Group C in the Women’s World Cup could be one of the closest-fought ahead of the tournament starting on Friday night.
Australia, Brazil, Italy and Jamaica will battle it out for a place in the last 16, with the top two going through automatically whilst the team finishing third could also progress if they are one of the four best such sides.
888Sport make Australia 9/10 (1.90) favourites to win Group C. The Matildas, led by star forward Sam Kerr, are ranked sixth in the world and warmed up for the tournament by lifting the Cup of Nations back in March.
Australia - now led by Ante Milicic - have progressed past to the quarter-finals in the last three World Cups but are yet to win their group, and will have their eyes set on topping Group C as well as reaching the latter stages of the tournament.
Their main rivals, at least according to the bookmakers, are Brazil, who can be backed at 6/4 (2.50) but are coming into the World Cup in the worst possible form.
Oswaldo Alvarez’s side have lost their last nine matches, including all three at the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year, and went down 3-1 to Australia in last July’s Tournament of Nations, so could struggle to even get out of Group C.
Those nine losses have seen Brazil score just five goals whilst conceding 18, making their world ranking of 10th seem quite generous and are probably worth avoiding in any outright markets.
Instead, Italy could be worth backing at 7/10 (1.70) to finish in the top two. They will certainly have their work cut out to beat Australia, with 888Sport going 4/1 (5.0) on that outcome, but the Italians should not be written off.
Milena Bertolini’s women are ranked 15th in the world and won seven of their eight qualifying matches to reach France, scoring 42 times in the process, and will hope to expose Australia’s leaky defence that conceded eight times across their last two friendlies.
Finally, Jamaica go into the tournament as the lowest-ranked team at 53rd in the official rankings, and will not have much in the way of expectation on their shoulders in France.
The 30/1 (31.0) price on them to win Group C, as well as the 7/1 (8.0) on a top two finish, is reflective of that, and the fact they are 19/1 (25.0) to beat Brazil on Sunday shows how unlikely it is that they will come away from France with even a point.