What to watch for in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off Friday at 3pm ET, with host France taking on South Korea.

Why it matters: This year’s World Cup appears poised for a breakout moment, since the sport has gained greater acceptance internationally. For the first time, each game will stand by itself, as doubleheaders — made to limit prices and boost attendance in past decades — have been phased out.

See particulars:

TV: Fox, FS1
Streaming: Fubo TV, Hulu Live TV, Playstation Vue (view all)
Schedule: Most matches will kick off in either 9am ET, 12pm ET or 3pm ET. Full program.
Essential storylines:

Can USA repeat? The USWNT is your No. 1 team on the planet and also the defending champs, but the competition is stiffer than ever. In fact, FiveThirtyEight says France is the favorite.
A rebellious time: The planet’s biggest player, Norway’s Ada Hegerberg, is boycotting the championship over frustrations with the way the Norwegian soccer federation treats its women’s gamers. Meanwhile, the Americans are devoting their company, claiming sex discrimination, and the Australians have called for greater pay.
Can France make history? Women’s football has come a long way in France, and this year’s group has a legit chance to generate history, because no nation has ever held the men’s and women’s World Cup names concurrently.
Groups (world rank ):

Team A: France (4 ) ), Norway (12), South Korea (14), Nigeria (38)
Group B: Germany (2), Spain (13), China (16), South Africa (49)
Group C: Australia (6), Brazil (10), Italy (15), Jamaica (53)
Form D: England (3), Japan (7), Scotland (20), Argentina (37)
Group E: Canada (5), Netherlands (8), New Zealand (19), Cameroon (46)
Group F: USA (1), Sweden (9), Thailand (34), Chile (39)
Top 5 players (via SB Nation):

Sam Kerr, Australia
Wendie Renard, France
Tobin Heath, USA
Lieke Martens, Netherlands
Dzsenifer Marozsan, Germany

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