METUCHEN, NJ –The FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ begins tomorrow (Friday, June 7) as host nation France faces Korea Republic at 3:00 PM ET on FS1 from Parc des Princes in Paris. On the call for FOX Sports will be lead play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera and lead match analyst Aly Wagner. A one-hour edition of FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP LIVE at 2:00 PM ET previews the opening match. Dellacamera is the Connecticut Fusion Managing Director and will be following his team from overseas as they strive for a United Women’s Soccer (UWS) East Conference title. On top of tomorrow’s match, he will also be doing play-by-play on all three group stage matches for both England and the United States (Tuesday, June 11 @ 3:00 PM vs. Thailand, FOX).
JP was kind enough to do a quick Q&A prior to kicking off the festivities in France. For the full conversation, see below:
Not only are you returning to the broadcast booth for another WWC but for the first time since 1999, the USWNT are the defending champions as well. After their previous two championships, they finished in third place in the next WWC. What is it going to take for the U.S. to repeat? What will have to change from past tournaments?
For the U.S. to repeat as champions it will have to start on the defensive side where Alyssa Naeher enters her first major tournament as the number one goalkeeper. She has the talent and the overall experience to get the job done, but until you have been in that hot seat as the number one goalkeeper, there will always be questions. Not only is she the number one goalkeeper, but she steps into the large shoes of Hope Solo, and is playing for the top team in the world. From an offensive standpoint the team will rely on their big 3 in Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Tobin Heath. If opposing defenses find a way to stop this trio, then someone else will have to pick up the slack.
France is hosting the WWC this year and – alongside the USWNT – are favorites to win the tournament. Do you see them as serious contenders? Is there a “dark horse” team to look out for this year?
France is absolutely a serious contender to win it all. Biggest question is how they handle the pressure of being the host nation. Talent-wise they are as good as any team including the U.S. Eugenie Le Sommer leads a group of experienced players that include seven players from the best club team in the world – Lyon. The French come in riding a five-game winning streak and are not just scoring at a high rate, but defending very well too. As far as a dark horse goes, it depends on what is considered a dark horse. A lot of people are touting the Netherlands as one. I haven’t seen enough of them to make that claim. However, I don’t see any dark horse making a serious run at winning this tournament. While I think this could become the most exciting and most talked about WWC from a competitive standpoint, I believe that only four teams can win it. My four are the U.S., France, Germany, and England. If I were to deepen the pool, names like Canada, Australia, Japan, and Sweden would be added, but I don’t think any of these teams will be able to get to the final, let alone win it.
While you’re working in France, your Connecticut Fusion team will be striving to earn another shot at the East Conference title and a berth into the four-team UWS Championship. The Fusion made it to the East Final last season and currently are in first-place in the conference. Will your team take the next step this summer?
I was thrilled with what our team did last year as an expansion team in what was a very competitive eastern conference. The goal is to always improve and to top what you did in the previous year. Even though we were a first year team our goal was to make the playoffs. This year’s goal would be to win the conference and to get to the final four where anything can happen. So far so good, but we are not quite at the half way point in the schedule. I will follow our team as best I can from over here in France. Hoping to watch streaming feed either live or delay on the MyCujoo website. Even though I am a long way from home, I am in daily contact with our General Manager JP DiTommaso and our Head Coach Tom D’Agostino. The UWS is a very strong league, so we take nothing for granted. In this league you are not given easy points. No game is considered an automatic win.