The waiting is finally over. For all fans and followers of female football alike, the FIFA Women's World Cup is the pinnacle. But mostly so for the players, to whom it is the ultimate. Here are five reasons as to why France 2019 may just be the best yet.
The much-talked-about Video Assistant Referee (VAR) makes its first appearance at a global women's tournament. After a frustrating, but ultimately successful, debut at the 2018 Men's World Cup, the technology will be used to help referees with regards to goals, offside and penalties among others. Time is clearly the main issue with VAR, but ultimately getting to the correct decision matters more than anything else.
Four teams will be making their bows on the biggest stage in France. Chile, Jamaica, Scotland and South Africa will all add plenty of colour and sparkle to an already eagerly-anticipated tournament. One thing is for certain, they will be keen to leave their mark, and not simply make up the numbers.
In form players
As always, with any major tournament, there are a lot of players on whom an eager eye should be cast upon. This time around it is more difficult to choose from, but in particular the likes of Nikita Parris (all-time FA WSL top scorer), Vivianne Miedema, (PFA Player of The Year), Sam Kerr, (NWSL all-time record goalscorer), Alex Morgan (top female US Soccer player in 2018) and Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea's leading goal contributor last season) are ones to watch in France.
A multitude of favourites
As is also the case, when it comes to picking a winner, it is arguably the most difficult. The USA come into the tournament as record winners and defending champions from Canada 2015. Germany, the only team to successfully defend the Women's World Cup, regularly pose a threat. There will be added pressure on France, who as hosts have never made it beyond the quarter-finals but boast more players from Lyon than anyone else. And then of course, there is England, who will be hopeful of building on semi-final showings from Canada and Netherlands 2017. The likes of Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Sweden cannot be discounted either. All of which points a very open World Cup, much like any other.
History on the line
As if there wasn't already enough on French shoulders, there is the added extra of joining their male counterparts in becoming the first country to hold both the men's and women's World Cups. The Dutch are also looking to become only the second team to be continental and world champions (after Germany), whilst no English team has reached a major final in over half a century.
Excited? Hopefully, this has done enough if not already. Time to get France 2019 on the road. Let the games begin...