FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Preview

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is finally here. Hawkeye Sidekick previews the tournament which several teams have genuine chances of securing World Cup glory.

Who is hosting the World Cup?

Australia and New Zealand earned the right to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Two countries who love their sport and will embrace this competition.

Ten venues will be used during the competition with New Zealand set to get the tournament underway with a daunting opening fixture against perennial powerhouse Norway on July 20th.

What is the format of the tournament?
It is like the men’s World Cup tournament format. There will be eight groups of four teams. The tournament opens with a group stage consisting of eight groups of four teams.

The top two teams progressing from each group to a knockout tournament starting with a round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and ultimately the final.

If two or more team in the same group have earned the same number of points after the group stage, then a tie breaker will be used.

  • Group goal differential.
  • Group goals scored.
  • Head-to-head record.
  • Fair play record.
  • Drawing of lots.

This tournament will see the number of games played overall increases from 52 to 64 which will mean additional media coverage and exposure for women’s soccer.

What are the groups?

Group A: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines and Switzerland.

Group B: Australia, Canada, Nigeria and Republic of Ireland.

Group C: Costa Rica, Japan, Spain and Zambia.

Group D: China, Denmark, England and Haiti.

Group E: Netherlands, Portugal, USA and Vietnam.

Group F: Brazil, France, Jamaica and Panama.

Group G: Argentina, Italy, South Africa and Sweden.

Group H: Colombia, Germany, South Korea and Morocco.

What teams should make the second round?

Group A form guide would indicate that Norway are head and shoulders ahead of their other opponents in the group. New Zealand as hosts look destined to struggle in this group with a useful Switzerland outfit alongside them. Philippines unfortunately will ship some heavy losses.
Norway, Switzerland.

Group B is a tricky group to predict. Nigeria is in meltdown over financial payments not received and a boycott from the side may still be on the cards. Canada would be the favourites to win out this group. Priestman has assembled a squad who have enjoyed Olympics success. They are solid right through the spine of the team.

Australia and Republic of Ireland conceivably are fighting for the second-place berth given Nigeria’s beleaguered preparations. Australia and Republic of Ireland’s fixture in the opening fixture could well decide who joins Canada in the last sixteen. Sam Kerr and Mary Fowler look genuine stars of this tournament.

Republic of Ireland have star quality in Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan but lack of final third threat (apart from Amber Barrett) coupled with a defensive unit who have struggled with opponent pace would see Australia join Canada in the knockout rounds on the form guide. An intriguing group and one to watch.
Canada, Australia.

Group C should see Spain and Japan advance from the group. Zambia are the enigma in this group. They have delivered excellent performances against the Republic of Ireland and Germany in the leadup to this tournament but then came sexual abuse accusations along with the eligibility of Banda.

This has become a massive distraction for Zambia and one that may be fatal to their hopes of a last sixteen appearance. Costa Rica look forlorn in this group and will struggle with the pace and power of the other three sides.

Spain and Japan.

Group D sees England enter the World Cup fray. Wiegmann has assembled a standout squad despite some key injuries to the likes of Williamson and Kirby in the leadup to the tournament. The squad depth will be tested later in the knockout rounds. This should be a routine group to advance as winners for England. Haiti to start look horribly outmatched against England.

China and Denmark will be competitive and look to battle it out to second place. England’s World Cup tests lie ahead in the second round onwards. Pernille Harder is a standout for Denmark. Her career with Chelsea was sensational and she is back to represent her country once more in a major tournament.

England and Denmark.

Group E is a tough group. USA are the standard bearer of women’s soccer and their squad looks standout. USA will be happy that they will be tested out early with Netherlands and Portugal who are very progressive sides.

Portugal may have qualified from the playoffs, but this is a side who are more than capable of springing a surprise in this group. Horan, Lavelle, Rapinoe will play prominent roles for the reigning World Cup champions.
USA and Netherlands.

Group F should be a routine group for Brazil and France who have dismissed their manager to appease their star players. Jamaica potentially with Khadija Shaw who plays her club football with Manchester City may provide some headline grabbers. Panama looks like struggling massively in this high-quality group. Marta vs. Renard will be a superb battle when the top two sides come head-to-head.

France, Brazil.

Group G should see Sweden top the group. They have always been a perennial World Cup contender. This year is no different. Italy, South Africa and Argentina are all evenly matched so the second place in the group looks uncertain. Blacksteinus looks set to be a key player for Sweden in this tournament if she gets adequate service from her colleagues.

Sweden, Italy.

Group H has Germany and they should not be massively tested by South Korea, Morocco or Colombia. Popp is an excellent striker and could win the top scorer of the tournament. Caicedo looks to be a star of the tournament, a superb player for Colombia. Colombia showing their physicality in an abandoned behind closed doors match with Republic of Ireland on July 14th. Morocco is in their debut World Cup and this may be a tough experience. South Korea’s form guide is mixed so Colombia look like the second team to advance from this group.
Germany, Colombia.

What about the Republic of Ireland?
Their debut in the World Cup. This can go one of two ways; the management and players embrace the occasion and outperform themselves or they go passive and are on the back foot. There are concerns heading into this tournament. The goalkeeper depth chart has never been tested so if Courtney Brosnan is unavailable, who steps in and the lack of game minutes means that defensive cohesion will be an issue.

There is ample experience in the defensive unit but Zambia and France exploited clear pace issues in the final third. Canada, Nigeria and Australia have extremely pacy forwards who will relish the space behind this Republic of Ireland defensive cover if given an opportunity. Yet another concern.

The positives are in the midfield unit. There are genuine world class players in Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan who will look to orchestrate. O’Sullivan’s injury on July 14th could be a devastating blow for the player and team. Megan Connolly is a player who can provide poise in the midfield battle. For Republic of Ireland to be successful, this unit will need to control games for long stretches.

The final third is a concern. Vera Pauw has thrown wildcard picks to Sinead Farrelly and Marissa Sheva in the hope that experience and speed will provide goals. We have yet to see this in the prep games. Amber Barrett is Ireland’s key striker but will she get sufficient game minutes to make an impression?

The group assigned is extremely tough. Mary Fowler, Sam Kerr, Asisat Oshoala and Jordyn Huitema are standout final third threats. I feel it may be too much for the Republic of Ireland but this management and playing group have proved the doubters wrong before. I hope they do it again.


Round of 16
Norway vs. Japan – Norway win.
Spain vs. Switzerland – Spain win.
USA vs. Italy – USA win.
Sweden vs. Netherlands – Sweden wins.
Canada vs. Denmark – Canada win.
England vs. Australia – an absolute corker (England just).
Germany vs. Brazil – Germany wins.
France vs. Colombia – France wins.

Quarter FinalsNorway vs. USA – USA win.
Spain vs. Sweden – Spain win.
Canada vs. France – Canada win.
England vs. