Starting with the 2002 maiden edition hosted in Canada, the 2018 edition in France will be the 9thedition of the junior cadet of Women football organised by FIFA.
The 16 participating countries that will be converging in France from 5th – 24th August for the competition are seeded into four groups for the 2018 World Cup.
Host nation, France, Ghana, New Zealand, and Netherlands are drawn together in Group A. Of the foursome, only France have been able to reach the final, at the 2016 edition- the 8th in the series. France got to the finals but were beaten 3-1 by North Korea.
This was after they could not make it out of the preliminaries in 2002 but reached the last eight, and fought respectively in both in 2006 and 2008 events.
They dropped off in the preliminaries in 2010 and emerged 3rd and 2ndrespectively.
Ghana and the Netherlands have gotten to the final except for New Zealand who got to the quarter finals in 2014.
The Le Bleuets of France who lost to North Korea in the last edition in 2016, hosted by Papua New Guinea will bank on their home advantage to avenge their loss but will face the hurdles of confronting strong African side, the Black Princesses , New Zealand and Netherlands.
Brazil,one of the most successful countries in the Championship so far lead with nine points, coming 4th, 4th, and 3rd positions in 2002, 2004, 2006 respectively, while North Korea emerged winners in 2006, 2nd in 2008 and 4thin 2014, England managed to reach the quarter finals in 2002 and 2008, leaving Mexico getting to the quarter finals in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
The defending champions, North Korea will be looking forward to retaining the trophy but will face an uphill task against the Young Lionesses of England, Mexico and Brazil in group B.
The power house of women football, United States will be aiming to reclaim their lost glory for a record of winning the tournament for the fourth time, having won the maiden edition 2002, 2008 and 2012 but will have to contend with a resilient Asian giant, Japan, Paraguay and Spain.
USA leading with nine points has featured in all the games starting from winning the trophy in 2002, coming 3rd, 4th, 1st,1st , 4st in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2016 respectively, while out of all the group, Japan managed to reach the 3rdposition both in 2012 and 2016.
Common foes, Nigeria and Germany are seeded in the group of “death , the duo last met in 2014 U-20 World Cup hosted in Canada, where Germany defeated Nigeria 1-0 to emerge winners of the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup. The two teams also battle Haiti and China.
Nigeria having emerged 2nd position in 2010 and 2014 against Germany who came 1st position in 2010, 2014 against Nigeria. Haiti is the only inexperienced team in the group having never featured in the tournament since inception. While other group opponents, China came 2nd in 2004 and 2006.