Rutherford: USA and Germany are the teams to beat

USA, left, are joint-favourites for glory at the 2015 Fifa Women's World Cup

USA, left, are joint-favourites for glory at the 2015 Fifa Women's World Cup

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I’m optimistic England will progress to the World Cup semi-finals – which would represent a fantastic achievement – but I’m tipping the winners to be Germany or the United States.

I think the two of them are the powerhouses in the women’s game at the moment and both will fancy their chances of glory.

Perhaps, tellingly, the bookmakers cannot split them and with Brazil the third-favourites, the Three Lionesses really will have it all to do if they are to provide a major upset.

Outside of the big-hitters, I have got a massive interest in the Nigerian team, following the inclusion in their squad of my Pompey team-mate Ini Umotong.

Hopefully they and Ini – who certainly knows where the goal is – can be a surprise package in the tournament and advance to the latter stages.

But as far as overall glory goes, it really is too close to call.

The American’s fitness levels are the envy of the world, and although they may not be the technically most gifted side, they will feel they have a fantastic chance of making the short trip home victorious.

The geographical location of the tournament is, of course, an obvious advantage they will have over most teams.

Neighbours Canada are hosting so USA will be used to the time zones and weather etc.

Germany begin the World Cup as the No1 team in the Fifa rankings and will be aiming to justify that tag.

Should they both win their groups, as expected, the two will meet in the semi-finals.

My advice? Put a pound on each of them!

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