2023 Women’s World Cup review: Best XIs, breakouts, moments


It’s nonetheless laborious to fathom that the 2023 Women’s World Cup has come to an finish, good and unforgettable because it was. Our writers have appeared on the subsequent World Cup, to be held in 2027, and provided their daring ideas there. Now it is time for them to mirror on a summer season of scintillating soccer in Australia and New Zealand, recapping their favourite components of this event.

Was Aitana Bonmatí the suitable alternative for Golden Ball? Who would make their particular person groups of the event? Which participant grabs the crown as breakout star, and what was the very best second or objective amid a World Cup stuffed with them?

Sophie Lawson

WAS THIS THE BEST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP EVER? OK, however how are we rating “best” right here? Most open? Most heartbreaking? Least predictable? Actually the largest, by land space and/or variety of opponents?

It was huge in each sense, and of these I’ve watched/coated (which actually do not stretch again that far) it was certainly the very best, even when by the top of it, the final groups standing have been all from the highest 10 on the earth, which considerably offset the sensation that it was such an open event.

WHO IS YOUR PICK FOR GOLDEN BALL? Waru, Germany’s knitted koala Aitana Bonmatí. She’s simply had one other sensational season with Barcelona and introduced that kind to the Spanish nationwide staff, who might by no means have created historical past with out her bringing every thing collectively on the pitch.

With imaginative and prescient and intelligence in abundance, her title would have already been written on the Ballon d’Or had she missed this World Cup, however this summer season was an ideal showcase as she received to indicate much more followers simply how outrageously gifted she is.

(4-3-3) — Rebecca Spencer (Jamaica); Ona Batlle (Spain), Clare Hunt (Australia), Amanda Ilestedt (Sweden), Alex Greenwood (England); Katrina Gorry (Australia), Aitana Bonmatí (Spain), Elin Rubensson (Sweden); Caitlin Foord (Australia), Kadidiatou Diani (France), Hinata Miyazawa (Japan)

It felt like a superb event for sturdy midfields. It would have been straightforward sufficient to incorporate Teresa Abelleira (Spain), Kyra Cooney-Cross (Australia) or Yui Hasegawa (Japan) within the combine, with groups with power in midfield placing in among the finest performances this summer season.

Goalkeeper can also be a contentious place, with Nigeria’s Chiamaka Nnadozie and Australia’s Mackenzie Arnold starring for his or her respective nations and Sweden’s Zećira Mušović making some gorgeous saves, setting a brand new World Cup file alongside the best way. However, Spencer actually rolled the years again through the Reggae Girlz’ time in Australia and simply, simply edges it.

BIGGEST BREAKOUT STAR IN 2023? From my standpoint as somebody who watches a whole lot of soccer, there was no shock about Salma Paralluelo or Linda Caicedo exhibiting up and balling out, nor have been Cooney-Cross’ standout performances surprising.

Miyazawa (simply 23 years outdated) has a shout for the prize as she took her complete sport up one other stage at this event, enjoying in a system that allowed her to thrive; Nnadozie (22) actually made a reputation for herself at this event, too. But as she got here from completely nowhere, with lower than 500 minutes logged in her senior worldwide profession earlier than the event began, and nonetheless went on to play each second of Australia’s seven matches with maturity far past her expertise, my decide needs to be defensive rock Clare Hunt.



How Morocco secured a historic spot within the World Cup knockouts

Sophie Lawson reacts to Morocco’s development to the spherical of 16 on their Women’s World Cup debut.

FAVORITE MOMENT/GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT There have been some gorgeous targets, from Esmee Brugts (Netherlands vs. Vietnam), Linda Caicedo (Colombia vs. Germany), Sam Kerr (Australia vs. England) and Sophia Braun (Germany vs. South Africa), to Marta Cox’s free kick (Panama vs. France) and lots extra. But by way of moments, it was being within the stadium in Perth when Morocco reached the knockouts, with the gamers all celebrating their win over Colombia earlier than ready for the opposite match to wrap up and as soon as once more being overcome with emotion.

