Mon. Oct 3rd, 2022

With simply over 300 days till the world descends on Australia and New Zealand for the Women’s World Cup, pleasure has by no means been greater.

October is about to be a giant month in preparation for the event with the ultimate direct European slots to be determined and the World Cup draw to be performed on Oct. 22 in Auckland.

As it stands, 27 nations have certified for the expanded 32-team event after a busy July window, stuffed to the brim with continental competitions. While some groups have prolonged their streaks of by no means having missed a Women’s World Cup, others shall be dreaming about their first World Cup matches. This is a rundown of each workforce that has certified for the 2023 version.

The first of the 2023 host nations, Australia has tried repeatedly to stage a soccer World Cup, beginning in 2003, notoriously constantly in 2010, and at last, efficiently, bidding for 2023. Tony Gustavsson is the person tasked with main the Matildas on residence soil however his tenure has been something however easy crusing.

A fourth-placed end on the Olympics and a quarterfinals exit on the Asian Cup maybe present the most effective summation of the place Australia is at proper now. When they’re good, they’re nice. When they’re dangerous, it feels disastrous. Tipping the scales again into ‘good’ territory, and holding it there constantly, is the problem for the Matildas proper now.

New Zealand will develop into the primary OFC host of a significant worldwide event when the world involves play in 2023. The Football Ferns had been on the inaugural World Cup in 1991, they usually have not missed a event since 2007. However, they’ve additionally by no means received a World Cup match so residence soil in 2023 might properly be the proper setting.

The workforce didn’t take part within the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in July, opening the door for a first-time winner. Instead, Jitka Klimkova’s aspect has been traversing the globe and lately nabbed wins in opposition to the Philippines and Mexico in addition to a draw with Wales and a loss to Norway. The Ferns might want to use the lead-up to the World Cup to seek out appropriate midfielders having misplaced Ria Percival and Annalie Longo to long-term knee accidents prior to now six months.

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Joey Lynch tells The National Curriculum that he’s fed up with the “excuses” Tony Gustavsson has been making as Matildas head coach.

Through enlargement comes alternative, and the Philippines have felt this in additional methods than one. The expanded Asian Cup and World Cup tournaments have introduced extra alternatives than ever, and the nationwide workforce, beneath head coach Alen Stajcic, has gone on a recruitment drive, tapping in to the Filipino diaspora, significantly within the United States.

The Malditas have performed a monumental 25 matches in 2022, with the Asian Cup, Southeast Asian Games, and AFF Championship — which they received on residence soil — offering event expertise. Scheduled friendlies in opposition to Costa Rica will present additional alternatives to benchmark themselves in opposition to a fellow World Cup-bound aspect.

South Korea certified for a fourth World Cup, and a 3rd consecutive event, by ending second on the Asian Cup earlier this yr. Defeat within the closing was undeniably disappointing for the Taegeuk Ladies, however it represented progress because the workforce had by no means beforehand made the decider of an Asian Cup.

This workforce has lengthy proven it’s among the many finest in Asia, however translating that competitiveness continentally to the worldwide stage hasn’t at all times been forthcoming. The Taegeuk Ladies are greater than able to matching the most effective, as evidenced by attracts in opposition to the USWNT in late 2021 and Canada in mid-2022; however now they want to take the subsequent step to construct on their finest World Cup outcome — a Round-of-16 exit.

Once a world powerhouse in girls’s soccer, China are having fun with “a brand new begin”, in keeping with their coach. The Steel Roses have certified for all however one World Cup, they usually reached the 2023 event by profitable the Asian Cup. That was their first continental victory in 16 years, and it represented an unmatched ninth Asian Cup success.

China, like many groups which have certified for 2023, are present process a little bit of a refresh inside their squad. At one finish of the spectrum are the likes of Wang Shuang and Wang Shanshan, who boast greater than 260 caps and nearly 100 objectives between them; on the different finish are gamers with fewer than 20 caps. China have at all times made it out of the group stage at World Cups, at a minimal, and they are going to be hoping their mixture of expertise and youth can information them deep into the event.

