The U.S. national team, as the world’s top-ranked team and the defending champion, enters the World Cup with a target on its back. Who else could lift the trophy in Lyon, France, come July 7? Here are three top contenders.


Midfielder Amandine Henry hopes to lead France to a World Cup win on home soil. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

France

The premier women’s soccer powerhouse to have not yet won a World Cup, Les Bleus know they won’t get a better chance than this summer on home turf. Can France become the first nation to simultaneously hold the women’s and men’s World Cups? Amandine Henry and Eugenie Le Sommer and Co. could make it happen.

[Rising U.S. star Mallory Pugh is ready for the World Cup stage]


Australia forward Sam Kerr is a two-time winner of the NWSL scoring crown. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Australia

The Matildas have held their own against elite competition each of the past two summers, winning the 2017 Tournament of Nations and finishing second in that competition in 2018, only losing to the U.S. on a tiebreaker. With Sam Kerr, the leading scorer each of the past two NWSL seasons, Australia is always a threat.

[5 looming World Cup questions for the U.S. women’s national team]


Alexandra Popp is a key figure for 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Germany. (Philipp Guelland/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Germany

The 2015 World Cup semifinalists and 2016 Olympic gold medalists will match the U.S. with three World Cup titles if they win it all in France. Alexandra Popp and Dzsenifer Marozsán bring plenty of punch to the German attack, and Almuth Schult is one of the world’s top goalkeepers.