In our latest Women's World Cup group preview, we are going to look at Group D – the one that all English football fans will be keeping a close eye on this summer. As European Champions, the Lionesses come into the tournament as one of the favourites but they aren't going to have a particularly easy time of it in Group D with a couple of banana skins on the fixture list.
Who is in Group D?
The four teams in Group D are:
What are the Group D fixtures?
- 22/07/2023 – England vs Haiti
- 22/07/2023 – Denmark vs China
- 28/07/2023 – England v Denmark
- 28/07/2023 – China vs Haiti
- 01/08/2023 – China vs England
- 01/08/2023 – Haiti vs Denmark
Group D preview
Given the fact that England are in Group D, the scrutiny and focus on this group will be harsher and more intense than any other. The Lionesses won the European Championships last summer for the first time in their history and they will have their eyes set on securing a historic double at the World Cup.
Sarina Wiegman has had to deal with several injury blows in the build-up to the World Cup and she will have to do without Beth Mead who has been ruled out after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament last season. If that wasn't bad enough, England are also set to be without Leah Williamson, meaning England will have to navigate their way through the World Cup without their Euros top goalscorer and their captain.
Who will step in as @Lionesses captain with both their captains missing with injuries? 🤔🏴
— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) July 11, 2023
Despite that, England still have plenty of star power in their squad and should still perform well in Group D. Bizarelly enough, the player who started at left-back during their Euros campaign, Rachel Daly, looks set to be the side's main striker and for good reason, too. The 31-year-old played up front for Aston Villa last season and netted 22 goals in the Super League, enough to secure her the golden boot.
The build-up to the World Cup could perhaps have gone better for the Lionesses, however, which has sparked some concern among their supporters. They lost 2-0 at home to Australia back in April and then played out a bore draw with Portugal ten days ago. Their attacking play may have gone a bit stale and so will be keen for a quick start against Haiti in their opening match.
Although England are firm favourites to top the group, Denmark and China are both more than capable of springing a surprise in Group D. Denmark are currently ranked 13th in the world which is high for a side that came into the group from pot three. This World Cup represents a swansong for manager, Lars Sondergaard, who is stepping down after the summer and his players will be desperate to give him a good send-off.
One major boost for the Danes is the return of their captain, Pernille Harder, who was out for the majority of last season. Harder has been a key part of the Chelsea winning machine in recent years and played an important role in the FA Cup final at the end of last season, coming off the bench to wrestle back control of the match just as Manchester United had got on top.
China, on the other hand, are a team who are perhaps lacking in star power. Other than ex-PSG star, Wang Shuang, the majority of their squad play in China – a league that has been heavily disrupted in recent years due to the COVID pandemic. They are team renowned for being dogged in defence, so could make life difficult for England and Denmark in this Group D.
The final team in the group, Haiti, are a side that should be immensely proud just to be there. In many ways, qualifying for the tournament is as big an achievement for them as winning it would be for other sides, especially when you consider the size of the country and the fact they have never made it to the finals before.
Group D odds
- England to win Group D – 1/12
- Denmark to win Group D – 13/2
- China to win Group D – 33/1
- Haiti to win Group D – 100/1
Group D prediction
In terms of pre-tournament predictions, we believe that England should have more than enough to come out of this group as winners despite their ropey preparations. The fact they are being eased into the tournament by playing Haiti in the first game should do wonders for their confidence before facing Denmark and China. In regards to who will join the Lionesses in the knockout rounds, we'd edge it to Denmark due to the extra quality they possess in their ranks but you'd be foolish to completely rule out China.