Japan certified for a ninth straight World Cup however did so in a fashion that maybe wasn’t as convincing as they’d have preferred. With the Asian Cup doubling as World Cup qualifying, and Nadeshiko heading to the event because the two-time reigning hosts, there was some degree of expectation on the workforce. But a semifinals defeat by China, on penalties, noticed them fail to make the ultimate for the primary time since 2010.

Nadeshiko are present process a rebuild following immense success within the 2010s; outcomes aren’t what they want now, however Japan have basically futureproofed their squad and proceed to develop gamers able to going deep in youth worldwide tournaments. Whether the rebuild has been timed to coincide with a problem in 2023 stays to be seen.

Vietnam will make their World Cup debut in 2023, after profitable the Asian Cup repechage to earn the ultimate direct qualification spot from Asia. That repechage noticed them defeat Chinese Taipei and 2019 World Cup debutants Thailand to keep away from the intercontinental playoff.

Vietnam have lengthy been a regional powerhouse, profitable Southeast Asian Games medals and constantly ending within the high 4 of the AFF Championship. There remains to be a bridge to be crossed with regards to competing with the continent’s finest on the Asian Cup, nevertheless, however the expanded tournaments have given Vietnam a chance they would not have in any other case had.

Spain’s stature and repute have been rising in worldwide circles, and there’s a lot to love about La Roja; this pleasure has been occurring in entrance of a backdrop of discontent that has solely grown louder in current months, nevertheless. The taking part in group is reportedly sad with supervisor Jorge Vilda, and the federation seems to be doubling down on assist for the coach slightly than listening to the gamers’ issues. The federation has a historical past of neglecting and ignoring participant issues, resulting in a fractured relationship.

Despite this, and definitely not due to it, Spain proceed to supply outcomes on the park. Their Euro 2022 quarterfinals exit by the hands of England was properly wanting expectations, however their World Cup qualifying marketing campaign was actually flawless: Eight video games, eight wins, 53 objectives scored, zero conceded. Alexia Putellas ‘ return from an ACL damage needs to be the largest fear for the Spanish workforce, however the background discontent might threaten to derail this golden technology.

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France are one other workforce that continuously appears to play properly regardless of tensions off the pitch; divisions inside the workforce, an unhealthy setting, and the pressure between gamers and coach Corinne Diacre, are well-known and properly documented.

Euro 2022 noticed the workforce break by means of the quarterfinals barrier, solely to lose to Germany within the semifinals. They went by means of World Cup qualifying with a 10-0 document, however in a bunch the place Wales had been Les Bleues‘ stiffest competitors. France have misplaced just one sport this yr, their Euros semifinal, and but the extent of angst and concern across the workforce is as excessive as ever. There is at present no indication that any of this shall be resolved to ensure that the workforce to make a tilt on the trophy in 2023.

Sweden topped Group A of European qualifying, dropping factors solely after they drew with Republic of Ireland in April 2022, and this shall be their ninth look on the pinnacle of ladies’s soccer. Hopes had been excessive for Blågult on the Euros in the course of the yr, after they had been coming off a silver medal on the Olympics, and Adidas’ advertising marketing campaign for the Swedish package included a “How to Beat Sweden” information on the tags of the jersey. But it may be argued that the workforce by no means actually hit the heights anticipated, they usually misplaced 4-0 to eventual champions England within the semifinals.

Peter Gerhardsson’s aspect are at all times a risk on the world stage, however they have to present they don’t seem to be perennial bridesmaids. Stern assessments in opposition to France and Spain await the workforce within the October window, whereas a visit to Australia in November will provide best preparation for subsequent yr.

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Lindsey Horan credit Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Kelley O’Hara’s expertise in serving to her develop as a frontrunner with the USWNT.

Denmark certified for his or her first World Cup since 2007 by topping Group E of the European qualifiers. Eight wins from eight video games, 40 objectives scored and solely two conceded, each in opposition to Montenegro, made it a flawless marketing campaign for De rød-hvide.

Some pundits anticipated the Danes to construct on their Euros 2017 runners-up end by progressing deep into the 2022 event, however the workforce exited within the group stage; it was at all times going to be a tricky process with Spain and Germany within the group. Denmark have undeniably proficient gamers however their Euros marketing campaign appears like an correct indicator of the place they’re at globally; good however not nice.

