We have finally reached the biggest tournament in women’s soccer. The 2023 Women’s World Cup begins next Thursday morning here in the United States, and 32 teams will fight for the right to earn the title of world champions and lift the Women’s World Cup trophy in the process.
This is the first Women’s World Cup that will have an expanded field of 32 teams, and is the first edition to be co-hosted by two teams. We begin with Group A, where co-hosts New Zealand are joined by Norway, the Philippines, and Switzerland to create an intriguing set of matchups.
Schedule (based on Eastern Time kickoffs)
Thursday, July 20th
New Zealand vs. Norway
Philippines vs. Switzerland
Monday, July 24th
New Zealand vs. Philippines
Tuesday, July 25th
Switzerland vs. Norway
Sunday, July 30th
Norway vs. Philippines
Switzerland vs. New Zealand
All eyes are on the Kiwi Ferns as they open up the tournament, the first to take place in the Southern Hemisphere. They bring the pressure of trying to advance out of the group, and they have built themselves up for this moment. They have a very difficult group ahead of them, but with the home field advantage that comes with being the co-hosts, they want to open the tournament by making a statement that the world better not underestimate them.
FIFA Ranking: 26
Recent Record: New Zealand is 1W-6L-1D in 2023, with their lone win coming against Vietnam in a friendly on July 10th.
Odds of Winning Group: In the running
One to Watch: Ali Riley is their captain and she’s going to try to quarterback this team to a strong finish.
Norway is back, and they’re here to re-introduce themselves to the world. Led by Ada Hegerberg, who sat out the 2019 World Cup to protest gender equity, Norway brings a solid squad to New Zealand that can beat anyone. Their attack should be of concern to any team in Group A that takes the field against them, as Norway wants to be considered one of the favorites to win it all.
FIFA Ranking: 12
Recent Record: Norway is 1W-2L-2D in 2023, with their lone win coming against Uruguay on February 15th.
Odds of Winning: Favorite
One to Watch: Caroline Graham Hansen is a prolific goal scorer who’s going to be counted on to produce a ton for the Norwegians and help them contend for a title.
The Philippines shocked the world in making their first ever Women’s World Cup, but they don’t want anyone to think it’s a surprise when they pick off a couple of matches in the tournament. They have a disciplined approach to the game, and they’re going to do what they can to frustrate their opponents into making a mistake. That’s when they strike. They won’t be afraid of anyone, and playing with no fear can carry you a long way in this tournament.
FIFA Ranking: 46
Recent Record: The Philippines are 5W-4L-0D in 2023. They have wins this year over Pakistan, Tajikistan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
Odds of Winning: Needs help
One to Watch: Sarina Bolden will look to help the Philippines shock some teams with her goal production.
Switzerland has built a squad that is tenacious and can tango with the best teams in the world. Their team has some versatile players who will give opponents fits, and they also have a solid defense that remains organized. There’s a reason they’re one of the top 20 teams in the world: their style of play keeps them in matches, and they have the ability to knock any team out of the tournament.
FIFA Ranking: 20
Recent Record: Switzerland is 0W-1L-5D in 2023.
Odds of Winning: Dark Horse
One to Watch: Ana Maria Crnogorčević has 70 goals for Switzerland, and she’s going to be one to watch in this group stage.
Who will advance from Group A? What matches are most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.