Women's World Cup: Who's playing? Who's the favourite to win - plus fun facts

Fifa Women's World Cup
Host nation: France Dates: 7 June - 7 July 2019
Coverage: Live across BBC TV and Red Button, Radio 5 Live & Sports Extra and the BBC Sport website & App

The Fifa Women's World Cup starts on Friday so it's time to swot up on your knowledge of the competition.

Whether you're new to the world of women's football, on the hunt for a second team, or a die-hard fan looking for the quirkiest facts to share with your mates - keep this guide handy and you won't go wrong.

The tournament, held in France, runs from 7 June to 7 July and there is full coverage across the BBC.

Argentina

Argentina celebrate reaching the World Cup finals
Argentina are 500-1 outsiders to win the tournament

Form: They're definitely underdogs in Group D against England, Scotland and Japan. They've lost all six World Cup matches they've played in.

Stat: If goal difference is factored in, they finished last at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and have scored as many goals as they've had red cards (two).

Fact: They've overcome huge adversity. They qualified for France despite a two-year period with no games, no coach and no world ranking, as they battled with their own FA over equality.

Australia

Australia celebrate scoring
Sam Kerr (right) is rated higher on Fifa 19 than Liverpool's Mohamed Salah

Form: They've reached the quarter-finals at the past three World Cups and are an outside bet for the trophy.

Stat: Their captain and striker Sam Kerr is one to watch. At 25, she's the all-time top goalscorer in the American NSWL and Australia's W-League. She's the highest-rated female player on Fifa 19.

Fact: At 16 years old, Matildas forward Mary Fowler is the youngest player at the World Cup.

Brazil

Brazil's Formiga celebrates
Formiga, 41, made her World Cup debut in 1995

Form: They were once runners-up, but they've dropped from third to 10th in the rankings and come into the World Cup having lost nine consecutive games.

Stat: Marta is their most high-profile player. She's the World Cup's all-time top scorer with 15 and was named world player of the year for the sixth time in September.

Fact: Brazil's formidable trio of Formiga, Marta and Cristiane have a combined age of 108. And at 41, Formiga is set to become the first player - male or female - to feature at seven World Cups.

Cameroon

Cameroon fans at Canada 2015
Cameroon made their World Cup debut in 2015

Form: They were the surprise package in Canada four years ago as the only African team to make it to the knockouts. They'll do well to match that in France.

Stat: They've lost only two of their past 14 matches at major tournaments in normal time.

Fact: They have arguably the strongest-sounding nickname at the tournament: the Indomitable Lionesses.

Canada

Christine Sinclair
Will Christine Sinclair become the world's most prolific goalscorer in France?

Form: They were quarter-finalists on home soil in 2015, they won bronze at the Olympics a year later and coming into the tournament in France they've gone nine games unbeaten. They're outsiders for the trophy.

Stat: Captain Christine Sinclair is only four away from becoming the all-time top goalscorer - male or female - in international football. She has 181 goals for her country.

Fact: Sinclair has more caps (282) than the entire Jamaica squad put together.

Chile

Javiera Grez
Javiera Grez is over a foot shorter than France captain Wendie Renard

Form: After failing to reach the last World Cup, the Chile women's team was disbanded and didn't play for 981 days. They're now back in the world's top 40, but are the underdogs in Group F.

Stat: They have named an uncapped 17-year-old in their squad. Elisa Duran made the cut ahead of Fernanda Pinilla, who is also president of the National Association of Female Football Players in Chile.

Fact: Teenage forward Javiera Grez is the only player at the World Cup under five feet tall. She comes in at 4ft 10ins.

China

China celebrate
China were the first team to get through qualification for the World Cup in France

Form: They're two-time hosts and 1999 losing finalists, as well as pioneers of the women's game. China are expected to reach the knockouts but are unlikely to get their hands on silverware.

Stat: Wang Shanshan started out as a defender, then played as a number nine, and now she's generally used in midfield. And she once came on as a 56th-minute sub and scored nine goals.

Fact: Wang Shuang is nicknamed 'Lady Messi' because of her grace and skill, but her hero is actually Cristiano Ronaldo.

England

England celebrate winning bronze in Canada
England came home with the bronze medal from Canada in 2015

Form: The Lionesses finished third at the last World Cup and, now ranked third in the world, are among the favourites to win the tournament.

