The group placement for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France was announced two weeks ago. Three Cal Women’s Soccer alum will represent three different countries next year. They are placed in two different groups, meaning that we will get some Bear vs. Bear battle in the group stages.
The 3 Cal Bears alum that will be playing in the Women’s World Cup are:
In Group F:
Alex Morgan - USA
Cal Bears (2007 - 2010) - 45 goals in 67 matches
Team USA - 98 goals in 153 matches
I have written before about how Alex Morgan has regained her mojo in 2018, scoring 23 goals in her last 23 international matches to lead Team USA to a Women’s World Cup berth. With Abbey Wambach now retired and Carli Lloyd becoming more of a role player, 2019 World Cup in France will play a huge part in deciding Alex Morgan’s legacy IF “Captain Morgan” can lead Team USA to a 4th World Cup title.
Injuries, as well as the overall improvement of women’s soccer level of play internationally, have slowed down Morgan’s scoring path. However, if Morgan can stay healthy and be productive in the next two years to lead Team USA to a 2019 World Cup title and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Gold, the Cal alum still has a shot at overtaking Mia Hamm and Abbey Wambach as the best Women’s Soccer player ever.
Alex Morgan and USWNT will travel around the country in a series of friendly matches ahead of June’s Women’s World Cup. This includes a stop at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on May 12th.
Morgan and USA will also face Betsy Hassett and New Zealand in a friendly on May 16th from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Once the Women’s World cup starts, this is the schedule for USWNT:
USA vs. Thailand, June 11 in Reims
USA vs. Chile, June 16 in Paris
USA vs. Sweden, June 20 in Le Havre
The Thailand match will be interesting for Cal fans since it is a battle of two Cal alum. The Sweden match will be particularly interesting as it will be a revenge match of sort for Team USA who lost in the first knock-out stage in penalties to Sweden in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
USA and Swede are expected to be the two teams that get out of this group. Four of the six 3rd place teams will also make it to the knock-out stage.
Miranda Nild - Thailand
Cal Bears (2015 - 2018) - 13 goals in 71 matches
Team Thailand - 11 goals in 13 matches
Miranda Nild, also known as Suchawadee Nildhamrong, is another Cal forward that will be starring for her team next summer. Nild only got her Thailand senior team call up in April of 2017 but made a huge impact right away in helping Team Thailand qualify for the World Cup. Nild recently completed her 4th year of eligibility playing for Cal Women’s Soccer.
The Castro Valley native is obviously psyched to play against Team USA, even if this tough draw really diminish any outside shot of Thailand making it to the knockout stages.
I am very thankful for this opportunity to be representing Thailand in the World Cup! I’m also very excited to play against the US! This will be extremely challenging but also a dream! pic.twitter.com/vSLjKL2K2u— Miranda Nild (@mnild15) December 8, 2018
This is the schedule for Team Thailand in France:
Thailand vs. USA, June 11 in Reims
Thailand vs. Sweden, June 16 in Nice
Thailand vs. Chile, June 20 in Rennes
In Group E:
Betsy Hassett - New Zealand
Cal Bears (2009 - 2012) - 7 goals in 64 matches
Team New Zealand - 8 goals in 81 matches*
(*these stats came from Wiki and is likely not up-to-date)
Betsy Hassett and her Football Fern squad will face Canada, Cameroon, and Netherlands in Group E. Canada and Netherlands are probably favored over New Zealand, but New Zealand should be in the mix for one of those 4 3rd place advancements, if not earning a 2nd place finish in this group.
Hassett has been a Calympian in representing New Zealand in the Olympics. The midfielder have faced Alex Morgan and USA in the quarterfinal of the 2012 Beijing Olympics Knockout stage, which USA won en route to the Gold medal. They also matched up again in the opening group stage match of the 2016 Rio Olympics in another win by USWNT.
Interestingly, Football Ferns are now coached by Tom Sermanni. USWNT fans know Sermanni as the manager of USWNT in 2013-14; he also just finished a tenure as the head coach of the NWSL Orlando Pride, AKA Alex Morgan’s team.
This is the schedule for Team New Zealand in France:
New Zealand vs. Netherlands, June 11 in Le Havre
New Zealand vs. Canada, June 15 in Grenoble
New Zealand vs. Cameroon, June 20 in Montpellier
BEST OF LUCK TO ALL OF THE CAL ALUMNI AND GO BEARS!