Was there ever a doubt the two-time reigning world champions would qualify for a ninth straight World Cup? The USWNT progressed by means of the CONCACAF W Championship with out dropping a degree or conceding a aim on the best way to a ninth continental title. But the convenience with which they certified for the World Cup is not the story. This workforce goes by means of a rebuild after a decade of success constructed on the backs of gamers who’re now not a part of the set-up.

Things are on no account good for the USWNT — with regeneration comes rising pains — however they’re sustaining a near-flawless document of outcomes. Friendlies in opposition to England, Spain, and Germany shut out the yr, and people video games shall be a implausible barometer of the place groups stand globally lower than a yr out from the World Cup.

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Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez debate whether or not expectations need to be excessive for the USWNT in opposition to England and Spain.

Costa Rica return to the worldwide stage for the primary time since Canada 2015, making their second look at a World Cup. Las Ticas defeated Trinidad & Tobago and Panama, however misplaced to Canada, the USWNT and Jamaica to complete fourth within the CONCACAF W Championship.

Costa Rica will come up a gainst the Philippines within the October worldwide window, in what needs to be a pair of fascinating clashes, however they’re on a five-game dropping streak that has prolonged past the continental event with two defeats by Colombia. Back in 2015, Costa Rica provided different groups a shock, nabbing factors off Spain and South Korea. With an expanded event they will hope to shock much more nations and progress out of the group.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medallists, Canada proved final yr that they may win on the world stage. They couldn’t repeat their efforts from Japan on this yr’s CONCACAF W Championship in Mexico, however Canada have continued to evolve beneath Bev Priestman. With qualification secured, the aim is now to develop into a workforce that scores as simply as they maintain groups out.

Their two-game pleasant collection in opposition to Australia confirmed they had been nonetheless totally able to producing a 1-0 win however might additionally come from behind. It additionally supplied invaluable minutes to the gamers of tomorrow. Glimpses of the extra attacking, free-scoring Canada had been proven on the continental event, and there may be nonetheless time for the workforce to make {that a} extra outlined pillar of their play. You do not wish to be peaking 9 months out from the World Cup.

The story of ladies’s soccer has so usually been a story of accomplishment regardless of the environment, and Jamaica are among the many prime examples. A second consecutive third-placed end on the CONCACAF W Championship secured a second consecutive qualification to a World Cup — one thing no Caribbean workforce had completed within the males’s or girls’s sport — however this success comes regardless of the Jamaican Football Federation not due to it.

The workforce’s story is properly documented: The help of Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella, has taken them from non-existent to consecutive World Cups within the house of six years. But a scarcity of funding and care from the federation continues to hamper and hinder the Reggae Girlz; most lately, they had been stranded within the United States on the best way residence from the CONCACAF W Championship. The workforce’s unity has been a saving grace they usually’ll hope to channel that right into a maiden World Cup win in 2023.

Zambia adopted their first Olympic marketing campaign in 2021 by ending third on the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations to say their maiden World Cup berth — albeit victory in opposition to perennial African champions Nigeria within the third-place playoff was a powerful feat in itself. Moreover, the girl who grew to become the face of the Copper Queens on the Olympics, Barbra Banda, was unable to proceed scoring for enjoyable after she, amongst a lot of gamers, was controversially prevented from competing at WAFCON resulting from excessive testosterone ranges.

Zambia’s bronze medal in Morocco was their finest WAFCON end, and it completely encapsulated the duality of the workforce. They are enjoyable to observe and may rating for enjoyable, however might be scored in opposition to simply as simply. This rollercoaster vibe is certain to win them followers in 2023 however perhaps not as many video games.

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Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens focus on the expansion of ladies’s soccer after a vastly profitable Euro 2022 event.

17. Morocco

South Africa are the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations champions, however Morocco are equally on the forefront of the brand new brigade in girls’s soccer in Africa. The Moroccan federation’s funding in girls’s soccer seems to be paying fast dividends, and whereas the Atlas Lionesses finally fell brief in opposition to Banyana Banyana on residence soil they registered their first look in a closing at their first WAFCON in 22 years. The workforce was undoubtedly buoyed by the house crowds — 51,000 individuals watched the ultimate alone — however the Atlas Lionesses confirmed they may compete on the continental stage.

