What Can We Expect From The 2023 Women’s World Cup?
It’s official, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has begun as the best teams and players from across the globe take part in a month of intense competition in Australia and New Zealand.
It is already set to be a record-breaking tournament. For the first time, 32 teams will be taking part with Haiti, Morocco, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Vietnam and Zambia all set to make their first appearance at a Women’s World Cup.
Aside from these intriguing debutants, there are some teams that we should definitely keep an eye on.
Previous winners, the United States, can never be overlooked. Despite having a less experienced roster this time around, the tenacity and winning mentality of the US has seen them win the World Cup four times and they will be looking for their fifth.
However, there are notable omissions from the team including their much-loved captain Becky Sauerbrunn.
The team still has star figures Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Kelley O’Hara who all have two World Cup wins under their belts and know what it takes to win. With a mixture of explosive young talents and seasoned veterans, there is no reason that they can’t do it again.
European Champions England definitely have a target on their back this summer and rightly so.
As with the US, England are missing their captain and level-headed centre-back Leah Williamson as well as Golden Boot winner Beth Mead. However, this will not stop them as they have great depth on the bench with fantastic options to choose from across the whole pitch.
With an average age of 26, this is a young squad but with that comes a youthful and innovative energy that will present a new challenge to opponents.
Co-Host nation Australia have hit form at the right time and are playing some really good football as of late, most notably bringing the Lionesses’ 30-match unbeaten streak to an end.
However, they still enter this tournament somewhat as underdogs. Of course, they have one of the best, if not the best, striker in the world right now in Sam Kerr who holds the Australian record for international goals but they have talent all over the pitch and the coaching team has pivoted away from a reliance on their superstar striker and it is paying dividends with young talent shining.
Within these star-studded teams are some exciting players to look out for who will all be vital in bringing the trophy home for their nation.
USWNT centre-back Naomi Girma is a rising star and will play an integral role for the US this year.
At 23, this will be her first World Cup and she is stepping into big shoes, filling the gap at the back left by the absence of Sauerbrunn.
However, the defender has already cemented her place on the national team with her top-quality one-on-one defending, precision passes and a calmness on the ball that echoes a player well beyond her years.
In the last season of the NWSL, she was named Rookie of the Year and Defender of the Year and she likely has many more trophies coming her way.
For England, Barcelona star midfielder Keira Walsh will be huge. Walsh has long been a skilled midfielder, but her talent really shone during last year’s Women’s European Championship success with her notable pinpoint pass to Ella Toone to score the first goal at Wembley in the final.
Her success has only continued with her move to Barcelona where she has cemented her position as one of the world’s best. She has superb passing ability, tactical intelligence and playmaking skills making her England’s crown jewel.
Australia’s Caitlin Foord often lives in the shadows of Matilda’s captain Sam Kerr, however, the Arsenal striker, who made her World Cup debut aged just 16, is poised to go to her fourth tournament.
She had a successful season for Arsenal in 2022/23 as she scored 12 goals and provided nine assists. With the focus on Kerr, Foord can slide into areas and punish teams with her confidence to drive down the pitch and take on defenders, often coming out on top.
Whilst these teams and players are all ones to look out for, this World Cup will be one of the most competitive in the history of the Women’s game and there are a host of teams who could steal victory.
With increased competition comes more spectators from around the world and this will likely be the most viewed Women’s World Cup in history.
It is such an exciting time for Women’s football and truly feels like a tipping point that will change the game forever.