I’ll additionally nominate the cathartic launch in Brisbane when Cortnee Vine introduced an finish to the longest shootout in World Cup historical past as Australia eradicated France, the entire nation celebrating from coast to coast.

WHAT DOES FIFA NEED TO DO BETTER IN 2027? Gag FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

Mark Ogden

WAS THIS THE BEST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP EVER? Definitely. The depth of expertise within the ladies’s sport has been made clear in Australia and New Zealand, with the largest instance being the struggles endured by the USWNT. But for a goalpost, the Americans would have suffered a gaggle stage elimination in opposition to Portugal, a nation they would not have even thought-about a rival not so way back. The rise of groups from Africa and South America additionally made it an important event.

WHO IS YOUR PICK FOR GOLDEN BALL? I’m going for Olga Carmona. Not solely did she rating two of an important targets in Spanish soccer historical past along with her profitable strikes within the semifinal and remaining, however she additionally stood out as the very best left-back within the event.

Spain have so many high gamers, however Carmona is up there with all of them.

(4-3-3) — Mary Earps (England); Batlle, Ilestedt, Greenwood, Carmona; Bonmati, Jennifer Hermoso (Spain), Roord; Lineth Beerensteyn (Netherlands), Miyazawa, Paralluelo.

The tempo and direct type of Beerensteyn and Paralluelo have added a brand new dimension to the ladies’s sport. Their explosive energy has set the benchmark for forwards sooner or later.

BIGGEST BREAKOUT STAR IN 2023? It needs to be Paralluelo: the Spain ahead is simply 19 however is destined to develop into a celebrity.

FAVORITE MOMENT/GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT The ambiance at Stadium Australia for the England-Australia semifinal. A crowd of over 75,000 was in attendance in Sydney, and it had all the stress and expectancy of an Ashes Test or rugby union conflict between the 2 nations.

WHAT DOES FIFA NEED TO DO BETTER IN 2027? Replace Gianni Infantino as president. His patronising speech about serving to the ladies’s sport gave the impression of clumsy PR spin and lacked any sort of sincerity. Infantino is a roadblock to progress in each the ladies’s and males’s video games.

Sam Marsden

WAS THIS THE BEST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP EVER? Absolutely. We had a brand new winner, an important remaining and a few excellent storylines alongside the best way. The highlights for me have been the lower-ranked nations who sprang surprises and/or registered their first wins at a World Cup: New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Morocco, Colombia, Jamaica and Zambia. Off the pitch, they have been among the nations that purchased probably the most color as effectively.

WHO IS YOUR PICK FOR GOLDEN BALL? With a smug look on my face I can say that I tipped Bonmatí from the beginning and by no means wavered. I need to admit that’s in distinction to my ideas for who would win the event, which always modified as fancied groups have been eradicated.

(4-3-3) — Musovic; Batlle, Ilestedt, Greenwood, Carmona; Aitana, Rubensson, Hermoso; Hemp, Paralluelo, Miyazawa.

Most of those decide themselves, however I need to apologise for the absence of any Australians, who have been nice as a staff. Hayley Raso got here shut, however I could not squeeze her in. Also a cowardly shoutout for leaving out Cata Coll (Spain), Earps and Millie Bright (England), Steph Catley and Katrina Gorry (Australia), Fridolina Rolfö (Sweden), Diani, Caicedo and Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa).



Ogden: Women’s World Cup has been nice showcase of soccer

Mark Ogden and Alexis Nunes give their ideas on the Women’s World Cup after Spain took the crown vs. England within the remaining.

BIGGEST BREAKOUT STAR IN 2023? For me, it was Kgatlana, who was terrific in South Africa’s run to the final 16. I knew little or no about her earlier than. On a extra conventional stage, I’ve Paralluelo simply pipping Caicedo.

FAVORITE MOMENT/GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT So many. Hannah Wilkinson’s for New Zealand on the opening day of the event, Colombia’s Caicedo downing Germany, Asisat Oshoala’s clincher for Nigeria in opposition to Australia, South Africa’s Kgatlana’s stoppage-time winner to knock out Italy, all Lauren James’ targets … however for significance, drama and high quality, I’ll go along with Carmona’s thunderous strike within the final minute of Spain’s semifinal win over Sweden.

