France will host this year's FIFA Women's World Cup from June 7 to July 7.
The eighth Women's World Cup begins in France tonight with the hosts kicking things off against South Korea in Paris. It will be the first of 52 games as 24 teams fight it out over the next month to reach the final in Lyon on July 7.
It has all the makings of being the best World Cup yet with almost one million tickets sold for the month-long tournament. The opening game at the Parc de Princes sold out within 48 hours of going on sale.
The games will be played across nine venues in Paris, Reims, Grenoble, Rennes, Nice, Lyon, Le Havre, Valenciennes, Montpellier.
A global TV audience of 750 million viewed the World Cup in Canada four years ago so figures this summer are expected to go well above that.
All 52 games will be available to watch on free-to-air TV in Ireland as RTE and TG4 will broadcast the games between them. VAR will also be used in the tournament for the first time.
There are six groups containing four teams. The top two from each group will advance to the last 16 and will be joined in the knockout stages by the four best third-placed teams.
Here are your groups for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019! 🇫🇷#FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/bz5ZghPZ1C
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) December 8, 2018
The USA are reigning champions and will bid to win the World Cup for a record fourth time. Hosts France have also been tipped to go far in the competition with so many Lyon players in the squad. The two could meet at the quarter-final stage if both win their groups as expected.
Phil Neville's England side will also be among the favourites along with Germany and the Netherlands, who are the European champions. A case could be made for 2011 winners Japan, Sweden, Canada and Australia.
One negative aspect of the tournament will be the absence of Ada Hegerberg, the winner of the Ballon d'Or. The Lyon striker stopped playing for Norway because she believes there has not been enough done for the women's game in Norway.