Stat: Karen Carney is the longest-serving player in the squad, having made her debut 14 years ago. She's played in 32 games at major tournaments - more than any other England player, male or female.

Fact: Leah Williamson, the 22-year-old midfielder, is training to be an accountant while defender Abbie McManus used to be Manchester City's kit-woman before signing for them when they turned professional.

France

Eugenie Le Sommer
Eugenie le Sommer celebrated her 30th birthday and her sixth Champions League victory last month

Form: France have never got past the quarter-finals but the hosts have lost just once in two years, so they are one of the favourites.

Stat: Eugenie le Sommer is one of seven Lyon players in the France squad. The forward has scored 73 goals in 156 games and has won six Champions League titles with her club.

Fact: Defender Wendie Renard is the tallest player at the tournament, standing at 6ft 1in.

Germany

Germany women celebrate
Germany's kit is a throwback to the classic shirts worn for the 1989 and 1991 women's European competitions

Form: Twice winners, Germany have not made it all the way to the the final at the last two World Cups, but are unbeaten in 13 matches coming into this tournament.

Stat: Coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has picked nine members of the squad that won Olympic gold in Rio in 2016, including Dzsenifer Marozsan, who scored in that match and is considered one of the best midfielders in the world.

Fact: Their squad announcement video, which involved the players highlighting the struggles they have faced in the women's game, went viral on social media last month and has had over three million views.

Italy

Sara Gama
Juventus and Italy's Sara Gama posing with the Barbie doll modelled on her

Form: This is the first time they've reached the World Cup in 20 years but after sailing through qualifying, they are tipped by many to make it into the knockouts.

Stat: Italy's AC Milan duo Valentina Giacinti and Daniela Sabatini were the two leading scorers in Serie A last season with 38 goals between them.

Fact: You can buy captain Sara Gama in Barbie doll form. She was honoured as part of a 'Sheroes' range after publicly supporting equality and diversity.

Jamaica

Bob Marley and daughter Cedella Marley
Cedella Marley (right) is the daughter of Bob Marley and has helped fund the Jamaica national team

Form: Jamaica are World Cup debutants and the lowest-ranked side but their coach is confident of them reaching the knockout stages.

Stat: Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw, a graduate from the University of Tennessee, scored 19 goals in 12 qualifiers and has the best goals-per-game ratio of any players at the World Cup.

Fact: The national team restarted in 2014 after a four-year break, thanks to ambassador and sponsor Cedella Marley, who is the daughter of legendary musician Bob.

Japan

Japan celebrate winning the 2011 World Cup
Japan were winners on German soil in 2011

Form: The 2011 winners are aiming to become the first side to reach three consecutive Women's World Cup finals, and will probably battle for top spot in Group D with England.

Stat: They've got a young team - 14 are under the age of 24 and there are two teenagers.

Fact: Ten of the squad members are team-mates at Nippon TV Beleza in Japan's top flight.

New Zealand

New Zealand score against England
New Zealand beat England in the Lionesses' final friendly before the World Cup

Form: New Zealand were the final team to qualify and scored 43 goals on their way to France, but have finished bottom of the group stages at four previous World Cups.

Stat: Ali Riley and Abby Erceg have played every minute of New Zealand's past nine World Cup finals games, dating back to 2007, but are yet to win any of them.

Fact: Twelve players quit the squad last year following accusations of bullying against coach Andreas Heraf. He has since been replaced by Glasgow-born Tom Sermanni.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands celebrate winning Euro 2017
The Netherlands won Euro 2017 on home soil

Form: The reigning European champions are among the favourites in France, even though they needed to come through the play-offs to reach the finals.

Stat: Vivianne Miedema finished top scorer in the Women's Super League for Arsenal and won the PFA player of the year award. At just 22 she already has 75 caps for her country.

Fact: Miedema is also a co-author of a series of comics.

Nigeria

Nigeria's Rasheedat Ajibade
Nigeria's Rasheedat Ajibade plays her club football in Norway

Form: Nigeria have appeared at every Women's World Cup but have only made it out of the group stage once and they've been placed alongside hosts France this time round.

Stat: Nigeria have lost a record 16 World Cup matches and conceded 56 goals. But you can expect attacking play as they've named 10 forwards in their squad.