WHAT DOES FIFA NEED TO DO BETTER IN 2027? It’s not simply what FIFA must do; it is what confederations and federations around the globe must do. This event has demonstrated that just about each single one of many 32 nations current — plus people who did not qualify — deserves extra backing and extra help.

More skilled leagues and higher situations are wanted around the globe. If FIFA can encourage this, nice. It also needs to take a look at getting extra ladies into high-profile positions throughout the organisation.

Tom Hamilton

WAS THIS THE BEST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP EVER? It was a superb World Cup in so some ways, however the narrowing of the hole between the so-called superpowers and the chasing pack has been an enormous spotlight. The early exits of Germany, Canada, Brazil, China and Italy confirmed the competitiveness of this World Cup, whereas it was additionally co-hosted brilliantly by each Australia and New Zealand.



How ‘finest participant’ Bonmatí led Spain to World Cup glory

Sam Marsden explains why he feels Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí was the very best participant on the Women’s World Cup.

WHO IS YOUR PICK FOR GOLDEN BALL? There are so many candidates, with Bonmati within the combine, whereas Hemp was excellent within the latter phases for England, however for me, the standout participant all through the event was Greenwood. She was distinctive for England from begin to end and was their most constant performer.

(4-3-3) — Musovic; Lucy Bronze (England), Greenwood, Ilestedt, Steph Catley (Australia); Abdelleira, Bonmati, Gorry; Paralluelo, Miyazawa, Hemp.

This is brutally, unfairly robust to choose, however I’ve gone with a versatile 4-3-3 system primarily based on how the gamers completed the event somewhat than how they began it. There’s an honest mixture of youth and expertise, in addition to those that can create memorable moments within the blink of an eye fixed.

BIGGEST BREAKOUT STAR IN 2023? There have been some outstanding performances throughout the age teams, however by way of the children you must point out Paralluelo and James (purple card aside). However, the breakout star for me was Colombia’s Caicedo. She was distinctive, among the best gamers within the event, and aged simply 18 years outdated, her potential is scary.

FAVORITE MOMENT/GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT The Brazil objective in opposition to Panama was distinctive, whereas Kerr’s long-range strike in opposition to England was unimaginable — the noise greeting it from inside Stadium Australia matched the brilliance and audacity of the end. But there was one thing actually unimaginable about James’ objective for England of their second match in opposition to Denmark.

It was solely a second within the grand tapestry of the event, however she was lengthy tipped to be a breakout star right here and he or she wanted simply six minutes in her first World Cup begin to rating a surprise objective.

WHAT DOES FIFA NEED TO DO BETTER IN 2027? Equal pay throughout each the boys’s and girls’s World Cups.

Caitlin Murray

WAS THIS THE BEST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP EVER? Without query. You have to present props, after all, to the 1999 Women’s World Cup, which actually marked a watershed second for the event itself. Equally, the 2019 one will maintain a particular place in my coronary heart — it was a blast to cowl and observe the U.S. staff. But this event was a lot extra aggressive, and the on-field product was so a lot better than any Women’s World Cup that preceded it.

FIFA additionally actually stepped up its sport by way of offering a refined, memorable expertise for followers, too.

WHO IS YOUR PICK FOR GOLDEN BALL? What’s outstanding about this event is that in contrast to previous Women’s World Cups, there wasn’t one star who took the entire event over. That’s most likely one other knowledge level within the dialog in regards to the progress and competitiveness of the ladies’s sport now. That stated, I agree with the selection of Bonmatí. She was sensational for Spain, serving to maintain the ball, transfer it round and create probabilities, even when she wasn’t on the high of the scoring checklist.



‘Bizarre’ incident involving Spanish FA president ‘tarnishes’ Women’s World Cup win

Alex Kirkland reacts to the incident involving Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales as he kissed midfielder Jennifer Hermoso throughout postmatch celebrations after Spain’s 1-0 win over England within the Women’s World Cup remaining.

