2015 Women’s World Cup Canada: Group D Preview

June 3, 2015

Not everyone in the United States is the biggest soccer fan. Heck, some people still downright loathe the sport. But chances are that there will still be slight interest from even the staunchest opposition when a certain squad from Group D takes to the pitch in Canada.

At the very core, the World Cup is about rooting for one’s homeland to succeed in front of the entire globe, much like the Olympics. So when the red, white and blue play its first game on June 8, most people will at least periodically check the score throughout the match. Thus why this is my most anticipated preview of the bunch.

We’ll now take a look at Group D, featuring the United States. For those that are a bit more invested, this is also the group that has been dubbed the “Group of Death”.

Remember the Name

Sydney Leroux, United States forward

There are familiar names all over the pitch for the United States, but perhaps the most important with regards to the team’s chance of earning a third star for the kit is Leroux. The speedy forward will be one of the more scrutinized players in the tournament, as she was born in Canada but moved to Arizona as a teenager to pursue her goal of playing for the United States. Expect some boos to be heard along with the cheers every time she touches the ball.

With the status of Alex Morgan’s knee still uncertain, Leroux represents the lone option that the United States has to score off of quick strike counter attacks. Her pure speed combined with old school hustle make her difficult for defenders to play, and you better believe she will take more than a few offside calls to keep the opposition on its toes. She may not have quite the star power of Morgan, Hope Solo or Abby Wambach, but if the United States ends up hoisting the Cup at the end of the tournament, expect her to be right there with her teammates in terms of popularity.

Group Bully

United States

The United States may be the favorite to win the group, but its actually not quite as big a bully in Group D as some of the other top squads are in their respective pods. As the proverbial “Group of Death”, this quartet should feature some very entertaining games and has the potential to surprise a lot of pundits. Sweden and the United States were group mates in the 2011 Women’s World Cup as well, and the Swedes beat the Americans by a score of 2-1. The United States went on to finish second in the group behind Sweden.

All that being said, it’s hard to argue with three straight Olympic gold medals, a runner-up finish in the last World Cup and a group of stars that are hungry to put a cap on an otherwise incredible laundry list of career accolades. Sweden may have gotten the best of the United States last time, but not many teams have been able to sustain success against the Americans. Until otherwise noted, the Yanks are still the dominant team in Group D.

Group Underdog


Generally, in the Group of Death there is one team that just doesn’t quite fit in with the rest. In this year’s Women’s World Cup, Nigeria is that unfortunate case. The Super Falcons have played in every Women’s World Cup since its inception in 1991, but have never qualified for the knockout stage. Although past results are rarely indicative of future success in world football, it may just be a bad omen for Nigeria. Every other team in Group D made it to the quarterfinals in 2011 and brings back a wealth of talent from those squads.

Nigeria is more than capable of playing spoiler for one of the other three teams, but it doesn’t look good for the Super Falcons beyond that. I predict that points will be earned by every squad in the group, but draws alone won’t be enough to move on. Nigeria may be hoping that I’m incorrect.

Games to Watch

United States vs. Australia (June 8, 7:30 PM ET – FS1)

Game No. 1 for the U.S. will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination. There is always a slight rivalry with the Aussies.

United States vs. Sweden (June 12, 8:00 PM ET – FOX)

The most anticipated match of the group takes place on a Friday night in the U.S., which should be great for ratings.

How They’ll Finish (picks in bold move on to the Knockout Stage)

1. United States – 7 points

2. Sweden – 7 points

3. Australia – 1 point

4. Nigeria – 1 point

– K. Becks

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