European champions England Women will begin their quest for World Cup glory when they take on Haiti Women at Brisbane Stadium on Saturday morning (10.30).
England are making their fifth World Cup appearance, while Haiti are making their first appearance on the global stage.
The Lionesses failed to make it past the quarter-final stage in their first three World Cup appearances, before going to reach the last four in the previous two editions of the tournament, so they will be hoping to go a step further here.
Haiti, meanwhile, had to go through the playoffs to qualify for the Women’s World Cup for the first time in their history, beating Chile in the final to book their ticket to Australia and New Zealand.
England head into the tournament without a number of big-name players, with captain Leah Williamson, Fran Kirby and Beth Mead all ruled out through injury.
The Lionesses centre-back Millie Bright hasn’t played any football since March, so her minutes need to be managed, making her a doubt for this game.
As for Haiti, their undisputed star is midfielder Melchie Dumornay, who scored both goals in the playoff final win over Chile.
Roselord Borgella will look to lead the line for country in their first-ever appearance at a World Cup, while Kerly Theus is expected to start between the sticks.
Rachel Daly to be first goalscorer @ 11/4
Daly has been prolific in the Women’s Super League last season, scoring 22 goals in 22 games to win the golden boot and equal Vivianne Miedama’s record for most goals in a single season.
In addition, her run of nine goals in her last five Aston Villa games bring her into this World Cup on red-hot form.
Though some will remember her as a left-back from England’s Euro 2022-winning campaign, she has been every inch an attacker this term and given she lashed multiples against Tottenham, Manchester United and Reading in April and May, she will fancy her chances against the world’s 53rd-ranked team.
Melchie Dumornay to score at anytime @ 10/1
For all the expectation that England will rack up the goals here, it’s important to remember the potential Achilles’ heel for the Lionesses – the defence.
Captain Leah Williamson and stand-in skipper Millie Bright are both on the treatment table, and Haiti have scored in seven of their last eight matches, suggesting they have a goal in them here.
Melchie Dumornay is Haiti’s key player, and the Reims forward has recently joined French champions Lyon, and netted five goals in her last three league games to close out the campaign.
With England’s injury woes at the back, it could be worth backing the midfielder to bag here at 10/1.