The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is officially underway, with the host nations New Zealand and Australia both in action on the first day of the tournament.
This is the first Women’s World Cup played with the expanded 32-team field, and this year’s edition features eight teams making their World Cup debut: Haiti, Republic of Ireland, Morocco, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, Vietnam and Zambia are all making their first appearance in the Women’s World Cup.
Australia is one of the favorites in this tournament, but they drew a difficult place in the tournament, as many consider Group B to be this year’s “Group of Death.” They’ll have to contend with Canada, Ireland, and Nigeria just to advance. making matters worse, Australia got some tough news as the tournament began, as top scorer Sam Kerr suffered a calf injury during training and will be sidelined for at least their first two matches.
England is another favorite, but The Lionesses are without several key players due to injuries. Leah Williamson and Fran Kirby are both out with knee injuries, as is Beth Mead, who won the Golden Boot at the 2022 Euros.
Group F should be fascinating to watch, given the presence of France and Brazil. Marta is playing in her final World Cup, and the two sides played a memorable match in the Round of 16 back in 2019, with France coming out on top 2-1.
Then there is the United States. The US is considered the overall favorites for the tournament, but they are undergoing something of a changing of the guard. The USWMT is another team missing some key players due to injuries, including Mallory Swanson, Becky Sauerbrunn, Catarina Macario, Sam Mewis, and Christen Press. That has opened the door for emerging talents such as Sophia Smith and Trinity Rodman who alongside mainstays such as Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle, and Alex Morgan will try and send Megan Rapinoe off a winner in her final World Cup.
It was a defining moment from a game that was anything but what fans have come to expect from Norway. It was a sluggish, sloppy, often disjointed affair that culminated with a potential game-tying score by Tuva Hansen that bounced off the crossbar.
“We had some decent chances that we could have scored on. But really we did not manage to create an established attack that could put pressure on them, which we could have done,” Ada Hegerberg said after the match.
Norway was a team that was favored by some to win the entire World Cup and now, there are very clear questions about its ability to compete against the top the world has to offer.
Those games will kick off a 15-day period during which there will be between two and four games every day. Kickoff times will vary depending where you are in the United States but in general, games will begin at various times between the late night and early morning.
If teams are tied on points, goal difference is the first tiebreaker followed by goals scored. After that, it will go to head-to-head results between the teams that are tied, followed by goal difference between the teams that are tied and then total goals between the teams that are tied.
If teams are still tied, then it will go to a tiebreaker based on the number of yellow and red cards each team received and then, finally, to drawing of lots.
This group is perhaps the most exciting, as it pits the winner and runner-up of the previous Women’s World Cup against each other right off the bat in the group stage.
The United States is a clear favorite to win the tournament for the third time in a row. With more Women’s World Cup wins than any other nation, they present an absolute powerhouse and are heading into the competition with confidence.
In an unpopular opinion, I don’t see the USA’s mix of old and brand new faces carrying their same iconic chemistry from the past eight years and taking the trophy for the third time in a row. However, I can see them coming out of their group on top.
With Oranje’s star striker Vivianne Miedema out due to an ACL injury, the odds look to be in the American’s favor. Pitting their experienced stars like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe against the younger Dutch group seems like a safe plan for the win.
This is one of the easiest groups to predict in my opinion, as it’s not even a debate for who will finish first.
Germany will dominate their opponents, and they’ll easily take the top spot.
South Korea may give them a little bit of trouble, (perhaps they could feed off the energy from the men’s side, who also advanced to the knockouts from a group with Germany, ultimately knocking a stacked German side out of the men’s World Cup).
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