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FIFA Women's World Cup: Now it begins...

Today marks the start of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015.

Hosts Canada kick-off the seventh edition of the tournament against China in Edmonton and with 24 sides vying for the trophy for the first time, this is sure to be the most competitive championship yet.

This year also marks the first in which goalline technology will be used, and the first time the event will be played on artificial turf.

Five of Manchester City Women's international stars have made the trip and ahead of the imminent curtain raiser, we thought we'd shed a little light on the tournament and its City links.

Brief history


The Women's World Cup is a quadrennial competition, featuring senior women's teams who are members of FIFA.

The inaugural competition took place in China in 1991 - 61 years after the men's maiden competition - and saw just 12 teams compete. Inspired by striker Michelle Akers, the USA would claim the crown, defeating Norway in the final.

Four years later, the Norwegians would bounce back from that setback by lifting the trophy in Sweden, before the USA would regain their title on home soil in what would prove to be a positive turning point for the awareness of women's football.

Germany then secured their first tournament triumph in 2003 with a Golden Goal win over Sweden, and clinched their second in China.

Japan are the current holders of the trophy, having emerged victorious on penalties in Germany in the most recent edition of the tournament.

Japan

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As mentioned, City have five representatives in Canada as Steph Houghton, Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Toni Duggan and Jill Scott will all be donning the white of England Women.

The quintet have notched up more than 230 senior appearances between them, and Houghton, Scott and Bardsley all competed in the 2011 World Cup.

Bronze and Duggan have experienced success on the international stage before, lifting the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship trophy in 2009, alongside club teammate Isobel Christiansen.

Full England squad: Bardsley, Chamberlain, Telford, Bassett, Bronze, Greenwood, Houghton, Rafferty, A Scott, Stoney, Carney, Chapman, Moore, Nobbs, Potter, J Scott, Williams, Aluko, Duggan, Kirby, Sanderson, Taylor, White.

England team group photo

England fixtures


England will compete in Group F against Colombia, France and Mexico and kick-off their adventure in New Brunswick where they will play their first two games.

The Three Lionesses were victorious in all ten of their qualifying games, netting 52 goals and conceding just once.

Their recent Cyprus Cup triumph has ignited new optimism Mark Sampson's side can put up a strong challenge for a podium finish.

France are the first opponents on 9 June, followed by Mexico four days later. The team will then travel to Montreal where they will face Columbia in their final group match on 17 June.

In captain Houghton's words...


"A World Cup is the pinnacle of every player's career and we want to enjoy every moment.

"We worked so hard to get to the World Cup - now we just can't wait to get started.

Houghton

"We know we've got a tough group but we are prepared to go there and give it our all.

"It will be an honour and a privilege to lead these girls in Canada."



All England matches will be broadcast live on the BBC, while we will also have coverage on Twitter and a match report shortly after full-time of each game.

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