England’s women have variously been offered opportunities for revenge, the reassertion of neighbourly bragging rights and a chance to put a historical enemy in their place in France next June.
The draw for the group stage of the 2019 World Cup has paired Phil Neville’s Lionesses with Japan, Scotland and Argentina for games which will transport them from Nice to Le Havre and back to the French Riviera again.
Given Japan narrowly defeated England in the semi-finals of Canada 2015 before losing to the USA in the final and Shelley Kerr’s Scotland are fast improving it looks a tricky group.
That said, a woefully under-resourced Argentina are arguably the weakest team to have qualified for the tournament and should hold no fears for Fran Kirby, Steph Houghton, Jodie Taylor and co.
2019 Women’s World Cup draw
*Group A* France, South Korea, Norway, Nigeria
*Group B* Germany, China, Spain, South Africa
*Group C* Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica
*Group D* England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan
*Group E* Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, the Netherlands
*Group F* United States, Thailand, Chile, Sweden