The FIFA Women’s World Cup is set to begin Thursday, with co-hosts Australia and New Zealand, as well as Canada, kicking off the festivities. The tournament will run for a month, concluding with the August 20 final in Sydney.
How to watch and stream
- English: FOX, FS1, FS2
- Spanish: Telemundo, Peacock
- July 20-August 20
- Australia and New Zealand
The United States are the defending champions and favorites to win a record third straight title and fifth overall. But there are plenty of contenders.
Germany, the only other nation to win consecutive World Cups (2003, 2007), are ranked No. 2 in the latest FIFA world rankings; England are the defending European champions and boast a squad that reached the semifinals in each of the last two World Cups; Spain are looking to take another step forward after advancing to the Round of 16 in 2019, when La Roja fell 2-1 to eventual champions United States. And France are seeking their first World Cup title in their fifth appearance after back-to-back quarterfinal ousters.
There’s also plenty of star power down under, with the incomparable Marta likely representing Brazil for the last time in a World Cup. The same is true of USWNT star Megan Rapinoe, who will retire at the end of the NWSL season. Australia’s Sam Kerr, who has 63 goals in 120 international appearances, will be willed on by an entire nation. And then there’s Spain’s Alexia Putellas, the Barcelona midfielder who won back-to-back Ballon d’Or Féminin awards in 2021 and 2022.
The US, who take on Vietnam in their Group E opener on Friday, July 21, are the clear favorites and have won all eight matches they’ve played in 2023, outscoring the opposition 19-1.
There are plenty of familiar faces from the team that defeated the Netherlands in Lyon four years ago to win a fourth World Cup title, including Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle, who scored a goal apiece in that final. And there’s Alex Morgan, who scored a remarkable 121 goals in 206 international appearances and is competing in her fourth World Cup, as well as Julie Ertz, Crystal Dunn and Kelley O’Hara, all starters in the 2019 World Cup final.
Plenty of young players will also be competing at the World Cup for the first time, including Sophia Smith (12 goals in 30 appearances) and Trinity Rodman, who came off the bench to score a pair of goals in a 2-0 victory over Wales at the San Jose Earthquakes’ PayPal Park on July 9.
Defenders Naomi Girma and Alana Cook will try to fill the void of captain Becky Sauerbrunn, who will miss the World Cup due to a foot injury. Also out injured are Mal Swanson (patella tendon tear) and Christen Press (ACL).
After meeting Vietnam, the USWNT will face the Netherlands in a 2019 World Cup final rematch on July 26 before closing out Group E action on Aug. 1 against Portugal. All three matches will be played in New Zealand.
Canada have high expectations and for good reason, after winning the gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics with a penalty kick victory over Sweden.
Canada have reached the knockout round in each of the last two tournaments, a quarterfinal finish on home soil in 2015 and a Round of 16 exit in France four years later.
They’re led by one of the greatest strikers of her generation with Christine Sinclair set for her swan song in Australia/New Zealand. The 40-year-old has scored more international goals (190) than anyone else — men or women — and is one of three players to score in five World Cups, alongside Marta and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Canada, who played England to a 0-0 draw in a behind-doors friendly in Australia on July 14, also feature Chelsea midfielder Jessie Fleming, who scored in the penalty kick shootout against Sweden to win the gold medal in 2020 and the winner against the United States in the semifinals, as well as Manchester United forward Adriana Leon, who has 28 goals for Canada, and Lyon defender Vanessa Gilles.
Canada, ranked No. 7 in the FIFA world rankings, are in Group B. They open against Nigeria on Thursday, July 20, before facing the Republic of Ireland (July 26) and closing out the group stage against hosts Australia (July 31). All three matches will be played in Australia.