Our event of the day is the start of the 2019 Women’s World Cup with France’s clash against South Korea raising the curtain at the Parc des Princes. With women’s football being propelled into the forefront of sporting media in recent years, there is more excitement than ever surrounding this year’s edition of the FIFA World Cup. Nowhere will the anticipation levels be greater than in the streets of the French capital, which tonight plays host to the tournament’s opening game as France’s ladies look to get off to the best possible start and take command of Group A. France go into the competition ranked the fourth best country in world football and will hope to put on a show in front of their home crowd, with the expectation of an entire nation on their shoulders. Their last World Cup campaign back in 2015 was cut short at the Quarter-final stage as Germany eliminated the French after taking them all the way to penalties. Their best ever finish at a World Cup came four years earlier, when they came fourth losing a third place playoff against Sweden. Arguably this French side has never been more equipped to cultivate a deep run on the biggest stage in football, particularly with the added boost of Lyon’s Champions League success. No fewer than seven Lyon players who lifted the club’s fourth consecutive Champions League title back in May have been included in the national squad and they will hope to be the difference makers as they go in search of their first ever World title.
South Korea will share the honour of raising the curtain on this year’s World Cup, and, unlike the French, won’t be feeling the pressure of expectation going into today’s clash. They currently reside 14th in the world rankings, and this represents just their third ever appearance at a FIFA World Cup. Their best finish came in 2003 when they reached the round of 16, but even then they won just one game in the group and rode their luck to qualify for the knockout phase. With the AFC Women’s Asian Cup acting as the qualifying process for the World Cup, South Korea booked their ticket to France having achieved a fifth place finish at the Asian Cup last year and they will be once again looking just to qualify from a manageable Group A, with Norway and Nigeria completing the group. This is the start of an exciting month of football with the tournament concluding on 7th July at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Cricket World Cup as Pakistan face Sri Lanka at the Bristol County Ground. Both sides have suffered a mixed start to their respective campaigns, winning one and losing one, meaning this game is in the balance as they both look to push on in the tournament Other honourable mentions go to the NBA as the Golden State Warriors host the Toronto Raptors at the Oracle Arena for Game 4 of the NBA Finals. After winning Game 3 last time out, Toronto will take a 2-1 lead into tonight’s clash as they go in search of their first ever NBA title. Elsewhere, the qualification stage for Euro 2020 continues today as Spain travel to take on the Faroe Islands whilst Denmark host the Republic of Ireland. The French Open has reached the Semi-final stage where Roger Federer will take on Rafa Nadal whilst Novak Djokovic will take to the court with Dominic Thiem in the other semi. Meanwhile in the women’s draw, the highest ranked remaining player Ashleigh Barty will do battle with Amanda Anisimova whilst Brit Johanna Konta faces Marketa Vondrousova for a place in the weekend’s final. At the World Cup of Darts, England will get their campaign underway as they take to the oche with the Philippines whilst Michael van Gerwen and the Netherlands take on Spain. Finally, in rugby’s Super League, Hull FC will welcome Salford Red Devils to KCOM Stadium as the hosts look to bounce back from their humiliating 55-2 defeat against Huddersfield last time out in the league.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Eugénie Le Sommer; Chelsea FC Women
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