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Soccer’s Women’s World Cup: What you need to know

Abby Wambach leads the United States into the Women’s World Cup, which begins Saturday. The U.S. plays Monday against Australia.
Abby Wambach leads the United States into the Women’s World Cup, which begins Saturday. The U.S. plays Monday against Australia. Getty Images

The FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off Saturday when host Canada faces China in an opening-round game in Edmonton (Fox Sports 1).

The United States is among the favorites to win the game’s biggest trophy for the third time – but first since 1999 – along with Germany, Brazil and France. Here are five things to know about the World Cup:

When does the U.S. play?

The Americans’ Group D is perhaps the tournament’s toughest and gets the nod as the “Group of Death.” The United States’ first game is Monday against Australia at 7:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with other group games against Sweden next Friday in Winnipeg, and June 16 against Nigeria in Vancouver.

How does the U.S. stack up?

The United States is ranked second in the FIFA rankings, behind Germany, and is still smarting from a runner-up finish in the 2011 World Cup to Japan. The Americans feature two of the top players in the world in Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, along with goalkeeper Hope Solo. The Americans want to win Group D, because the runner-up of the group will play the winner of Group E – likely Brazil – in the round of 16.

Who are some other players to watch for?

In addition to the America stars, Brazil’s incomparable Marta returns to try win another World Cup (Brazil won in 2007). Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala is only 20, and brings a combination of power, speed and physicality that’s rare in the women’s game. Japan’s Homare Sawa, 36, is playing in her sixth World Cup.

Where is it on TV?

All 52 games will be on Fox networks, including 16 on Fox’s main channel. That includes the semifinals, third-place game and final (July 5). Other matches will be on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2.

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