With their second-place end, Morocco grew to become the primary workforce from the Arab world to qualify for the World Cup, and they are going to be one in every of a handful of debutants collaborating in Australia and New Zealand. Whether the nation’s funding in girls’s soccer is sufficient to have them making an impression on the world stage is a query to be answered in 2023.

South Africa are making themselves comfy on the world stage having certified for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and securing back-to-back World Cup {qualifications} after debuting on the event in France in 2019. Banyana Banyana have been constructing inside Africa as properly, and their qualification for 2023 was achieved with their first Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title.

Five instances runners-up within the continental showpiece, they lastly earned the title of champions beneath the management of former participant Desiree Ellis — who had skilled a few of these losses as each participant and coach. South Africa’s emergence as a frontrunner in African girls’s soccer has been constructed on proficient gamers and plenty of arduous work. Their subsequent aim shall be to earn their very first factors at a World Cup.

No longer the unbeatable drive of African girls’s soccer, Nigeria completed fourth at this yr’s WAFCON — their equal-lowest rating on the continental event. Fourth would not appear that dangerous, however it’s fairly the drop given the Super Falcons received 11 of the earlier 13 tournaments. While they had been undoubtedly upset with their inserting, Morocco wanted penalties to defeat them within the semifinals whereas they misplaced the bronze closing by a single aim from Zambia.

Nigeria’s expertise, together with the likes of Barcelona star Asisat Oshoala, is such that the workforce should not be down for lengthy, having continued their document of qualifying for each World Cup.

Colombia return to the world stage for the primary time since 2015 after reaching the Copa America Femenina closing on residence soil. However, the workforce couldn’t discover a well past Brazil to say an elusive continental title; Las Cafeteras have completed second in three of the previous 4 Copas. Colombia have impressed on the continental stage for a while whereas created historical past internationally, too: Their win in opposition to France within the 2015 group stage is one in every of solely two South American victories on the World Cup not achieved by Brazil.

Like many South American groups, Colombia are arduous to gauge. The workforce does properly in opposition to fellow CONMEBOL sides and may maintain their very own in opposition to neighbouring CONCACAF groups; two wins in opposition to Costa Rica and 3-0 and 2-0 defeats by the USWNT are instances in level. But they play few matches past these areas.

The perennial South American champions have by no means missed an version of the Women’s World Cup, and Pia Sundhage’s aspect coasted by means of the Copa America Femenina with out dropping a degree or conceding a aim. The story in South America could be very a lot As Canarinhas and the remainder, however that narrative would not give the most effective image as to the place Brazil are globally.

The Brazilians are present process a regeneration, and their Copa victory with out Marta, Formiga or Cristiane marked the primary time the workforce had contested a significant event with none of the large thee since1995. It would seem the subsequent technology is able to proceed Brazil’s dominance on the continent however are they able to tackle the remainder of the world?

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England striker Alessia Russo speaks forward of England’s pleasant at Wembley in opposition to the USWNT in regards to the problem of going through the World Cup winners.

Argentina have certified for back-to-back World Cups, replicating their feat from 2003 and 2007, after they completed third on the 2022 Copa America Femenina. This inserting cemented the workforce as among the best of the remainder in South America, they usually haven’t completed decrease than fourth for the reason that inaugural Copa America Femenina in 1991 — which they didn’t enter.

Argentina have constantly fought for bare-minimum recognition and funding from their federation — like many groups throughout the globe — and their journey to the 2019 World Cup got here after two years of inactivity between 2015 and 2017. La Albiceleste haven’t been dormant, nor are the situations as dangerous as they as soon as had been, however progress is sluggish, significantly in contrast with the degrees of funding elsewhere.

It was totally unsurprising when Norway parted methods with Martin Sjögren following Euro 2022, at which the workforce did not progress after an entirely unimpressive marketing campaign that featured an 8-0 loss to England. World Cup qualifying, nevertheless, was extra simple, with solely a scoreless draw in opposition to Poland marring an in any other case complete show.

Norway have oodles of expertise however they they haven’t translated that into something significant of late; a quarterfinals look on the 2019 Women’s World Cup is the exception. Norwegian legend Hege Riise has been tasked with turning issues round; with World Cup qualification ticked off the to-do listing, subsequent comes a pleasant in opposition to the Netherlands, one other workforce hoping {that a} new coach will provide up higher fortunes.

