Group G of the 2023 Women’s World Cup is headlined by a bonafide contender and three teams looking to take a step forward on the international stage. Sweden has high expectations for the tournament and the first move toward achieving them is winning the group. Italy and Argentina both have strong attacking options while South Africa is known for their defensive acumen. The group is on the same side of the bracket as Group E so the USWNT will see one of these teams when the knockout rounds begin.
Schedule (based on Eastern Time kickoffs)
Sunday, July 23rd
Sweden vs. South Africa
Monday, July 24th
Italy vs. Argentina
Friday, July 28th
Argentina vs. South Africa
Saturday, July 29th
Sweden vs. Italy
Wednesday, August 2nd
Argentina vs. Sweden
South Africa vs. Italy
Sweden followed up their trip to the Semi-Finals in the 2022 Women’s Euro with something of a rough start to 2023. The team beat China in February but drew Germany, lost to Denmark, and drew with Norway. Still, the Blue and Yellow have high expectations for the tournament and their mix of experienced players hitting their career prime sets up a potentially deep run in the World Cup.
FIFA Ranking: 3
Recent Record: 1-2-1
Odds of Winning Group: Co-Favorites
One to Watch: Stina Blackstenius is the main scoring threat for the team and showed as much with her five goals during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She also stepped up as a regular starter for Arsenal with eight goals in 22 appearances for the North London club.
After a memorable showing in the 2019 World Cup, Italy have once again qualified and are looking to take the next step on the international stage. In 2022, the team lost to Belgium and England before beating South Korea in the Arnold Clark Cup. Since then, the team Beat Colombia, drew with Morocco and beat New Zealand in friendlies as the tournament approaches.
FIFA Ranking: 16
Recent Record: 3-1-2
Odds of Winning Group: Co-Favorites
One to Watch: Center forward Cristiana Girilli has been a mainstay for the national team and was the leading scorer with eight goals in 10 games during qualification. This year in Serie A she tallied 15 goals in 23 games and added another four in six Champions League matches. Le Azzurre are built to attack and the forward is the tip of the spear going forward.
La Albiceleste are undefeated in 2023 with wins over Chile, New Zealand twice, Venezuela, and Peru and a draw with Venezuela thrown in as well. This followed their 3rd place finish in the 2022 Copa America as the team continues to take steps forward on the international stage.
FIFA Ranking: 28
Recent Record: 5-1-0
Odds of Winning Group: Dark Horse
One to Watch: Forward Yamila Rodriguez led the Copa America with five goals in the tournament. She began her career with Boca Juniors where she scored the first ever goal for their women’s side at home in 2019. She also has a tattoo of Ronaldo on her left leg to give an idea of the style of play she aspires to.
South Africa make their second trip to the World Cup on the heels of a promising 2022 which saw the team win the African Cup of Nations and reach the final of the 2022 COSAFA Women’s Championship but ultimately fall short to Zambia. This year the Banyana Banyan earned a win and a draw against Uzbekistan and Slovinia respectively in the Turkish Women’s Cup. In friendlies the team has lost to Serbia and Botswana but earned a win against Costa Rica.
FIFA Ranking: 53
Recent Record: 2-1-2
Odds of Winning Group: In the Running
One to Watch: South Africa can at times struggle to score so their defense is heavily relied upon to keep them within striking distance or to hold the opposition scoreless. Bambanani Mbane is a key part of the defense and represented the team at the World Cup in 2019 as well.
Who will advance from Group G? What matches are most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.