About the 2019 World Cup
The tournament takes place in England from 12th to 21st July, with every match being played at the 11,000-capacity Liverpool Arena. There will be 16 nations from five geographical regions, but a new format will feature two preliminary stages to whittle the teams down to four before the semi-finals on 19th July.
The countries have been split into four groups of four for the first phase of the World Cup, based on seedings, to keep the highest-ranked teams apart. The bottom side in each pool will be knocked out of contention and will then compete against each other for the minor placings.
The top three teams from Group A will join the top three teams from Group B in a new group of six, while Group C will be paired with Group D. Everyone will carry points through with them that they have gained against their fellow qualifiers, and will only play the opponents they have not yet faced in this second phase. The top two from each of these new groups will then advance to the semi-finals.
But which teams are likeliest to make it to the latter stages? Here are the latest netball betting tips and a rundown of all the teams’ chances:
Australia - 23/20: Historically the strongest team on the planet, Australia have been world champions on 11 previous occasions and have lifted the trophy three times in a row going into the 2019 event. The Diamonds will nevertheless head to Liverpool with something of a point to prove after having to settle for the silver medal at last year’s Commonwealth Games, following their last-gasp loss to England on home soil. Captained by 6ft 4in Goal Shooter Caitlin Bassett, Australia’s squad contains just three players from their last World Cup triumph, and while the competition will be tougher than ever, it would be a huge shock if they didn’t at least make the final.
Northern Ireland – 1000/1: Currently eighth in the world rankings, Northern Ireland could hardly have asked for a tougher start after being scheduled to face Australia in the opening match of their campaign. They had to book their spot in the tournament through the European qualifier, when they beat Wales but lost to Scotland, and should cruise through to the second stage. A semi-final spot is probably beyond them, but the placement matches offer them a chance to finish higher than their world ranking.
Zimbabwe – 3000/1: The only team that will this year be competing at their first World Cup, Zimbabwe made history when they qualified through the African event last summer. The Gems sealed their World Cup place in style too, notching up four straight wins before they finally lost to fellow qualifiers Uganda. Now they have made it this far, Zimbabwe will be pushing for a finish in the top three of Group A to advance to the next stage.
Sri Lanka – 4000/1: Sri Lanka proved to be the strongest team from Asia when they topped the regional qualifying event last September, but they will have realistic ambitions about what they can achieve in Liverpool. The opening-day clash with Zimbabwe represents their best chance to cause an upset, but the main target will be to improve on their last-place finish from 2015, and recent form suggests they should compete much better in the matches to determine the lower positions.
New Zealand – 9/1: Four-time champions New Zealand have slipped down the rankings to fourth place and no longer appear to be the likeliest challengers to Trans-Tasman rivals Australia. However, their squad is still full of quality and experience, with Laura Langman, Casey Kopua, Maria Folau and Katrina Rore having all earned more than 100 caps. As they are set to play Australia in the second stage of the tournament, it means they are guaranteed to avoid each other in the semi-finals if they both make it that far, which can only be good news for the Silver Ferns’ chances.
Malawi – 100/1: Having qualified automatically by virtue of their world ranking, Malawi will be hoping to enjoy a strong showing in Liverpool. They stunned New Zealand in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and can be scintillating in attack, so they will be targeting a repeat performance in their group encounter with the Silver Ferns. However, they will be without their talismanic superstar Mwayi Kumwenda, who was the Player of the Tournament four years ago but is still recovering from a serious knee injury. Without her, the semi-finals may be a distant dream.
Barbados – 2000/1: Barbados have a proud record at World Cups, having made eight appearances at the tournament and even finished as high as sixth back in 1986. The current crop probably isn’t equipped to fare that well, but they should finish in the top three of Group B and they will relish the opportunity to take on the likes of New Zealand and Australia.
Singapore – 4000/1: Singapore have hosted the World Cup a couple of times in the past but will not be the centre of attention in Liverpool. Just like fellow Asian qualifiers Sri Lanka, Singapore will be concentrating on their own level of performance and trying to do as well as possible in the placement matches, rather than thinking they can realistically topple any of the bigger teams in their group.
Jamaica - 9/2: Up to second in the world rankings, Jamaica are serious contenders to make it through to the first final in their history and perhaps go on to lift the trophy. A sign of their pedigree is the fact five of the Jamaican squad ply their trade in the Australian Super Netball league, including 6ft 6in West Coast Fever Goal Shooter Jhaniele Fowler. The Sunshine Girls could build up a head of steam through the first two stages and will then take some stopping if they run into Australia or New Zealand in the semi-finals.
South Africa - 20/1: South Africa have been promised a R1 million bonus if they win the World Cup, so the players could be set for a bumper payday if they play to their potential. They have a dynamic, talented squad, led by Wasps Wing Attack Bongiwe Msomi, and will be in confident mood after a good showing in January’s Quad Series, when they beat hosts England and took New Zealand to extra-time. The clash with Jamaica will be key to their chances of making the semi-finals.
Trinidad and Tobago - 2000/1: In a strong group, Trinidad and Tobago will not be taken lightly by either Jamaica or South Africa. They are the only country to have won the World Cup apart from Australia and New Zealand, having shared the trophy with the Oceanic duo back in 1979, and they remain a major force. Samantha ‘Sniper’ Wallace has taken Super Netball by storm since moving to the New South Wales Swifts and could be one of the stars of the World Cup. If she fires, the Calypso Girls could cause a few surprises and won’t be too far away from the last four.
Fiji - 3000/1: It would take a monumental effort for Fiji to get the better of any of their illustrious opponents in Group C, but there are sure to be moments of Pacific flair in Liverpool. The Pearls came through the Oceania qualifier in April 2018 to seal a return to the World Cup, but warm–up results have been morale-sapping, including a recent 88-30 loss to New Zealand in the Cadbury Series.
England - 187/100: Commonwealth Games champions in 2018, England are primed for what could be their best ever shot at World Cup glory. The Vitality Roses can expect vociferous support at the Liverpool Arena and head coach Tracey Neville has a classy squad at her disposal to unleash on her rivals. Strong in all departments, England have a solid defence thanks to Eboni Usoro-Brown and Geva Mentor, energy and experience in the mid-court with captain Serena Guthrie and Jade Clarke, along with the creativity and potency of Joanne Harten, Helen Housby and Rachel Dunn in attack. They have fallen behind Jamaica in the world rankings and there will be a lot of pressure on their shoulders on home soil, but they have the capability to beat anyone. Recent wins over Australia in big events such as the Commonwealths and the Quad Series will fuel belief that this may be their time.
Uganda - 300/1: A pay dispute with the Uganda Netball Federation has disrupted preparations for the She-Cranes, but if they can keep their focus on the court they have the ability to push for a semi-final spot in what could be a fiercely competitive second group stage. They lost 3-0 to England in a series late last year but ran the hosts close in two of the games and possess one of the finest shooters in the world in Peace Proscovia.
Scotland – 1000/1: Impressive in the European qualifiers as they defeated both Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland head to England with high hopes for a positive campaign. The first step, finishing in the top three of Group D, should be easily attainable, and then the Scottish Thistles will be looking for at least one scalp in the next group phase. Teenage Goal Shooter Bethan Goodwin, playing at her first World Cup, could also emerge as one of the most exciting young talents at the tournament.
Samoa – 4000/1: Samoa beat Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands to clinch their place at the World Cup, but they have landed in a difficult group with little chance of advancing to the top 12. They could well be the best of the rest, though, and will be confident of beating Fiji, Sri Lanka and Singapore if those four nations break off from the rest to fight it out for the minor positions. Samoa will be exciting to watch, with a squad that includes Goal Shooter Toa Tanimo, the niece of movie star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.