Concern and confusion reigned when Germany misplaced to Serbia in World Cup qualifying after pleasant defeats by Canada and England and a draw with Spain; therefore Die Nationalelf did not charge a point out among the many event favourites heading into Euro 2022. This wasn’t to counsel they’d do poorly, simply that they would not win the event.

They flew delightfully beneath the radar, and solely England on residence soil prevented Germany from claiming yet one more European crown. But within the course of, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s aspect confirmed the subsequent technology of German expertise was able to tackle the world. Germany had been wonderful in World Cup qualifying, bar the blip in opposition to Serbia, and coming friendlies in opposition to the USWNT will affect how their chances are high seen within the lead as much as 2023.

There has arguably by no means been extra hype or extra pleasure surrounding the Lionesses, and with good cause. Their historic Euros victory on residence soil felt like a crowning glory, and it put to mattress at the least a few of the disappointment attributable to many years of almosts. The Euros win completely stands as a mighty achievement, however it additionally appears like a really vital step on the highway to potential world champion standing.

Sarina Wiegman is getting the most effective out of her gamers, a press release justified not solely by the Euros win but in addition by England’s document in World Cup qualifying: the Lionesses received all 10 qualifying video games, scoring 80 objectives with out reply. England’s coming pleasant in opposition to the United States at Wembley could possibly be the best indicator but as to the place the world order in girls’s soccer sits: With the reigning world champions or with the champions of Europe?

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Alessia Russo is introduced with an invitation for the Lionesses to Disneyland Paris following their Euro 2022 win.

The Netherlands have hit reset on their hopes for 2023 after a lacklustre Euro 2022. Mark Parsons was the coach for almost all of qualifying, however he won’t lead them down beneath after the workforce underperformed in England. The 2017 Euro champions had excessive hopes however did not put issues collectively throughout the continental event.

While the gamers and the federation now not trusted Parsons to get them the place they wished to go, he did play a job in blooding the subsequent technology of Oranje Leeuwinnen. Andries Jonker is now tasked with getting the Netherlands again into main event finals, and he has efficiently accomplished the job Parsons began. Will he have sufficient time to develop the workforce additional?

The battle between Italy and Switzerland to qualify immediately out of Group G was determined by the best margins. Italy topped the group by two factors solely after Switzerland had been held to a draw by Romania..

The Italians reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 2019 and there was some hope they’d replicate that effort within the European Championship. The workforce disappointing on the Euros, nevertheless, and did not make it past the group stage. An expanded event means Italy might match their efforts from France in Australia and New Zealand, however they might have to reset forward of 2023.

28 and 29. Spots 28 and 29 shall be determined through the UEFA playoffs, which sees the second-placed groups from the qualifying teams ranked in a collection of one-off matches. The backside six sides have been drawn in opposition to one another — Portugal vs. Belgium, Scotland vs. Austria, and Wales vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina — with the winners heading to spherical two. There they’ll meet one of many three finest second-placed groups: Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland. The two best-ranked groups from these winners, making an allowance for the group stage and second-round play-off outcomes, qualify immediately for the World Cup whereas the third workforce heads to the intercontinental playoff.

30, 31 and 32. The males’s sport has lengthy been acquainted with intercontinental playoffs however this can be a first for Women’s World Cup qualifying. The event will happen over 5 days in Auckland, New Zealand.

Europe could have one consultant, as famous above; OFC Women’s Cup winners Papua New Guinea will characterize Oceania; Paraguay and Chile, respectively the fourth and fifth-placed finishes on the Copa America Femenina, characterize South America; Haiti and Panama compete for North and Central America having completed third of their respective teams on the CONCACAF W Championship; and Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Cameroon and Senegal play after profitable by means of repechages on the Women’s Asian Cup and Women’s African Cup of Nations.

Of the 9 groups already certified for the playoff event, 4 have certified for the World Cup earlier than. Chinese Taipei will look to return to the world stage for the primary time since 1991, and Thailand, Cameroon and Chile will look to increase their runs of consecutive Word Cup appearances. Everyone else shall be dreaming of a really first Women’s World Cup.

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