The biggest competition on the women’s sporting calendar this summer takes place across Australia and New Zealand, as the Women’s World Cup officially gets underway on Thursday, July 20. It promises to be one of the most competitive editions of the esteemed tournament, with the USA’s dominance in the competition likely coming under increasing threat. The top sportsbooks online are preparing their rosters for this year, so you should be on the lookout too.
Below, you can find out everything you need to know about the upcoming tournament, including more information about the leading contenders for glory.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup will be staged across New Zealand and Australia, meaning that it is the first edition of the tournament to be held across multiple confederations. Furthermore, it will be the first time that the tournament has been expanded to 32 teams.
The opening match will take place at Eden Park on Thursday, July 20, with the final taking place a month later on Sunday, August 20 at Sydney Olympic Stadium. Other locations that will be hosting games include Stadium Australia in Sydney, while games will also take place in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Melbourne. Matches in New Zealand will be staged in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, and Hamilton.
Only four nations have experienced success at the Women’s World Cup, with the current world champions being the most successful. The USA recorded a fourth success at the event in 2019, and they will be looking for a historic third straight victory in Australia this year.
Japan and Norway have both won the competition on one previous occasion, while Germany is the second most successful country with two victories in 2003 and 2007.
Like the Men’s World Cup, the teams are divided into eight groups of four teams at the Women’s World Cup. The top two nations from each group will qualify for the knockout round, with teams that finish top of their group standings coming up against nations that finished as runners-up.
Host nation New Zealand will be in Group A, where they are joined by Norway, Switzerland, and the Philippines. Australia are among the dark horses for victory at the World Cup this summer, but they could face a challenge to come top of the Group B standings as they are pitted against Canada. World Cup debutants Ireland and Nigeria round off Group B.
2011 champions Japan are among the featured teams in Group C, as the Asian nation will face a fight for the top spot against Spain. Costa Rica and Zambia will face the toughest challenges in navigating Group C, as both are unfancied to progress. Reigning European Champions England are found in Group D, and they will be expected to smoothly sail through to the knockout round after being drawn alongside Haiti, Denmark, and China.
The reigning world champions are in Group E, but the USA could face early tests against Portugal and Netherlands in their race to the knockout stage, while Vietnam round off the group. France and Brazil will be expected to cruise through Group F, with Panama and Jamaica likely to be battling for third spot.
Sweden is the standout nation in Group G, but it could be a wide-open group with Italy, Argentina, and South Africa all showing excellent signs of progression in women’s football. The final group is headed by Germany, who looks more than capable of topping Group H over Morocco, Colombia, and South Korea.
The United States will once again be the nation to beat according to the latest betting odds. The nation has won each of the previous two editions of the tournament, and they still possess some of the world’s best female players, including Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle, and Lindsey Horan. However, a number of injuries and retirements means that there will be immediate pressure on inexperienced players at the tournament.
England looks to be the standout European nation after winning the Women’s EUROs last summer, but there will be a need to bounce back after failing to score in their last three internationals. However, the dynamic between Ella Toone and Alessia Russo in the final third ensures that they remain key contenders despite the absences of Leah Williamson, Beth Mead, and Fran Kirby.
Spain could be among the dark horses for victory this summer after impressing at last summer’s EUROs. The nation comes into the tournament after winning each of its last six international matches. Meanwhile, Australia looks to be the pick of the rest, providing that Sam Kerr finds her feet early in the tournament and the hosts are able to top the Group B standings.
This is the most open Women’s World Cup in generations, with at least five nations having a standout chance of landing victory. However, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the USA’s dominance at the tournament come to an end. Australia could upset the odds by reaching the latter stages for the first time in its history, and they could be challenging to overlook after picking up wins over England, Spain, and France this calendar year.
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