Fact: Their 19-year-old forward Rasheedat Ajibade is the reigning Nigeria freestyle champion.

Norway

Caroline Graham Hansen and Wolfsburg celebrate
Caroline Graham Hansen (left) won the German title with Wolfsburg and celebrated in style

Form: They won it in 1995 and have qualified for every tournament, but this Norway team are unlikely to make a huge impact.

Stat: Winger Caroline Graham Hansen made her Norway debut at 16 and now, at just 24, has over 70 caps

Fact: Two years on from Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg quitting the team over equality issues, the Norwegian FA and the nation's players' association have a historic equal pay agreement, which has seen the amount paid to the women's team double to 6m krone (£574,540).

Scotland

Claire Emslie's mural
Claire Emslie reacted to her face appearing on an arts studio in Edinburgh

Form: Scotland, making their World Cup debut, have a tough task of getting out of Group D. But they are on good form, unbeaten in their past five matches.

Stat: Midfielder and vice-captain Kim Little has won domestic trophies on three continents, with Hibernian, Seattle Reign, Melbourne City and, most recently, Arsenal.

Fact: The face of forward Claire Emslie has been immortalised on a mural on the side of The Biscuit Factory, an art and studio venue in Leith.

Sweden

Sweden's national kit promotion
Sweden's kit will be one of the stand-outs in France for its positive message

Form: The 2003 runners-up are ranked ninth in the world but have claimed just two wins at their past three major tournaments. However, they are expected get out of Group F.

Stat: Midfielder Caroline Seger has been Sweden captain for 10 years, while defender Nilla Fischer, also 34, is playing at her fourth World Cup.

Fact: Sweden's kit incorporates a collage of some of the nation's female role models in the shirt numbers

South Africa

Desiree Ellis
South Africa boss Desiree Ellis used to manage Tottenham Ladies

Form: South Africa are one of four nations making their debut in France and face a tough task getting out of Group B against Germany, Spain and China.

Stat: Striker Thembi Kgatlana was named the best player in Africa in 2018 and won the golden boot at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Fact: Manager Desiree Ellis was one of the founding members of South Africa's women's team. She worked in a meat-packing market making spices while pursuing football.

South Korea

South Korea
South Korea finished second in their group in 2015 before going out against France

Form: South Korea made the knockout stages in 2015 but they have won just one match in seven attempts at a World Cup and they made it through qualifying on goal difference.

Stat: Forward Ji So-yun became the country's youngest goalscorer at the age of 15 in 2006. She is now their all-time top scorer and has won both the Player's Player and PFA Player of the Year at Chelsea

Fact: Over 40,000 people turned up to watch South Korea play North Korea in Pyongyang, a game that ended 1-1.

Spain

Jorge Vilda
Jorge Vilda was named the best Fifa Women's Coach in 2018

Form: Spain went unbeaten in 2018 - and have a 100% record in qualifying - but they then came unstuck against bigger nations like England and the USA. Even so, they should make it into the knockouts for the first time.

Stat: Atletico Madrid's Jennifer Hermoso won the golden boot in Spain's top flight, as they picked up the league title. She scored seven times and created nine assists in qualifying.

Fact: At 37, Spain boss Jorge Vilda is the youngest manager at the tournament. He turns 38 on the day of the final.

Thailand

Thailand's 2015 team
At the time of Thailand's World Cup debut in 2015, only around 1,000 women in the country played football

Form: Back in 2015 they lost 4-0 against Germany and Norway in the group stages. This time round they have holders the USA up first. They're not expected to make the knockouts.

Stat: Striker Orathai Srimanee is the only member of the Thailand squad who has scored a goal at a World Cup.

Fact: The team are nicknamed Chaba Kaew after the pink female elephant of the same name in the Thai animated family film Khan Kluay.

USA

USA win the World Cup
The USA won 5-2 against Japan in the 2015 World Cup final

Form: They're the defending champions, the world's top-ranked side and are among the favourites to win it again. The Americans have never finished lower than third at a World Cup.

Stat: The USA have never lost a game when Alex Morgan has scored. The 29-year-old Orlando Pride striker has 101 goals in 163 games.

Fact: The team's faces were plastered across New York and LA as part of Nike's advertising campaign last month. They featured on billboards, advertising hoardings, and even stretching across the faces of entire buildings.

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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