2015 Women’s World Cup Canada: Group E Preview

June 4, 2015

This next group brings with it the potential for parity, which is a nice change of pace after previewing two groups where the favorites are likely to overwhelm the underdogs.

Group E features a heavy hitter, two newcomers to the Women’s World Cup and a scrappy squad that won’t give up until the final whistle blows. Expect points to be spread fairly evenly between the four teams in this group, which means one of the four third place squads to make the knockout round could come from this pod.

Here’s the Group E preview.

Remember the Name

Marta, Brazil forward

Any true fan of women’s professional football already knows who Marta is, but for the rest of the crowd, think of her as the female Messi. Granted, Messi can only dream of earning the accolades that Marta has already earned. A five time FIFA World Player of the Year winner and four time runner up, the Brazilian has literally been dominating the women’s game for the last decade. She is the all-time leader in goals scored in Women’s World Cup history alongside Germany’s Birgit Prinz, but will almost surely become the sole possessor of that honor by the time the tournament is over.

Seemingly the only thing that Marta does not have to her name is a World Cup title. Still well within the prime of her career, expect her to set the tone offensively for a Brazil squad that is just as capable of making it to the Finals as the 2011 team. This is one individual that the United States does not want to see on the pitch come the knockout stage; she’s out for revenge.

Group Bully


If this were the men’s World Cup, Group E would be one of the tougher draws of the entire tournament. And although this isn’t the easiest group to be a part of, Brazil is still far and away the favorite to win it. Oddly enough, football mad Spain is making its first appearance in the Women’s World Cup. The same is true for Costa Rica, which will be looking to follow in the footsteps of the men’s team and shock the world on the game’s biggest stage.

Thanks to the duo of Marta and Cristiane, Brazil has one of the most prolific scoring tandems in the world. A Seleção will try to score early and often, blitzing their inexperienced opponents before they have a chance to get into any sort of rhythm. The Brazilians carry the weight of the country just like the men’s team did last year, and although it wouldn’t completely heal the wounds from the men’s semifinals, a victory in Canada would still be passionately celebrated.

Group Underdog

Costa Rica

The CONCACAF squad is the natural choice to play the role of underdog in this group, just as the men’s team was in its group in the 2014 World Cup. But while Costa Rica may not be known for its soccer prowess, it isn’t like the team will be facing three powerhouse squads. Spain is also making its first Women’s World Cup appearance and for what South Korea has in hustle and selfless play, it lacks in raw talent and size. It isn’t a given that Costa Rica will go three up, three down in this tournament.

To remain competitive, a young player is going to have to step up and be a leader. Perhaps Raquel Rodriguez, the 21-year old forward who plays her collegiate soccer at Penn State, will be that leader. Or maybe it will be Shirley Cruz Traña, the oldest player on the squad at 29-years old and most capped, too. The bottom line is, Costa Rica is a mystery. But this group as a whole could be characterized as such, which is why it isn’t unfathomable that the women’s team becomes tournament darlings similarly to the men in Brazil.

Games to Watch

Brazil vs. South Korea (June 9, 7:00 PM ET – FS1)

The Koreans were able to hold the United States to a scoreless draw in the last World Cup tune-up. They’ll have to deal with a much more aggressive attack against Brazil, however.

South Korea vs. Costa Rica (June 13, 7:00 PM ET – FS2)

If the Koreans opt to play defensive football throughout the tournament, this is where Costa Rica could sneak a goal through and pick up an important three points.

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

1. Brazil – 9 points

2. Spain – 4 points

3. South Korea – 2 points

4. Costa Rics – 1 point

– K. Becks

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