(4-3-3) — Earps; Greenwood, Naomi Girma (USA), Hunt, Nathalie Björn (Sweden); Hasegawa, Bonmati, Georgia Stanway (England); Miyazawa, Diani, Alba Redondo (Spain)

I went with a formation that groups truly play (4-3-3) and I attempted to place gamers of their precise positions. I might’ve most likely stuffed this squad with Spanish gamers and it will’ve been honest, however I married the attention check with some stats to place collectively this finest 11. Yes, there’s a token American in Girma, as a result of I am unable to overstate what a shining mild she was throughout a somewhat dismal event for the staff I coated, the United States.

BIGGEST BREAKOUT STAR IN 2023? I beloved watching Caicedo with Colombia as they reached the quarterfinals — a giant achievement for a staff that merely doesn’t get sufficient help from its federation. It’s laborious to imagine she’s solely 18. I, after all, had heard a whole lot of buzz about her earlier than the event and from Real Madrid, a membership she joined in February. But to see her on the world stage dancing on the ball and scoring golazos was a pleasure to look at. She has an enormous profession forward of her.

FAVORITE MOMENT/GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT I’ve to choose a second I noticed in particular person, and so I’ve to choose the U.S. shedding the penalty shootout to Sweden by a millimeter. It positive did not really feel like my favourite second on the time: I had a pit in my abdomen as I assumed to myself “What am I going to cover now? I’m booked through the final!” But I’ll always remember it, and I’m positive USWNT followers will not both — what a technique to exit.

In a World Cup that in any other case wasn’t memorable in any respect for the USWNT, that is the second that stands out.

WHAT DOES FIFA NEED TO DO BETTER IN 2027? Honestly, credit score the place it is due: I used to be impressed with the fan zones and the merch choices throughout this event. Both 2019 and 2015 have been pathetic in regard to each, so it was superior to see FIFA put money into providing a lot of cool merch folks truly needed to purchase and in creating gathering spots for followers that constructed pleasure for the event. I’m positive it additionally helped FIFA’s backside line, too. Which brings me to what FIFA must do: be certain that ladies’s groups are supported earlier than the World Cup even occurs.

I like that FIFA offered federations with virtually $1 million in funds to organize for the event, nevertheless it wants to verify the cash is used correctly, too. Jamaica gamers needed to crowdfund to lift cash for journey for a coaching camp. Some groups did not even play friendlies to organize for the World Cup. FIFA ought to mandate and incentivize federations to care about their groups outdoors of simply the World Cup.

Jeff Carlisle

WAS THIS THE BEST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP EVER? Absolutely. The stage of play, highlighted by all-conquering Spain, was distinctive. The variety of contending groups was greater than ever. The drama was off the charts, and the attendance was virtually two million, a brand new file. The total depth was spectacular as effectively, validating FIFA’s determination to broaden the event to 32 groups.

One can solely hope that this galvanizes federations to take a position extra within the ladies’s sport. Alas, there is no such thing as a assure of that.



Spain rejoice after arriving house as Women’s World Cup champs

The Spanish ladies’s nationwide staff rejoice in entrance of followers following their win on the Women’s World Cup.

WHO IS YOUR PICK FOR GOLDEN BALL? Hard to argue with the selection of Bonmati. She was on the coronary heart of Spain’s possession sport, scored three targets,and did her bit on the defensive finish as effectively. Is a FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award in her future? It ought to be.

(4-3-3): Earps; Batlle, Ilestedt, Girma, Carmona; Bonmati, Hasegawa, Raso; Miyazawa, Diani, Caicedo

Thinking extra in regards to the gamers disregarded than these which are in. The Netherlands’ Jill Roord was wonderful, as was the Australia trio of Ellie Carpenter, Foord and Catley. But all hail champions Spain, who’ve three gamers in my Best XI.

BIGGEST BREAKOUT STAR IN 2023? There’s an impulse to go along with Bonmati, however she’s been an ever-present power for a couple of years now with Barcelona at membership stage, excelling within the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Looking additional afield, I’d go along with her membership and worldwide teammate Paralluelo. She scored some completely essential targets for Spain within the quarterfinals and semifinals, and at age 19, she’s solely going to get higher.

