The 2023 Fifa Ladies’s World Cup is simply days away, as the very best gamers from throughout the globe journey to Australia and New Zealand with their eyes on one prize.
If you’re a brand new fan of girls’s soccer, having been drawn in by England’s European Championship triumph final summer time or desirous to bask in a month of summer time sport, we now have you lined.
BBC Sport has picked out 10 of the largest stars who may have a significant affect of their nation’s hunt for glory…
Sam Kerr (Australia)
If the Ladies’s World Cup have been a Hollywood film, Kerr could be the primary character. The 29-year-old striker is the co-host nation’s captain, major striker and most recognisable participant. She is the Matildas’ all-time document scorer and even carried the Australian flag at King Charles’ coronation.
“One factor is her particular person qualities as a footballer, however much more precious to this crew is what she provides as an individual and the way she carries them,” Australia supervisor Tony Gustavsson mentioned. “It is wonderful.”
A serial winner and a big-game participant at Chelsea – the place her supervisor Emma Hayes has known as her “the best in the business” – Kerr’s purpose is now to deliver that top-tier prowess to bear for Australia.
Alexia Putellas (Spain)
Whether or not being dominated out of Euro 2022 with a knee ligament damage, or going loggerheads with the Spanish FA over their remedy of the ladies’s crew, the 29-year-old midfielder’s path to worldwide glory has been suffering from obstacles.
The presence of Putellas in Australia and New Zealand for Spain is essential. Winner of the Ballon d’Or for the final two seasons, in addition to seven league titles and two Champions Leagues throughout her Barcelona profession, Putellas is extensively considered the world’s greatest feminine footballer.
“I all the time mentioned to the gamers, if you do not know what to do with the ball, go to Alexia and she’s going to know,” mentioned former Barcelona coach Lluis Cortes. “She is ready to make the very best choices each time.”
Ada Hegerberg (Norway)
On the pitch, the 28-year-old Hegerberg is among the many greatest gamers lately. She received the inaugural ladies’s Ballon d’Or – awarded to the very best footballer of the 12 months – in 2018, whereas for Lyon she has collected eight French league titles and 6 Ladies’s Champions Leagues to date.
Off the pitch, the ahead has fought again from critical damage, whereas she refused to play for Norway for 5 years in protest at how the nationwide affiliation handled its ladies’s crew, before returning for Euro 2022.
“She is world class and has delivered objective after objective on the largest soccer phases for a lot of years,” former Norway supervisor Martin Sjogren mentioned earlier than Euro 2022. “In fact, getting her again means quite a bit to the Norwegian nationwide crew.”
Alex Morgan (United States)
4 years in the past, striker Morgan infuriated England fans with her tea-drinking celebration after scoring in the US’ 2019 World Cup semi-final win. Now 34, she has the flexibility to fireside the US all the way in which once more, as they aim an unprecedented third successive title and she or he seems so as to add to her 9 targets in 18 World Cup video games.
“She is the uncommon instance of a soccer participant who has transcended her personal sport to carry a spot in mainstream tradition,” US ladies’s soccer journalist Caitlin Murray mentioned in 2021.
Though it is going to be her fourth World Cup, US coach Vlatko Andonovski mentioned Morgan was as excited as ever. “Alex has been on this scenario so many alternative occasions, however you may inform [the call-up] touched her,” he added.
The outspoken striker, who has scored 121 targets in 207 internationals, was additionally central to the US women’s national team’s fight for equal pay and criticism of Fifa’s now-abandoned plans to partner with Saudi Arabia as a sponsor for the 2023 World Cup.
Keira Walsh (England)
The metronome conserving time within the centre of England’s midfield, the 26-year-old Walsh was named participant of the match within the Euro 2022 ultimate to cap a sensational particular person event.
She has since moved to Barcelona, received the Champions League and cemented her standing as one of many world’s greatest playmakers.
“She’s a incredible participant and we’re very fortunate to have her,” Barcelona winger Caroline Graham Hansen mentioned. “She has superb imaginative and prescient for the sport. She has tailored effectively. It isn’t simple to come back to Barca and play as a quantity six. She’s taken that with ease.”
The 59-cap worldwide may even have an enhanced management function for the Lionesses within the absence of injured captain – and her good buddy – Leah Williamson.
Alexandra Popp (Germany)
Had the 32-year-old striker been match to play within the Euros ultimate final summer time, the result towards England may simply have been very completely different. Popp scored in each recreation she performed at Euro 2022, whereas she helped Wolfsburg attain the 2023 Champions League ultimate where they lost 3-2 to Barcelona having been two targets up.
“Whenever you see her on the pitch, she is an intimidating determine,” ex-England defender Anita Asante mentioned of Popp throughout Euro 2022.
“She’s deadly within the air. Her aerial means, the facility, the leap that she has, and her means to make use of her physicality – that is one in every of her tremendous strengths.”
The 37-year-old Marta has struggled with damage for the final 12 months and missed the Finalissima defeat by England in April; nevertheless, the legendary ahead is within the Brazil squad for what might be her sixth World Cup.
Brazil’s all-time main scorer, with 115 targets in 175 video games, quick-footed ability and aptitude has seen her in contrast with male World Cup winners akin to Ronaldinho, Romario and even Pele. The face of the crew for years, her expertise may show invaluable.
“Marta is the queen, she is an icon. Simply being round her is contagious,” mentioned Brazil supervisor Pia Sundhage after announcing her squad.
Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria)
Nigeria have been to each Ladies’s World Cup since 1991 however solely as soon as have reached the quarter-finals. If they’re to really make their mark on the worldwide stage, then 28-year-old striker Oshoala might be key.
“When you have got Oshoala, you have got an opportunity towards any crew,” mentioned Nigeria’s American coach Randy Waldrum, referring each to the striker’s objective document – 83 strikes in 89 Barcelona league matches – and trophy haul.
Oshoala’s honours function a Champions League title, three African championships for Nigeria, back-to-back titles from a spell in China, and a Ladies’s FA Cup from 2016 with Arsenal. She received the BBC Ladies’s Footballer of the Yr award in 2015, whereas with Liverpool.
Wendie Renard (France)
Renard, a 32-year-old defender, said in March she would miss the World Cup “to protect my psychological well being”. Nevertheless, she returned following the sacking of coach Corinne Diacre in an enormous increase for the French.
With 15 Division 1 Female titles and eight Champions Leagues for Lyon, the 145-cap worldwide is the figurehead for her nationwide crew, trying to make up for World Cup disappointment on dwelling turf in 2019.
“She is so inspirational,” Aston Villa and France midfielder Kenza Dali mentioned of Renard. “She is the primary and final at coaching and works so exhausting. She’s a pure chief and a correct captain.”
Pernille More durable (Denmark)
Having missed most of final season with a hamstring damage, the 30-year-old attacking midfielder performed a game-changing function for Chelsea off the bench within the 2023 Ladies’s FA Cup ultimate towards Manchester United – simply as More durable has in so many matches in her stellar profession.
She grew to become the world’s costliest feminine footballer in 2020 following her transfer to west London from Wolfsburg. She has been named Uefa Participant of the Yr twice and reached the Champions League ultimate with each Wolfsburg and Chelsea. She was runner-up for the Ballon d’Or in 2018 and recently signed for Bayern Munich.
“Her motion, her work charge, the flexibility to hyperlink up,” enthused BBC pundit Alex Scott after the Ladies’s FA Cup ultimate in Could. “It was her that really made the large distinction for Chelsea to go on and win this recreation.”
Denmark will hope for the same affect at their first World Cup since 2007, and More durable’s maiden look on the world event.