, as they are the first Caribbean team to qualify for the World Cup. Overall, I think this women’s World Cup will be very exiting and surprising for everyone, with soccer changing its pace and more and more women becoming part of this sport, be it on the field or behind it.”
CNMI Women’s National Team assistant coach
“My favorite team is Japan. After watching their performance in past FIFA World Cup games, I saw how great they played, the momentum they had, and their efforts to win. The underdogs this year will probably be Spain because they are making only their second World Cup appearance, but they might have improved. Anything is possible.
CNMI Women’s National Team