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1. Starting on Friday, June 7, 24 teams representing their countries will take the field in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. Team U.S.A is the defending champion and they’re the favorite this year as well. Watch out for Germany which is also a strong contender. Games will be played in nine picturesque host cities - Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Paris, Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes. WINE, CHEESE AND SOCCER
2. Jamaica is the first Caribbean team to qualify for the Women’s World Cup. The team, known as the “Reggae Girlz,” was all but dismantled three years ago. With the help of Bob Marley’s daughter and the Bob Marley Foundation, the team will play in their first World Cup. Keep an eye on their star player Bunny Shaw. REDEMPTION SONG
3. Equal pay has been a huge point of contention in women’s soccer. Luna Bar has stepped in to pay the difference between the U.S. Men's and Women's World Cup bonuses ($31,250) and Adidas announced that their sponsored female athletes will receive the same bonuses as their male counterparts.
This year’s winning team will return home $4 million richer, with over $30 million in prize money being handed out. For comparison, the prize money for the 2018 Men's World Cup was $400 million, with winners France taking home $38 million. (Note - the U.S. Men’s team did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup). NOT QUITE THERE YET
4. And because passion is so important, a chicken with "a passion for life and football (i.e. soccer)" named Ettie is the World Cup’s mascot. In case you thought they looked alike, yes Ettie is the daughter of the 1998 Men’s World Cup mascot. WHO YOU CALLING CHICKEN?
5. Instant gratification is coming to the World Cup. For the first time ever, the referees will have access to instant replay. (It was first used in the men’s tournament last year). YOU’RE ON CANDID CAMERA