The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off on Thursday. The ninth edition of the tournament travels to Australia and New Zealand from July 20-Aug. 20 and promises to be the most widely watched one to date. The defending champions, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) will open their campaign against Vietnam on Saturday, July 22.
There are eight groups consisting of four nations, each country will play every team in their group once. The top two teams in each group will then move on to the knockout stages of the tournament.
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2023 Women’s World Cup: Group D
- Nickname: Lionesses
- FIFA Rank: 4th
- World Cup appearances: 6th
- Best finish: 3rd (2015)
The defending European champions will open their campaign against Haiti on July 22. England manager Sarina Wiegman has opted for youth and experience this summer, adding the likes of Lauren James and Katie Robinson to a team full of veteran stars. England’s overall squad depth and world-class ability across the field have them as fourth favorites at the tournament behind the USA, Germany, and France. Beaten by the USA in the 2019 semifinals, the Lionesses will fancy a shot at the top prize this summer following their landmark Euros triumph just a year ago.
- Nickname: Les Grenadieres
- FIFA Rank: 53rd
- World Cup appearances: 1st
- Best finish: N/A
The Haitian squad finds itself in one of the toughest groups of the competition but will be determined to make a mark at their first WWC. The Caribbean island has been the victim of natural disasters in 2010 and 2021 and football has offered an outlet and opportunity for celebration. “I feel so much joy, and I’m incredibly proud,” said Haiti captain Nerilia Mondesir shortly after qualification had been achieved. “People back home were counting on us.”
Frenchman Nicholas Delépine guided Les Grenadieres comfortably past Chile to punch their ticket to this summer’s finals.
- Nickname: The Danes
- FIFA Rank: 13th
- World Cup appearances: 5th
- Best finish: Quarterfinals (1995)
While the ‘Best Female Footballer on the Planet’ of 2020 hails from Ikast, Denmark, this Danish side hasn’t reached the WWC since 2007. Their 30-year-old striker, Pernille Harder, will make her WWC debut this Saturday versus 14th-ranked China Republic. It’s been a long road back for the Danes, their manager Lars Sondergaard has taken a particular focus on defending in numbers and set-piece play. They’re ranked 13th coming into the group stages, trending in the right direction having won their last four.
- Nickname: Steel Roses
- FIFA Rank: 14th
- World Cup appearances: 8th
- Best finish: 2nd (1999)
Losing to USA on penalties in 1999 is the closest China has come to lifting a WWC trophy. Since then they’ve reached three quarterfinals. Last year’s Asian Cup champions will travel Down Under with final 16 hopes but will have to navigate through a tough group first. China’s leader at both ends, Wang Shanshan, playing in her third World Cup, will be joined by current Madrid playmaker Tang Jiali, to combine in attack for the Steel Roses.
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