Thursday, February 22, 2024

Meet top six contenders for 2023 Women’s World Cup

As the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the biggest women sports tournament kick-started at the Eden Park, Auckland on Thursday, football fans will look forward to seeing their favourite teams and players succeed in the competition.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup is jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand with the final match slated to be held in Sydney, the capital city of Australia on Sunday, August 20.

This tournament is the first in this category to feature the expanded format of 32 teams from the previous 24, replicating the same format used for the men’s category from 1998 to 2022.

Teams from the other 31 countries in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be doing everything in their power to prevent the United States women’s national team from making it a three straight trophy win haven won the 2015 and 2019 tournaments.

Other countries from around the world have bolstered their respective squads in readiness to be crowned champions should destiny align in their favour. However, six countries stand out as possible champions at the end of the tournament, except for surprises which are not ruled out in the round leather game.

No doubt, the Gals from US have a lot of depth and star players to go far in 2023 tournament, with a balanced infusion of veterans and youngsters converging.

Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are back in Vlatko Andonovski’s squad, while Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman and Naomi Girma, among others, will provide fresh legs to the group. Not having Mallory Swanson is a significant blow, but the USWNT should have more than enough to make do in Oceania.

The US team is ranked number one in the FIFA World ranking, and are the overwhelming favourite to win the World Cup in Australia with a 23.1 percent chance of winning.

The Lionesses of England is another team with the potential to cause an upset and be crowned champions come August 20. The English women’s team has been one of the rising women’s football teams in the last few years, most notably winning the Euro 2022 tournament on home ground.

The major concern for manager Sarina Weigman is injuries: Beth Mead, Leah Williamson and Fran Kirby are just some of the key figures expected to miss the tournament due to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. But the team still has Lucy Bronze, Georgia Stanway, Rachel Daly and more that will make them a tough team to beat.

The English team is ranked fourth in FIFA Women ranking, and with a 17 percent chance of winning the tournament places the team second to the women from America.

Spain is another country with the potential to rule the world in the Women’s World Cup 2023. The Spanish women are new contenders on the world stage in women’s football.

They are looking to make up for the loss in 2019 and have been in frightening form of late, scoring 28 goals and conceding only two.

The team boasts of Alexia Puteillas, the reigning Ballon d’Or winner, Jennifer Hermoso with 46 goals, and other quality players. The Ivana Andres led-team is rated third to winning the world cup by sport optus with 11.3 percent chance of winning.

Germany’s DFB-Frauen team is ranked second by FIFA in its latest ranking, though the team have seen some slip ups lately; it is still a potential champion threat in the tournament.

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, Germany’s team manager no doubt will need to make sure her team bounces back quickly which is highly probable. Injury to captain Alexandra Popp is a worry going into the tournament considering her vital leadership and goal-scoring dexterity, however, Lea Schuller, a 25-year-old striker with 30 goals in 46 games and Laura Freigang with 12 goals in 19 games is a pointer that Germany have players to do the damage and that the two players can step up to the task. Dzsenifer Marozsan and Sara Dabritz will also be imperative in midfield.

Germany is rated by sport optus to have a 9.4 percent chance of winning the tournament behind USA, England, and Spain.

France occupies the fifth position in FIFA World ranking. Les Bleus endured a rough spell lately, but a managerial change saw Herve Renard, who last managed Saudi Arabia in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar enter the fold.

The vibes have boosted since, and they will definitely be a well-drilled squad that would not be easy to crack. Eugenie Le Sommer, Wendie Renard and Grace Geyoro are just some of the players that will look to take France far.

France’s rating by sport optus is 7.4 percent chance of winning the tournament.

Australia, one of the host countries, is another potential team that could surprise everyone else but themselves.

Although New Zealand may not cause too much damage to its foes, Australia can surely do so with the backing of the home atmosphere. The Matildas, led by manager Tony Gustavsson, have quality veterans across the pitch, most notably Sam Kerr, who is one of the best in the world. Lydia Williams, Clare Polkinghorne and Tameka Yallop will also need to be reliable to take the team as far as possible.

The team has what it takes to go far in the tournament, and is capable of beating any team on their day. Australia is rated 5.9 percent chance of winning by sport optus.

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