Women's World Cup: kick-off imminent
The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off on Friday when France entertain South Korea at the Parc des Princes.
France will host the best 24 nations as they challenge for the right to succeed the USA. The group stage, with six groups of four, will take place between 7 and 20 June with the top two going through to the last 16 as well as the four best third-placed teams. The knockout stage starts on 22 June, going through to the 7 July final in Lyon. Fifty-two matches across nine cities will be played: Grenoble, Reims, Valenciennes, Le Havre, Montpellier, Rennes, Nice, Lyon and Paris where the Parc des Princes will stage the opening game.
Among the 552 players in France to represent their nations are 11 Parisians: Eve Perisset, Grace Geyoro and Kadidiatou Diani with France. Two new signings, Germany's Sara Däbritz and Canada's Jordyn Huitema (who'll play alongside Ashley Lawrence) will feature for their countries on French soil even before they pull on the iconic Rouge-et-Bleu shirt.
Däbritz will actually face two of her new club teammates in the first round: China's Wang Shuang on 8 June and Spain's Irene Paredes four days later. The latter duo will face each other in Le Havre on 17 June. At the same time, Hanna Glas and Sweden will play Christiane Endler's Chile on 11 June as the South American nation makes its debut in the competition.
Brazil's Formiga can make history: if she plays, the 41-year-old midfielder will break the record set by Christie Rampone, who was 40 years and 11 days old when she featured in the 2015 final between the USA and Japan. She'll become the competition's oldest-ever player and the first to have played in seven World Cups having made her tournament bow in Sweden in 1995 aged just 17.