Women's World Cup Group C: Will Spain's Hangover Knock Them Off Course?

Spain face Japan in the big clash of Group C
07:00, 11 Jul 2023

World Cup fever is starting to build and to get you in the mood for the tournament Down Under, we are bringing you a preview of each group. Next up, Group C, which features a Spanish outfit who are not in the best shape heading to Australia. 

Group C:



Costa Rica


All eyes will be on Spain in Group C as La Roja’s preparation has been less than smooth on their way to this tournament. In autumn, 15 players sent letters to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) explaining that they were removing themselves from selection if Jorge Villa remained as head coach. 

Fast forward nine months and he still remains in charge, as the Royal Spanish Football Federation stuck by their man. Those players included big names such as Ona Batlle, Laia Aleixandri and six Barcelona players. Even Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas offered her support at the time, although she did not send a letter as she was injured. 


Since then things have calmed slightly. Batlle and Aitana Bonmati have returned to the squad, while other supporters such as Jennifer Hermoso and Irene Paredes are also back in the fold. Pitelas will be the star name at this World Cup for Spain having missed the Euros through injury and let’s not forget, it was Spain who came the closest to beating eventual champions England in that tournament - losing 2-1 in extra-time in the quarters. But whether they can overcome these obstacles will determine whether or no they can be successful this summer.

Women's World Cup odds*

They have a kind group, but 2011 world champion Japan will have their eyes on winning it. Manager Futoshi Ikeda has started from scratch after a poor 2019 showing and got rid of 30-year-old Arsenal forward Iwabuchi Mana from his plans, despite her being the country’s third top scorer of all time. Instead he has once again leant of youth. 19-year-old Chelsea forward Hamano Maika should be an exciting addition while Tanaka Mina should be their main goal threat. Japan are exciting, but this is a new generation to look out for. With Spain’s uncertainty, the 7/2 for them to win the group with Betfred looks worthwhile.

The other two nations are complete underdogs. Costa Rica are ranked 36th in the world and have only won one of their last 14 matches, which is a worry given the strength of the teams they are coming up against here. Having only appeared at the 2015 tournament before (where they secured a historic 1-1 draw with Spain) getting their first World Cup win would be a seismic achievement. 

Meanwhile Zambia are the lowest ranked team at the tournament - 77th in the world - and qualification in itself is an outstanding achievement. They’ve become the first landlocked African nation, male or female, to qualify for a World Cup. They finished third at last year’s AFCON, their best ever result, and captain Barbra Banda, currently playing in China, is their big name to look out for. 

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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