Get the latest on the 2023 Women's World Cup.
The Women’s World Cup is around the corner with the biggest edition of the tournament to date. The best 32 teams from around the world are set to arrive in both Australia and New Zealand to contest the spoils to become the champions of the world. Our Group Stage preview indicates both the biggest matches from the first round of Women’s World Cup 2023 as well as a few early predictions.
The 2023 Women's World Cup will commence on July 20th as the host nations will play their opening games. New Zealand host Norway in a game starting at 3 am (EDT) and Australia playing the Republic of Ireland a little later at 6 am.
The group stage will conclude on the 3rd of August when the best two teams from each group will proceed to the knockout phase. This will continue until the 20th of August when the World Cup will be awarded to the best team at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
The Women’s World Cup has to pit the best against one another but might not have made a more fiercely stacked group than that of Group B. Featuring co-hosts, Australia they’re set to play the Republic of Ireland, Canada, and Nigeria.
The latter is ranked as the best women’s team in Africa, while the hosts hold the same moniker in the Asian Confederation. Throw in the Olympic champions from 2021, Canada and it becomes a marquee group already. While Ireland doesn’t have a major title as ‘best of’ they’ve got an exceptional talent in Katie McCabe who plies her trade at Arsenal. Making Group B an unmissable hive of action, if somewhat unpredictable.
Madrid CFF jumped up the Liga F standings by a certain Zambian striker who seemed to score at will. Racheal Kundananji knows how to craft out chances by herself in a team weaker than the majority of others. The Zambian national team will be hoping she can put them on her back again in a tricky Group C at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
She’s arguably scored against all the Spanish defenders before, begging the question why can’t she do it again? Then the Japanese and Costa Rican are arguable of worse quality so she could easily score against them too. Even if Zambia doesn’t make it out of this group, Kundananji will surely get a few goals in the process.
As the European Championship winners, England enters the Women's World Cup 2023 with high expectations from back home. In Group D they’ve been placed alongside Haiti, Denmark, and China. England in theory should be able to lead the majority of these 270 minutes of football even with their second-string of players.
Injuries to Beth Mead and Leah Williamson will undoubtedly leave their mark on the totality of their tournament but the group-stage opposition shouldn’t halt their progression. Haiti is statistically the most excited nation for the tournament as Google Trends suggests they’ve been searching for it the most – but that won’t help them against Alessia Russo, Chloe Kelly, and in-form Rachel Daly.
Denmark and China might have represented quality in the Women’s game yesteryear but simply aren’t at the same level in 2023. England should be coming out of three wins from three here.
Even at the age of 37, Megan Rapinoe will be a pillar of inspiration in the USWNT roster. In the 2019 World Cup she took home the Golden Boot after scoring the joint-highest number of goals (6) tied with her compatriot, Alex Morgan, and England’s Ellen White.
OL Reign coach, Laura Harvey has been full of praise for Rapinoe given her form over the last 12 months. In the group stage, if on the pitch it would be easy to see the US legend scoring against both Vietnam and Portugal given the disparity between those nations and the USWNT. Megan has never scored against these debuting teams, giving her a great incentive to get on the score sheet again.
In February 2023, Almuth Schult announced that she would not be part of the World Cup as she would be stepping aside from the game to have her third child. In 2019, Schult played all three group-stage games and kept three clean sheets.
The primary step-in is Merle Frohms who turns out for Wolfsburg. While she’s no slouch in the net having won the Frauen-Bundesliga four times, she’s typically struggled to produce the same kind of form in a German shirt. Schult was still keeping clean sheets up until announcing her time away, while Frohms has conceded to Vietnam recently…
The other option is the WSL winner, Ann-Katrin Berger. Despite, having won multiple trophies with Chelsea, she’s simply not fancied by the German national setup, as she’s only made six appearances to date. Most of them have been friendly appearances and games which Germany hasn’t won.
While the German FA won’t want to step in Schult’s way of having another child, they may not be as defensively resolute without her between the sticks.