Canada and cohost australian are two of the most interesting teams in the tournament. They met in a pair of friendlies in Australia in September, both won by Canada. But seven months later the Aussies defeated the European champions England. Australia’s all-time leading goal scorer, Sam Kerr, is a bonafide star, as evidenced by his appearance on the cover of FIFA 23. He will lead the Matildas as they look to reach the semifinals for the first time .
The World Cup could be one last shot at glory for Canada’s Christine Sinclair. The 40-year-old has scored more international goals—190—than any player in history, male or female. He scored three in the World Cup 20 years ago when his team finished fourth but has not matched that result since. Canada enters the tournament with some serious hardware, having won gold at the Tokyo Olympics. A disappointing final finish at the SheBelieves Cup in February wasn’t enough to dampen Canada’s hopes.
Nigeria is the only African nation to reach the quarter-finals, but a tough group will make it difficult to repeat the 1999 run – especially after a dip in form that saw its streak of three WAFCON titles end in last summer. IrelandMeanwhile, qualifying for the first World Cup amid much controversy: The team was fined for singing a pro-IRA chant after beating Scotland in its qualifying playoff, and in December coach Vera Pauw was involved in an investigation of misconduct in the NWSL, allegations he has denied.
Expected Group Finish
Asisat Oshoala, Nigeria
The five-time African Women’s Footballer of the Year has never scored more than once in a World Cup. Look for that to change. After sharing the 2021-22 Liga F scoring title with Spain, the striker sustained a ligament strain at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations last summer. Since his return, the 28-year-old has led Barcelona in goals this season (21), and he scored in his first game back for the Super Falcons this spring.
Due to high ticket demand, Australia’s opener against Ireland was moved from Sydney Football Stadium (42,000 capacity) across town to Stadium Australia (82,500)—an indication of the tournament’s popularity.
Canada vs. Australia, July 31
This matchup could decide the group’s runner-up, who will likely play European champ England in the round of 16.