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Original Issue


NOT SINCEthat fabled July afternoon at the Rose Bowl in 1999 has the U.S. seized the biggest prize in women's soccer. But this group—led by soccer's No. 1 all-time scorer and her heir apparent, plus the world's top goalie—has what it takes to win the seventh FIFA Women's World Cup, which begins on Saturday in Edmonton and ends with the final on July 5 in Vancouver. Along the way, a record field of 24 teams will be winnowed to one champion—and more countries than ever are capable of raising the trophy.

The U.S. and Germany will each vie to become the first nation to win three Women's World Cup titles. Japan, the defending champion, is a threat to repeat. Powerful France has come further than any team in the past five years. Brazil has the world's best player, Marta, who at 29 is still searching for her first major title. And don't count out Canada, which won the 2012 Olympic bronze and will have the passionate support of the host nation. So: Party like it's 1999, you say? How's that, with a field like this? Read on....