The 2023 Girls’s World Cup, which kicked off in Australia and New Zealand final week, is the biggest ever with 32 groups enjoying 64 video games over a month.
It additionally may become probably the most aggressive Girls’s World Cup ever, with England, the reigning European champion; Germany, a two-time world champion; Canada, the Olympic champion; and the Netherlands, a World Cup finalist 4 years in the past, amongst a half-dozen groups poised to knock off the U.S., which goes for an unprecedented third straight title.
“It’s our duty to seek out the subsequent step, to seek out the subsequent 1% to push the group ahead and maintain this group up entrance,” U.S. supervisor Vlatko Andonovski stated earlier than the beginning of the match. Right here’s a take a look at every of the groups within the greatest and deepest ladies’s soccer match in historical past.
New Zealand vs. Philippines preview
The thrill: This match has already been a wild experience for New Zealand, which opened play by upsetting Norway on a Hannah Wilkinson objective for its first-ever World Cup, then two days later was briefly burned out of its Auckland resort, with police arresting a 34-year-old man on fees of housebreaking and arson.
A win right here would all however guarantee the Ferns of a spot within the second spherical. The Philippines, make its first look in both a World Cup or Olympic match, held Switzerland to only one objective from the run of play in its opener, which resulted in a 2-0 loss.
Something wanting a victory right here would depart the Philippines with solely the narrowest of routes by means of to the subsequent spherical.
Switzerland vs. Norway preview
The thrill: After dropping its opener to New Zealand, Norway wants not less than a draw right here to maintain alive any
hope of reaching the knockout phases for the eighth time in 9 World Cups. The Norwegians performed properly of their opener, outshooting New Zealand, however they made one mistake and that led to Hannah Wilkinson’s counterattack rating for the sport’s solely objective.
Switzerland was dominant in every single place however on the scoreboard in its opening win over the Philippines, controlling the ball for greater than 65 of the 90 minutes, working up a 17-3 benefit in photographs and placing eight of these heading in the right direction. However the Swiss managed only one objective from the run of play in a 2-0 win. A win right here would all however lock up a spot within the subsequent spherical.
Canada vs. Eire preview
The thrill: Canada was pressured to accept a scoreless attract its opener when Nigerian keeper Chiamaka Nnadozie stuffed Christine Sinclair’s second-half attempt from the spot. That leaves the reigning Olympic champion needing a win right here to enhance its possibilities of a second-round berth. However Eire, too, has its sights on the spherical of 16. It served discover it’s not going to put down by giving Australia a battle in its opener earlier than falling 1-0 on Steph Catley’s penalty-kick objective. Beating Canada in its second-ever World Cup sport would maintain alive its possibilities of advancing.
The thrill: Japan blitzed Zambia 5-0 in its opener, outshooting the Africans 25-0, placing 11 photographs heading in the right direction and scoring 4 instances within the second half, with Angel Metropolis’s Jun Endo bagging a type of scores.
Now, needing a win to provide it a agency grip on a second-round berth, it faces a Costa Rican group that gave up a unprecedented 45 photographs in a 3-0 loss to Spain.
As dangerous as that loss was for the Ticos it may have been worse: goalkeeper Daniela Solero celebrated her twenty sixth birthday by stopping a first-half penalty kick and making 10 saves total.
Spain vs. Zambia preview
The thrill: This one may get actually ugly actually quick. Spain took 45 photographs in its opening win over Costa Rica whereas Zambia gave up 25 in its opening loss to Japan. And Spain might be even higher on this one after getting Alexis Putellas again.
The 2-time Ballon d’Or winner, who sustained an ACL harm 15 months in the past, performed the ultimate 13 minutes off the bench in opposition to Costa Rica, proving her health.
A win right here would clear a large path for Spain to maneuver on to the second spherical. For World Cup debutante Zambia, which made its first look on the world stage within the Tokyo Olympics, this match has already proved a helpful studying expertise.
U.S. vs. Netherlands preview
The thrill: It is a rematch of the 2019 World Cup remaining, a sport the U.S. received 2-0 on objectives by Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle, neither of whom began within the Individuals’ opener right here.
The U.S. hasn’t misplaced a World Cup sport because the remaining match of group play in 2011, although it was hardly spectacular in final week’s sloppy 3-0 win over Vietnam. The U.S., which took 28 photographs, wasted most of its alternatives however was bailed out by Sophia Smith, who had two objectives and an help in her first World Cup match.
The Dutch, in the meantime, had a more durable time with Portugal regardless of constructing a 12-2 edge in photographs. The sport’s solely objective got here on defender Stefanie van der Gragt’s header off a nook kick within the thirteenth minute.
These groups final met within the Tokyo Olympics quarterfinals, enjoying to a 2-2 draw. The U.S. then received a tie-breaking shootout to eradicate the Dutch.
The thrill: Colombia is again within the World Cup after a four-year break, qualifying in final summer season’s Copa América Femenina, the place it completed second to Brazil. However its keep in Australia bought off to a tough begin when its penultimate World Cup warm-up was deserted after 20 chippy minutes that ended with Eire’s Denise O’Sullivan on her strategy to the hospital with a shin harm. (She recovered in time to play in Eire’s match opener.)
For the reason that Copa América, Colombia has misplaced simply twice in 14 video games and its roster contains Actual Madrid teenager Linda Caicedo, among the finest younger gamers on the planet. She’ll doubtless be paired up entrance with Catalina Usme, Colombia’s all-time main scorer. South Korea received only one sport in three earlier journeys to the World Cup and warmed up for this one with three consecutive wins, beating Haiti and Zambia twice by a mixed 12-3.
Ji So-yun, the county’s all-time main scorer, is named Ji Messi at dwelling due to her technical capacity. But additionally be careful for 16-year-old Korean-American Casey Phair, the nationwide group’s first mixed-race participant.
This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Instances.