Women’s World Cup Group C preview

World Cups are all about bringing the best footballers on the planet together and Group C at the Women's World Cup is set to do exactly that. Four top teams are set to do battle in one of the toughest groups at the tournament and the reigning Ballon d'Or winner will be at the heart of it all. Only two teams can qualify for the knockout rounds, though, which means every match played in Group C will feel like a final.

Who is in Group C?

The four teams in Group B are:

  • Costa Rica
  • Japan
  • Spain
  • Zambia

What are the Group C fixtures?

  • 21/07/2023 – Spain vs Costa Rica
  • 22/07/2023 – Zambia vs Japan
  • 26/07/2023 – Japan vs Costa Rica
  • 26/07/2023 – Spain vs Zambia
  • 31/07/2023 – Japan vs Spain
  • 31/07/2023 – Costa Rica vs Zambia

Group C preview

The headline team in Group C at the Women's World Cup is unquestionably Spain for a variety of reasons. While Spain have an abundance of talent in their ranks, they are also shrouded in controversy thanks in large to their manager, Jorge Vilda, who completely lost the faith of his players last summer after their quarter-final exit to England in the European Championships.

Following that loss, 15 members of the Spanish squad publicly announced that they no longer wanted to be selected for the national team while Vilda was still the man in charge. Incredibly, the Spanish Football Federation decided to back Vilda over the players and he has remained in charge of the team ever since.

Although several players have since gone back on their decision to decline call-ups, there are still some notable players who aren't in the Spanish squad for the World Cup who otherwise would be, including Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro. Thankfully for Spain, though, they have been able to call on the services of Alexia Putellas – the Barcelona midfielder has won the Ballon d'Or the last two years and will be central to Spain's hopes of progressing past the round of 16 of a World Cup for the first time history.

The second-best team in Group C on paper is Japan who are currently ranked 11th in the official FIFA world rankings. In recent years, Japan have enjoyed great success at World Cups and were famously crowned as world champions back in 2011. They followed that up with another World Cup final appearance four years later but crashed out in the round of 16 in 2019.

That exit sparked a rebuild under Futoshi Ikeda who is looking to blood some young talent in Australia and New Zealand this summer. Although Japan aren't being tipped to win the tournament, they could be a side to keep an eye on given that Ikeda has selected nine players under the age of 24 in his squad.

The other two teams in Group C aren't being given much of a chance this summer but those people could look foolish in a couple of weeks given the recent performances of Zambia and Costa Rica. Zambia shocked the world against Germany just three days ago when they beat them 3-2 and there is no reason why they can't repeat that performance against Japan and/or Spain. Meanwhile, Costa Rica came fourth in the CONCACAF W-Championship last year, showing they won't be pushovers this summer.

Group C is aligned with Group A meaning that whoever progresses from this group will likely face either Norway, Switzerland or co-hosts, New Zealand in the round of 16.

Group C odds

  • Spain to win Group C – 2/9
  • Japan to win Group C – 3/1
  • Zambia to win Group C – 40/1
  • Costa Rica to win Group C – 250/1

Group C prediction

Given the fact Group C contains two teams ranked inside the top 11 in the world, it seems fairly safe as far as World Cup predictions go to say that Spain and Japan will qualify from the group. However, Zambia's victory over Germany three days ago has put a spanner in the works, and if Spain's toxic culture rears its head again or if Japan's lack of experience proves problematic, then they could spring a surprise.

Andy is a freelance Sports Journalist with ten years of experience covering football in the United Kingdom and abroad for various publications including the Manchester Evening News, UtdReport and Football Whispers. Andy also has a keen interest in basketball, cricket, golf and tennis and has covered major sporting events such as the Masters in Augusta.