FAVORITE MOMENT/GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT That must be Morocco’s gamers, after defeating Colombia in its final group stage sport, huddling collectively to get phrase of Germany’s consequence in opposition to South Korea. When phrase arrived that the match led to a 1-1 draw, placing Morocco by to the knockout rounds, the enjoyment induced goosebumps.

Only one staff can win the event, however multiple can take pleasure in an iconic second, and that was the case right here.

WHAT DOES FIFA NEED TO DO BETTER IN 2027? Get previous the concept that it’s as much as ladies to interrupt down obstacles for larger entry to and funding within the ladies’s sport. Women have been pounding on the door for many years, however it’s males that also management the levers of energy, the purse strings particularly.

FIFA broke even on this event with revenues of over $500m. The time is now to ramp up funding much more and benefit from the momentum created, and that’s as much as the sport’s male gatekeepers.

Joey Lynch

WAS THIS THE BEST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP EVER? This completely was the very best World Cup ever. For all of the fears in regards to the expertise pool not being there to maintain a 32-team event, the previous month has produced greater than sufficient upsets, narratives, thrills, spills and, most significantly, high quality soccer to justify the enlargement. Add to this the file crowds and curiosity from host nations that purchased in 100% and a gauntlet has been thrown down.

WHO IS YOUR PICK FOR GOLDEN BALL? The panel received it proper in naming Aitana Bonmatí as participant of the event. What the Barcelona star does on a pitch each with and with out the ball is unimaginable and her function in driving Spain to a first-ever title seemingly despite her coach and Federation was outstanding.

(4-3-3) — Earps; Batlle, Ilestedt, Greenwood, Catley; Gorry, Hermoso, Bonmatí; Miyazawa, Foord, Caicedo.

I’m dishonest right here by not having a correct striker; Foord can play centrally for this goal as a result of I needed to get Caicedo in there. Gorry won’t make many groups of the event as a result of she would not rating excessive on the title recognition index, however I refuse to have mine with out her. She’s a gargantuan footballer.



How Nigeria have taken the World Cup by storm

Julien Laurens, Colin Udoh and Sophie Lawson element how Nigeria have reached the World Cup knockout phases.

BIGGEST BREAKOUT STAR IN 2023? Now a world champion at U17, U20 and senior stage, Spanish sensation Paralluelo will just about find yourself being pretty much as good as she desires to be as a result of she has the expertise to be something. And after her sport breaking look in 2023, the 19-year-old — who additionally has the advertising machine of Barcelona behind her — is poised to develop into one of many largest stars in soccer within the years forward.

Miyazawa, in the meantime, gained the event’s Golden Boot at 23 years outdated and nonetheless connected to WE League facet Mynavi Sendai. A transfer to Europe have to be on the playing cards.

FAVORITE MOMENT/GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT Lorne Donaldson’s cartwheel/ahead function of pleasure after Jamaica drew with Brazil to advance to the knockouts encapsulated the enjoyment that adopted the Reggae Girlz this event. Infectious spirit and achievements on the pitch made extra spectacular by the challenges off it. As for objective? Cox’s howitzer free kick in opposition to France.

WHAT DOES FIFA NEED TO DO BETTER IN 2027? FIFA wants to lift the bar on every thing. This event was wonderful: now go greater! Bring it nearer to the sources pumped into the boys’s World Cup than ever earlier than. Elsewhere, ease off on the copyright strikes; let followers, inside purpose, share their ardour and pleasure and do your advertising for you by creating viral movies and GIF-worthy moments.

Marissa Lordanic

WAS THIS THE BEST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP EVER? To be an Australian soccer fan is to at all times be too distant. So to have the entire world right here, in a spot the place soccer is forgotten due to distance and unfavourable timezones, means greater than many can perceive. So sure, it was the very best ever.

WHO IS YOUR PICK FOR GOLDEN BALL? Bonmati was a deserved winner. From sport one she confirmed class and was instrumental in Spain’s historic first ever Women’s World Cup win.

