LOS ANGELES - Rivalries are as much a part of soccer as the ball and the grass, and many of the fiercest rivalries in the 2019 Women’s World Cup date back to before the game was even invented.
Part of the joy of the game is redemption from a stinging defeat, and since there are four years between each World Cup Tournament, teams really have time to reflect on those losses, which means sometimes things get personal.
Here are some of the top rivalries everyone will be looking out for as some of the world’s best athletes represent their countries this summer in France.
Sweden vs. USA - The U.S. squad will definitely be looking for redemption after Sweden knocked them out of the quarterfinals of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Rio, in 2016.
The Swedes denied the U.S. a podium finish for the first time in history. Given that this is the seventh time the Americans and team Sweden have faced off in eight total Women’s World Cups, we can go ahead and definitely call this match a rivalry.
England vs. Scotland – The rivalry between these two countries dates back even further than the game of soccer itself. Scotland’s first game and first appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup is against their oldest foe: England. The last time these two teams faced off was at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017, which ended with a 6-0 victory for England.
When the two teams face off there will no doubt be residual sentiments from a 1972 match in which England beat their counterparts to the north in what was their first official women’s international match, before FIFA even allowed women to play in their organization.
France vs. Norway – Just like when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, these two teams have met on the field 10 times, yielding three wins per team and four draws.
While France may be favored to win over the 1995 champions from Scandinavia, Norway has never missed an appearance in the Women’s World Cup, unlike France, which has only made it three times.
France’s captain, Amandine Henry, could prove to be a serious match for Norway, however. The 29-year-old midfielder has won 11 French league titles, six French Cups and five UEFA Women’s Champions Leagues with Olympique Lyonnais, a team that is basically the Golden State Warriors of soccer.
Brazil vs. Argentina – While the two South American giants may not face each other on the field since they aren’t in the same group, this historic rivalry will be the obvious elephant in the room. Since the men’s teams first met in a 1914 friendly in Buenos Aires with Argentina winning the first match 3-0, the two countries have been about even when facing each other.
Since that fateful match, Brazil’s men’s team currently has a 39-37 win lead against Argentina and that feud will no doubt transfer over to the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. Team Brazil swept their rivals at the Copa America Femenina 2018, winning all seven of their matches while Argentina came in third.
Argentina will be celebrating their return to the international stage after a 12-year absence, and while the two teams may not meet, their fans certainly will. When they do, emotions certainly will run high.
Watch it on FOX
Watch the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on FOX beginning June 7.