It seems like it was just yesterday that we were cheering on Clint Dempsey and the gang as they took on the Group of Death in Brazil. Fast forward a year later and it's World Cup time once again...only this time we'll be cheering on Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and company.
Obviously you know where to get your Team USA gear (nudge nudge wink wink, you're kind of here already) and so now that we got that plug taken care of....how about some predictions?
Alright, so let's just stick with the group stages for this blog entry, no reason to get ahead of ourselves right?
GROUP A: Canada, China PR, New Zealand, Netherlands
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Canada is my favorite to win this group. With memories of the last Olympics still fresh in their minds, they are going to be chomping at the bit for another go at their neighbors to the South. The question is.....who joins them? This group is actually a pretty decent group when it all comes down to it, so I think it's a bit of a tossup considering New Zealand's grittiness and China's history in the tournament, but at the end of the day, I am taking the Netherlands to move on with the Canadians.
Advancing: Canada and Netherlands
Group B: Germany, Ivory Coast, Norway, Thailand
Although Thailand is in shouting distance....mind you a very LOUD shout of Germany and Norway, I don't think Thailand or Ivory Coast will pose much of a threat at all to Germany and Norway advancing. If it went any other way, I personally feel it would be a HUGE upset.
Advancing: Germany and Norway
Group C: Japan, Switzerland, Cameroon, Ecuador
Once again there are two EASY favorites in this group, as Japan and Switzerland seem to be light years ahead of Cameroon and Ecuador. However, although Japan are certainly the favorites in this group, I am actually going with Switzerland to win the group. I feel like the Japanese may struggle a little early and the Swiss will have a chance to capitalize on that.
Advancing: Switzerland and Japan
Group D: USA, Australia, Sweden, Nigeria
Here is where I call my first upset. This could actually be one of the more entertaining groups and not just because the USA is in it. All of these teams could cause some trouble, even the Nigerians who are definitely the underdogs. Sweden and the USA are both ranked in the Top 5 in the world, but I am actually going to pick the Aussies to move on with the Americans in what could be a crazy group. The Americans haven't been quite as dominant as of late, much of this has to do with the rest of the world catching up. The Australians have a load of talent and I feel like they could really turn some heads.
Advancing: USA and Australia
Group E: Brazil, Korea Republic, Spain, Costa Rica
Group E proves to be interesting as well. Brazil and Spain are the favorites, but I am kind of liking the Koreans as well. I think they'll make it interesting, but in the end, I am going to stick with the favorites.
Advancing: Brazil and Spain
Group F:France, England, Colombia, Mexico
F is for France and I believe they will easily win this Group. England won't have much trouble beating Colombia and Mexico, but I still feel they'll get killed by the French. Looking into the future of the tournament, I actually see France going pretty far. Definitely one of my favorite teams.
Advancing: France and England
Well there you have it, my predictions for the Group Stages of the 2015 Women's World Cup. I have to say, I am extremely excited for it to start and I hope all of you are as well. Please comment with your predictions below!