Women’s World Cup: What To Know?

The 2023 Women’s World Cup is quickly approaching. What do we need to know about the participating teams?

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By Benson Chen

As the highly-anticipated Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup rapidly approaches, soccer fans worldwide eagerly await the start of yet another thrilling tournament. With a total of 32 teams—up from 24 in 2019—from all across the world prepared to showcase their skills on the global stage, the burning question arises: Which team will emerge as the victor?


The U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) has dominated the Women’s World Cup, winning a total of four tournaments, more than any other country. The team has succeeded in recent years, beating the Netherlands 2-0 to win in 2019, and Japan 5-2 in 2015. However, this World Cup may not be smooth sailing for the U.S. In 2019, the team’s former coach, Jill Ellis, stepped down. Vlatko Andonovski, the team’s new coach, will face a significant challenge in guiding the team to progress past its competitive groups: the Netherlands, Vietnam, and Portugal. Despite this, the USWNT is still deemed the favorite to win. Should the team achieve this feat, it will secure a historic milestone as the first team to win three consecutive World Cups. 


England is no underdog either and is a co-favorite in most books following the team’s 2-1 win against Germany in the UEFA Women’s Euro in 2022. The team has many promising players, such as Manchester City defender Lucy Bronze and Tottenham striker Beth England. However, it will have to make do without the 2022 England Women’s Player of the Year, Arsenal forward Beth Mead, out due to an injury, and Leah Williamson, the team’s captain. The tournament is an opportunity for England to win its first-ever Women’s World Cup after it lost in the semi-finals to the U.S. in 2019 and finished third in 2015, providing further motivation to perform. 


Spain has not had any recent success in the World Cup, losing to the U.S. 2-1 in the round of 16 in 2019 and finishing rock-bottom in the group stage in 2015. However, the team has improved substantially and were even favorites to win the 2022 UEFA Women’s Euro. Even though it did not win, losing to England in the quarterfinals in extra time, it is important to note that the team was without Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who tore her ACL the day before the tournament began. Since then, Putellas has recovered from her injury and is set to play for Spain in July, elevating the team to a new level and giving it a chance to finally rectify its poor recent World Cup performances. 


Like the U.S., England, and Spain, Germany is also a big favorite to win. Finishing in fourth place in 2015 and losing in the quarter-finals to Sweden in 2019, Germany aims to overcome their past losses and win the World Cup for the third time in the country’s history. Germany also  has standout players including Wolfsburg forward Alexandra Popp and Lyon midfielder Sara Däbritz, who are sure to improve the team’s chances.


With Australia as a joint host of the World Cup, it would be no surprise that the team is a big favorite to win. Despite the lack of recent World Cup success for Australia, having reached the round of 16 in 2019 and the quarter-finals in 2015, the presence of the talented Chelsea star, Sam Kerr, will significantly bolster its chances, granting it a competitive edge throughout the tournament.


Though the U.S., England, Spain, Germany, and Australia are all favorites to win the 2023 Women’s World Cup, many other nations could create surprise, such as the eight first-time qualifiers. Zambia, for example, will play their first-ever World Cup, and while it may not have the strongest squad, the team’s passion could pull them over the line, in the same way as Morocco’s incredible performance did in the Men’s World Cup. Haiti is another first-timer in the Cup that could go far with players such as Melchie Dumornay, who scored a brace in its 2-1 qualification final win over Chile. 

Nevertheless, it is worth acknowledging that in a competition featuring 32 teams, any one of them possesses the potential to prevail in July. Until then, we can only speculate about which team will ultimately triumph.