FRANCE 2019

2019 FIFA Women's World Cup: What you need to know

FOX Sports will carry English broadcasts of matches in the United States.

The eighth edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off on Friday with host nation France facing South Korea. Similar to the men's edition, the women's is played every four years to determine which nation reigns supreme in international soccer.


The basics

Who: 24 nations played their way in through qualifiers. Teams are divided into groups of four with the top two from each group and four third place teams advancing to the knockout stage. During the group stage, a win is worth three points, a tie is worth one and a loss is worth zero.

The knockout round consists of single elimination matches until one team is left.

What: A new FIFA Women's champion will be decided

When: June 7 to July 7

Where: Matches will take place across nine French cities - Lyon, Paris, Nice, Montpellier, Rennes, Le Havre, Valenciennes, Reims and Grenoble.

How to watch

Matches will be broadcast in the United States in English on FOX, FS1 or FS2 and in Spanish on Telemundo, Telemundo Deportes and NBC Universo.

A list of TV listings can be found here: https://www.fifa.com/womensworldcup/matches/

Which team is favored to win

Depending on where you look, the United States and France are the main favorites to win followed by Germany. England, Netherlands, Australia Japan and Canada round out the list of teams with a chance to surprise.

The United States are the defending champions after winning at Canada 2015 and are looking to become the second nation to win back-to-back Women's World Cups after Germany (2003, 2007). France are favored due to their quality of players and the fact that they are playing at home. It is expected, if both win their groups, that the U.S. and France face off in the quarterfinals.

Players to keep and eye on

Alex Morgan (USA), Sam Kerr (Australia), Eugenie Le Sommer (France), Kim Little (Scotland), Christine Sinclair (Canada), Tobin Heath (USA)


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Life after Correa may not be the worst thing. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Carlos Correa is having a damn good year. The Astros shortstop is hitting .285 with 24 homers, 87 RBI, 72 walks, .862 OPS, a 7.2 WAR, and a .981 fielding percentage. In any other year, those would be numbers worthy of being in the mix for AL MVP (if it weren't for that dastardly Shohei Otani). Correa is also in a contract year. He and the Astros were far enough apart that the season started and he's held true to not wanting to negotiate midseason.

The offers of six years for $120 million and five years for $125 million were both rejected by he and his camp. They're seeking something much longer and for more money on the annual average. With the team unwilling to meet those demands, it seems as if the team and the player are headed for a split.

Lots of Astros fans are not happy with the prospect of Correa leaving via free agency. Some think the team isn't doing enough and should pony up to bring him back. Some feel Correa should take what they're offering because it's a fair deal that'll allow the team to sign other players. Then, there's that small band of us that are totally okay with him leaving.

One of the main reasons I'm okay with him leaving is the players the team still has under control that are potential replacements. Aledmys Diaz and Pedro Leon are the first two guys that come to mind. Diaz is a 31-year-old vet who's stepped up when he's called upon. He can slide over to third and allow Alex Bregman to play shortstop. Leon is the team's 23-year-old hot prospect who signed as an outfielder that the team has been trying to turn into a shortstop. If Correa were to leave, he could instantly plug the hole Carlos would leave behind. Either of those options lead to my next point of being okay with Correa leaving which is to...

...allocate that money elsewhere. Whether it's signing a replacement (at short or third), or boosting the pitching staff, I'll be fine as long as it's money well spent. Signing a shortstop or third baseman would determine where Bregman would be playing. If said player takes significantly less than Correa and fills 70-80% of his offensive shoes, it'll be worth it. Others will have to step it up. If they find a deal on a top of the rotation starting pitcher, that would be ideal as well. As I stated a couple of weeks ago, this team has employed a six-man rotation, but doesn't have a true ace. Spending anywhere from $20-30 million a year on a top-notch pitcher to add to the staff would bolster this staff in more ways than one. It'll finally give them the ace they lack, plus it'll bump all the young talent (still under team control) down a peg creating depth and perhaps even creating bullpen depth.

The only way any of this works is if Correa isn't back. Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander's money comes off the books also. Freeing up that much payroll and not re-appropriating those resources to ensure this team stays in contention would be a first degree felony in sports court. I don't think Jim Crane wants that for this team. I for sure don't think James Click wants that as his legacy. Let's sit back and watch how the organization maneuvers this offseason and pray they get it right.


Editor's note: If you want to read the other side of the argument, check out Ken Hoffman's piece from Tuesday.

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