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FIFA Women's World Cup Primer

By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports

In the midst of the maelstrom currently surrounding the top executives at FIFA and their alleged corruption, one of their main events has gotten lost. The time for the Women's World Cup has cycled around again as our nation's best get set to take on the world in Canada. The US Women's National Team blew up in popularity in the last cycle when the likes of Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, and Hope Solo led the team to the finals where they fell to Japan in penalty kicks. The women are back again this time looking to win it all for the first time since 1999, and here's a quick overview of what you need to know before the US kicks off on June 8. 

Favorites To Win

The USWNT are the overwhelming favorites heading into the tournament with 11/5 odds to take home the golden statue. However, there will be some stiff competition for the Americans, here are the rest of the Top 10 favorites to win the World Cup. Odds courtesy of Bovada.  

USA 11/5

Germany 3/1

France 7/1

Brazil 15/2

Japan 9/1

Canada 12/1 

Sweden 14/1

England 22/1 

Norway 28/1

Australia 50/1

US Group

If you got into watching the World Cup with the men's team in 2014 you probably heard their group referred to many times as the "Group of Death" in the qualifying stage. Well, the women have found themselves in a similar situation. The US is currently ranked #2 in the world and they're joined in Group D by the #5 Swedes, #10 Australians, and #33 Nigerians as of the last FIFA rankings on March 27th. That's a tough slate facing the US team. 

US Schedule

Game 1: Monday June 8th- USA vs. Australia 7:30pm ET Fox Sports 1

Game 2: Friday June 12th- USA vs. Sweden 8 pm ET Fox Sports 1

Game 3: Tuesday June 16th- USA vs. Nigeria 8 pm ET Fox Sports 1

Key Players

One of the biggest questions for the casual fan around this time of year is who are the stars? Well, you're in luck. Most of the USA team is back as 13 players that were on the roster in 2011 are back this year.  Of those players, Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Christie Rampone, Megan Rapinoe, and Carli Lloyd are names you probably recognize. The point is there's plenty of experience on this team. Rampone and Wambach are the grizzled veterans expected to be playing in their final World Cup. In addition to those recognizable names, Sydney Leroux, Lauren Holiday, and Julie Johnston are all young players to watch as the US begins their quest. One more thing to know, Jill Ellis has replaced Pia Sundhage on the US sidelines but, the US will square off against their old coach in Game 2 as Sundhage is currently leading her home country of Sweden into this year's tournament. 

USA Outlook

So what's the outlook? Did I scare you with talk of the "group of death" and the world rankings? Well, again they are considered the favorites by Vegas and those guys tend to know what they're talking about. They're also the favorite to win their group at -300. That all said, they looked unimpressive in their send-off match last weekend drawing South Korea nil-nil. However, they were without both Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe in that match due to caution surrounding previous injuries. The US is considered the team to beat but Germany, Brazil, and Japan are all dangerous threats to their title hopes. 

Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that's where you'll find him. Agree/Disagree? Thoughts, comments, complaints? Email him. 

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