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Soccer

Women’s World Cup: Some polar opposites meet on Sunday

Netherlands vs Australia, Eindhoven - 01 Jun 2019
Australia’s Sam Kerr draws the attention of three players from the Netherlands in a pre-World Cup friendly on June 1.
(Jeroen Putmans / EPA/Shutterstock)

What to watch for in the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament on Sunday:

GROUP C: AUSTRALIA VS. ITALY

Where: Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes.

Time: 4 a.m., PDT.

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TV: .FS1, Telemundo

The buzz: Sixth-ranked Australia has been knocking on the door for a while, making the quarterfinals in three consecutive Women’s World Cups. And this team, led by Sam Kerr, the all-time leading scoring in both the U.S.-based NWSL and in Australia’s W-League, may be the country’s best ever. Italy, riding a wave of popularity for women’s soccer back home, is playing in this tournament for the first time since 1999. The Italians were unbeaten in nine warm-ups, but the only World Cup teams they played were Thailand and Chile.

BRAZIL VS. JAMAICA

Where: Stade des Alpes, Grenoble.

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Time: 6:30 a.m. PDT.

TV: FS1, Telemundo

The buzz: Brazil is playing in its eighth Women’s World Cup, Jamaica in its first, but the meeting may not be as one-sided as it seems. The South Americans, whose roster is a mixture of young hopefuls and old hands such as Marta, Cristiane and Formiga, lost nine times in as many games leading up to the tournament and will be without Marta, a six-time world player of the year, in Sunday’s opener because of a hamstring injury. Formiga will make history by becoming the first player — male or female — to appear in seven World Cups if she hits the field in Grenoble. Jamaica, which qualified for its first World Cup by finishing third in the CONCACAF tournament, is a largely U.S.-based team topped by Khadija Shaw, who led all players with 19 goals in qualifying. This is a homecoming for Shaw, nicknamed Bunny because of her love of carrots, since she plays club soccer at Bordeaux.

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GROUP D

ENGLAND VS. SCOTLAND

Where: Stade de Nice, Nice

Time: 9 a.m. PDT

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TV: Ch. 11, Telemundo

The buzz: This all-U.K. battle is another match between teams with different World Cup experience: England has reached the quarterfinals or better in four tournaments and Scotland is playing in the event for the first time. England, ranked third in the world and led by Lucy Bronze, considered by many to be one of the world’s top players, beat a field that included the U.S. to win this year’s SheBelieves Cup. Scotland comes in unbeaten in three consecutive friendlies against World Cup teams, including a 1-0 win over Brazil. The first recorded women’s match in history took place in 1881. Scotland beat England 3-0.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com | Twitter: @kbaxter11


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