As the Women's World Cup gets ready to kick off this week (fuboTV (Try for free).and here), we come in with the expectations that all the usual powerhouses will make deep runs in the tournament. But that rarely ever happens and unbelievable runs are bound to occur. With that in mind, here are 10 bold predictions for this year's tournament, which is available streaming on
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1. An American will not win the Golden Boot
For all the firepower that the United States women's national team has, when the tournament comes to an end in July, it will be a player born outside of the U.S. that will win the Golden Boot award. Count on Australia's Sam Kerr. She is one of the best goalscorers in the world and should be able to take the Matildas deep into the tournament. She currently leads the NWSL in goals, scoring six goals in six matches, and has led the league in goals in 2017 and 2018.
2. Mallory Pugh becomes a household name
Mallory Pugh may not be starting for the United States when the tournament kicks off, but her name will be remembered when it is all said and done. The 21-year-old phenom will be a real difference maker for the United States. She has recorded 15 goals and 15 assists in 52 caps for the USWNT.
3. Norway will be the surprise team of the tournament
Norway is overshadowed by France in Group A, but this team is going to shock a lot of people. The best player in the country and possibly the world, Ada Hegerberg,due to her problems with the football association for inequality between the men and women's team. Even without Hegerberg, this team does not lack talent. Isabell Herlovsen is phenomenal near the net and should be able to carry a bulk of the offense. Goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth is one of the most capped players in the country's history and is a shot-stopper who could take this team deep into the tournament.
4. The U.S. will keep a clean sheet in the group stage
The United States is the top team in the world, according to the FIFA rankings. It plays in a relatively light group, facing Thailand, Chile and Sweden. Alyssa Naeher and the U.S. back line has held clean sheets in its last four matches and could keep the streak going in France.
5. Four teams finish the group stage with zero points
Teams like Nigeria, South Africa, Argentina, Cameroon and Thailand may struggle to secure a point in the group stage. No more than three times have ever finished the tournament without at least a draw.
6. Japan won't reach the semifinals
The runner-up in 2015 and champion in 2011, Japan is still one of the best teams in the world, but this squad is not playing its best soccer right now. It has only won one of its past six matches, including a 3-0 loss to England, which is in Group D with them.
7. VAR helps get a team eliminated
VAR had a big impact on the men's tournament in 2018, awarding nine penalty kicks and it will have a huge. This tournament will not only have the most penalty kicks in the tournament's history, but will also be the cause of a team's elimination in the knockout stage.
8. France, the hosts, will get to the championship match
France has a lot of things going its way: home-field and fan advantage, a relatively weak group, one of the best players in the world in Amandine Henry and seven players who play for the best women's club in the world (Lyon). The only other team to make the final as the host country was the United States in 1999, when Brandi Chastain's penalty kick won the tournament for the U.S.
9. Brazilian star Marta goes scoreless
Brazil superstar Marta is the all-time leading goalscorer in Women's World Cup history, scoring 15 goals over four tournaments, including winning the Golden Ball in 2007. But the 33-year-old has struggled in the NWSL this season, scoring zero goals in six matches for the Orlando Pride.
10. USA will have 10 different find the back of the net
This U.S. team is so deep, especially on the attacking end. Up top, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath will likely be the starters. Mallory Pugh, Carli Lloyd and Christen Press can come off the bench and score. Other players who have a good chance of scoring are Crystal Dunn, Sam Mewis, Julie Ertz, Rachel Lavelle and Lindsay Horan. No team has had 10 goalscorers since Germany in 2003.