(4-3-3) — Arnold; Batlle, Ilestedt, Hunt, Carmona; Abelleira, Cooney-Cross, Bonmati; Foord, Hemp, Miyazawa.

Obviously there’s a big Spanish affect right here, with Bonmati the primary title on the hypothetical staff sheet. I’ve chosen to champion some breakout stars with Arnold in objective, Hunt in defence. Cooney-Cross within the midfield, and Miyazawa up high all making their World Cup debuts at this event.

BIGGEST BREAKOUT STAR IN 2023? Plenty of individuals knew of Paralluelo’s sport both from her most up-to-date season with Barcelona or her youth World Cup victories with Spain however now the entire world is aware of about her. While her targets within the quarterfinal and semifinal confirmed off her brilliance, her efficiency within the World Cup remaining itself solidified her standing because the younger participant of the event.

FAVORITE MOMENT/GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT The Australia-France shootout as an entire. I do know many individuals hate shootouts, with Kerr chief amongst them, however there is no such thing as a larger theatre than a penalty shootout and this one delivered from the depth of feelings to the number of narratives. Long dwell the penalty shootout!

WHAT DOES FIFA NEED TO DO BETTER IN 2027? Have somebody in cost who doesn’t have to be satisfied of the worth of ladies’s soccer and its value as an funding, however somewhat somebody who is able to proceed pushing the sport to the heights everybody inside it is aware of it could possibly attain.

Julien Laurens

WAS THIS THE BEST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP EVER? Yes it was. The high quality was the very best now we have ever seen, the drama was there, the totally different types of soccer too, the ambiance was wonderful, some gamers made a reputation for themselves, loads of great tales have been informed and the very best staff gained in the long run.



‘Gutted’ England gamers react to World Cup remaining defeat

Beth England, Georgia Stanway, Mary Earps and Millie Bright mirror upon England’s loss to Spain within the Women’s World Cup remaining.

WHO IS YOUR PICK FOR GOLDEN BALL? Bonmatí, and there is no debate. She is only a great participant. She dominated video games virtually on her personal. She is so gifted technically whereas seeing the sport earlier than anybody else on the pitch. England are nonetheless looking for a technique to restrict her affect on the ultimate! She is just 26, so she’s going to maintain getting higher too, and I anticipate her to win the Ballon d’Or as effectively.

(4-3-3) — Musovic; Batlle, Irene Paredes (Spain), Ilestedt, Carmona; Bonmati, Abelleira, Miyazawa; Paralluelo, Hermoso, Diani.

Obviously seven gamers from Spain are in my staff of the event. Apart from the Japan defeat within the group phases, these gamers have been excellent all event. Musovic’s efficiency in opposition to the USA was among the best particular person shows of the World Cup. Miyazawa completed high scorer and Diani had probably the most objective involvement.

BIGGEST BREAKOUT STAR IN 2023? Paralluelo. We knew what an unimaginable expertise she was earlier than the beginning of the event, however for her to be so good by this World Cup confirmed that there is no such thing as a ceiling for her. As a sub or a starter, she was sturdy, highly effective, skillful and good. And it is just the start.

FAVORITE MOMENT/GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT I noticed Marta play dwell, I noticed Caicedo’s surprise objective for Colombia in opposition to Germany and I noticed Cox’s unimaginable free kick for Panama in opposition to France too, however witnessing the Australia vs. France penalty shootout tops all of it. It was simply distinctive. The ambiance in Brisbane was deafening and the drama of the penalties was unmatched. For soccer/soccer in Australia, it was big, too.

As unhappy as I used to be for my nation, it was unbelievable to be there.

WHAT DOES FIFA NEED TO DO BETTER IN 2027? FIFA must care extra. It cannot make a large number once more of the sale of the TV rights. FIFA’s president wants to truly be on website by the entire event and never only a few days right here and there (and his UEFA counterpart ought to be there a minimum of for the ultimate if it entails one or two of his confederation’s members)! FIFA must push extra digital content material ahead so extra of the world can entry the World Cup on social media.


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