The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is getting closer and the draw, which took place in New Zealand on Saturday afternoon (local time), set the groups for the 32 participating nations — including those that our Thorns will represent.
The ninth edition of the biggest tournament in women’s soccer, to be held in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20, expanded to 32 national teams for this latest iteration.
Where did Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, and the USWNT end up? Should you get tickets to travel to New Zealand or to Australia? Find out below.
The Olympic gold medalists are in group B along with one of the host nations, Australia, one of the World Cup debutants, Republic of Ireland, and Nigeria.
After winning the gold medal in Tokyo, the Concacaf powerhouse will look to achieve what they have never done before: get to a World Cup final — and win it. Their best run at this competition was in the 2003 edition, where they reached the semifinals. They lost to the USWNT in the third place game, finishing fourth overall.
Their next best finish was in the in the 2015 World Cup which they hosted, where they reached the quarterfinal round for just the second time in their history.
Group B is SET #FIFAWWC @CANWNT will take on co-hosts Australia, the Republic of Ireland and Nigeria in the group phase of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Australia/New Zealand™ #WeCAN pic.twitter.com/fVl7DJO6Vw— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) October 22, 2022
It will be the sixth appearance of Christine Sinclair on a World Cup stage. Will this be the last for the great Canadian captain, and will she be able to retire on a high note?
In the case of Janine Beckie, the 28 years old will look to be included in the final roster to play in her second World Cup after France 2019.
Canada will debut on July 21 against Nigeria at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
The Ticas are back at a World Cup after their absence from the 2019 edition. This will be their second participation in the said tournament for them, with 2015 being their debut in the competition. Rocky Rodríguez debuted in that tournament at 21 years old and became the first Tica to score a goal in a World Cup.
In the past seven years, Rocky has become instrumental for coach Amelia Valverde and one of the most important Costa Rican players of all time. The Central American country finished third in the group in Canada 2015 and couldn’t get a win (two draws and one loss) in three matches. So first and foremost, they will look to get out of the group stage in 2023. It won’t be easy, though. Costa Rica is in group C, along with two top teams — Spain and Japan- — and the World Cup debutant Zambia.
The Ticas will debut on July 21 against Spain at Wellington Regional Stadium.
¡YA TENEMOS RIVALES!— FCRF (@fedefutbolcrc) October 22, 2022
Jugaremos en el Grupo C ante
España - 21 Julio - ️ Wellington
Zambia - 26 Julio - ️ Dunedin
Japón - 31 Julio - ️Waikato
¡VAMOS SELE! #FCRF #LaSeleFemenina #PuraVidaEnAuNz23 #FIFAWWCDra pic.twitter.com/tfPUgzavJL
The Nadeshiko need no introduction. They’re known for their technique and fast ball movement, and we can’t forget to mention that they are the 2011 World Cup champions and runners-up in 2015.
Nonetheless, in the past few years, they have lost some of their success. Japan’s coaches haven’t been able to give the group the necessary cohesiveness despite the individual talent. Having worked with Japan’s U-17 and U-20, coach Futoshi Ikeda will look to replicate the success he had with the younger national teams. Ikeda has been testing players since he took the position in 2021 and of course, Hina Sugita is in the national team picture. Although she’s not a veteran, she already has one World Cup under her belt (France 2019). Will Australia/New Zealand 2023 be her second? Her work rate shown with Portland seems to indicate so, but we have to wait and see.
This upcoming World Cup will bring a Thorns clash if both Rocky and Hina get the chance to play their second World Cup. Since both Japan and Costa Rica are in the same group, they’ll play each other on July 26 at Dunedin Stadium, NZ.
Japan’s debut will be on July 22 against Zambia at Waikato Stadium, NZ.
The defending champions are in Group E, along with Netherlands, Vietnam, and the Group A Playoff winner (Cameroon, Thailand, or Portugal).
The US has been dealing with growing pains since Vlatko Andonovski took the position of head coach. The transition from the 2019 generation to a younger one hasn’t been easy, but nobody can write the USA off, even though they don’t look like the overwhelming team they’ve been in past years. Time and time again, the USWNT has been able to reinvent itself, no matter who dons the jersey.
With more than nine months to go, they still have to keep developing chemistry on the field, recover some injured players and find their best number 6 available.
The US will debut on July 22 against Vietnam, a debutant of the World Cup. Then, they’ll play a pivotal game against the 2019 runners-up, the Netherlands, on July 27 at Wellington Regional Stadium. They’ll finish their group phase against the Group A playoff winner on August 1 at Eden Park.
While you were sleeping...— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) October 22, 2022
The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Draw occurred in New Zealand. ⤵️
Everything seems to indicate that this will be the first world cup for Sophia Smith, one where she will be seen as one of the protagonists inn the attack. Will Lindsey Horan continue as the first choice US number 6? Will this be the last world cup for USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn? And what about Sam Coffey? Will she make it to the final roster?
We have many questions, and with time flying by we will find out the answers to them soon.
With the groups set, who you got? Will the USWNT be able to win its third world cup in a row? Or someone else will do it? Drop your world cup predictions in the comments section!