Tags: Womens World Cup Kicks Off Shhh | Dont Mention FIFA

Women's World Cup Kicks Off (Shhh, Don't Mention FIFA)

By    |   Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 10:46 AM

The Women's World Cup kicks off this weekend in Canada with all of the players, TV execs and sponsors hoping the start of women's play will push aside the off-the-field FIFA scandal.

The tournament has already sparked controversy because it is being played on artificial turf for the first time, according to National Public Radio, leaving the women to complain about the possibility of injuries – not to mention sexism since the men's World Cup has never been played on artificial turf.

A lawsuit filed by some of the game's most prominent players was withdrawn when a Canadian tribunal declined to expedite the case and FIFA refused to acknowledge the legal proceedings.

The United States, the reigning 2012 Olympic champions, will try to win its first World Cup in 16 years, but it will have to play its way out of Group D. It's referred to as the "Group of Death" by FiveThirtyEight.com because it's the strongest group in the field, featuring Sweden, Australia and Nigeria.

"There are no bad teams here," wrote Allison McCann of FiveThirtyEight.com. "The U.S. is the most likely team to win the group (a 65 percent chance), but it will have to get past a very strong Swedish team — helmed by former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage. Although the Swedes have only a 20 percent chance of beating the U.S. in the group stage, they're very likely to advance from Group D."

Despite playing in a difficult group, the Americans are still one of favorites to reach the finals with the defending champions from Germany, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. Germany has a Women Soccer Power Index score of 95.6 while the U.S. team has a score of 95.4 on the index, making them essentially co-favorites but both have problems.

According to Forbes.com, Germany comes to Canada without one of the best players in the world, Nadine Kessler, who will miss the World Cup because of a knee injury. She is a former FIFA World Players of the Year.

For the United States, no one knows how much of a distraction Hope Solo's off-the-field issues will be, noted the New York Daily News. If the problems become an after-thought, Solo could emerge as one of the best goaltenders in the world and could help lead the U.S. to victory.

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The Women's World Cup kicks off this weekend in Canada with all of the players, TV execs and sponsors hoping the start of women's play will push aside the off-the-field FIFA scandal.
Womens World Cup Kicks Off Shhh, Dont Mention FIFA
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2015-46-04
Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 10:46 AM
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