The men’s FIFA World Cup came to a dramatic conclusion Sunday with Argentina securing a thrilling win over France in penalty kicks, and luckily there’s no reason to bottle up even a drop of that enthusiasm. The U.S. Women’s National Team takes center stage in just seven short months, as the four-time champions look to defend their 2019 title in Australia and New Zealand at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
For the first time, the Women’s World Cup will feature 32 teams – eight more than in 2019. Several nations are set to make their debut, including Vietnam, which will face the USWNT in its opening group-stage match on July 22 at Eden Park in Auckland. The tournament kicks off with a doubleheader on July 20, with co-hosts New Zealand and Australia taking on Norway and the Republic of Ireland, respectively.
But the news gets better: Team USA is back in action next month in New Zealand, where they’ll conclude a six-day training camp with a two-game series on Jan. 17 and 20 against the co-host nation. What’s more, the USWNT also will participate in the SheBelieves Cup over Feb. 16-22 and will host Brazil, Canada and Japan in the four-team tournament. All four have already qualified for the 2023 World Cup and are ranked in the top 11 in the world — with the U.S. at No. 1, Canada at No. 6, Brazil at No. 9 and Japan at No. 11.
Additionally, Women’s World Cup action begins in February with a play-in tournament, where 10 teams will vie for the final three spots in 2023 tournament.
As for prize money, while the final numbers have yet to be released, it’s expected that the FIFA will more than double the prize money for 2023. In 2019 in France, the women’s prize money was $30 million — with the U.S. women winning $4 million — and reports suggest that figure reach $69 million or more for 2023. Of course, that’s still a far cry from the men’s 2022 World Cup prize pool, where Argentina took home $42 million of the $440 million total.
Read on as On Her Turf breaks down what you need to know heading into next year’s ninth edition of the Women’s World Cup.
When is the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
The upcoming edition of the Women’s World Cup is set to run from July 20th to August 20th with matches taking place in Australia and New Zealand. Telemundo will be the exclusive Spanish-language home of the tournament, with streaming also available on Peacock.
Veterans, fresh faces highlight USWNT roster for 2023 Women’s World Cup
The U.S. women will be led by star veterans including 37-year-old Megan Rapinoe, winner of the Golden Boot and Golden Ball in 2019, Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn and Alyssa Naeher.
But an infusion of new talent is poised to back up those veterans, led by forward Sophia Smith and center back Naomi Girma, who were teammates at Stanford and shined bright in the recent NWSL season. Smith, who won the 2022 championship with the Portland Thorns, was named league MVP, while Girma won both Rookie and Defender of the Year awards. Other young stars to keep an eye on are Mallory Pugh, 24, and 20-year-old Trinity Rodman, who was a Ballon d’Or finalist this year. Catarina Macario, 23, is recovering from a torn ACL but could return as early as late February.
USWNT on course to face England in 2023 Women’s World Cup final
The draw for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was announced in October, with the U.S. women and their perennial foe England on opposite sides of the bracket. The U.S. is aiming to become the first team in either the women’s or men’s game to win three successive World Cups, after taking the title in 2015 and 2019. But they face a battle in their Group E pairings, which includes the Netherlands, whom they beat in the final in Lyon, France, four years ago.
Also playing out of Group E is Vietnam and one team still to be determined. That spot will go to the winner of February’s Group A playoff, which includes Cameroon, Portugal and Thailand.
The USWNT World Cup group schedule (all times ET):
- Friday, July 21: USA vs. Vietnam, 9 p.m. ET at Eden Park (Auckland, N.Z.)
- Wednesday, July 26: USA vs. Netherlands, 9 p.m. at Wellington Regional Stadium (Wellington, N.Z.)
- Tuesday, Aug. 1: USA vs. Portugal/Cameroon/Thailand, 3 a.m. at Eden Park
The USWNT, led by head coach Vlatko Andonovski, secured its spot in the tournament this last July at the 2022 Concacaf W Championship, where it clinched the title with a 1-0 victory over 2020 Olympic gold medalist Canada and secured its spot in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
They closed out the 2022 calendar year with a 14-3-1 record, with all three losses coming in the later months of the year. The rare losing streak started with a 2-1 loss to England at iconic Wembley Stadium on Oct. 7, followed by a 2-0 loss to Spain on Oct. 11 and a 2-1 defeat by Germany on Nov. 10. They wrapped the year on a high note, beating Germany 2-1 on Nov. 13.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) October 28, 2022
Who’s playing in the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
A total of 32 nations will compete in the Women’s World Cup for the first time, up from 24 in 2015 and 2019. The event began as a 12-team tournament in 1991 and was expanded to include 16 countries in 1999. The number was increased to 24 teams ahead of the 2015 edition in Canada.
Currently, 29 nations have qualified for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, with three still to be determined in February through a playoff tournament. The groups are:
- Group A: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland
- Group B: Australia, Republic of Ireland, Nigeria, Canada
- Group C: Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan
- Group D: England, Group B playoff winner (Chile, Haiti or Senegal), Denmark, China
- Group E: United States, Vietnam, Netherlands, Group A playoff winner (Cameroon, Portugal or Thailand)
- Group F: France, Jamaica, Brazil, Group C playoff winner (Chinese Taipei, Panama, Papua New Guinea or Paraguay)
- Group G: Sweden, South Africa, Italy, Argentina
- Group H: Germany, Morocco, Colombia, South Korea
What’s the format for the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
The 32 teams were drawn into eight groups of four nations. Each team will play every team in their group once, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the knockout rounds.
The competition then moves onto a Round of 16 (Aug. 5-8), quarterfinals (Aug. 11-12), and semifinals (Aug. 15-16). The match to determine third place will be Aug. 19, with the final set for Saturday, Aug. 20. The tournament is being held across nine cities in Australia and New Zealand, with the final being held in the 83,500-person Stadium Australia in Sydney.
Portugal, Chile among 10 teams for still vying for spots in the Women’s World Cup
The competition to decide the final three final entrants to the 2023 Women’s World Cup is set for Feb. 18-23, with 10 teams from six confederations participating in the play-in tournament. World Cup co-host New Zealand will host the contest at two of the World Cup venues, Waikato Stadium in Hamilton and North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
The 10 teams that narrowly missed out on qualification via their confederations’ qualifying tournaments make up the intercontinental playoff field for one last chance at a World Cup berth:
- AFC (Asia): Chinese Taipei, Thailand
- CAF (Africa): Cameroon, Senegal
- Concacaf (North America): Haiti, Panama
- Conmebol (South America): Chile, Paraguay
- OFC (Oceania): Papua New Guinea
- UEFA (Europe): Portugal
The 10-team field was then divided into two groups of three teams and one group of four teams. They are:
- Group A: Portugal (top seed), Cameroon, Thailand
- Group B: Chile (top seed), Senegal, Haiti
- Group C: Chinese Taipei, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Panama
The top two seeds, Portugal and Chile, were given the top spots in Groups 1 and 2, respectively, and received first-round byes. The top seed in each group will face the winner of the first-round match between the two unseeded teams in the group final. Hence, Cameroon will face Thailand for the right to play Portugal in the Group A final, while the winners of Senegal-Haiti will take on Chile in Group B. In Group C, the third- and fourth-seeded teams — Chinese Taipei and Papua New Guinea — will take on unseeded Paraguay and Panama, respectively. The winners of each group will punch their tickets to the 2023 World Cup.
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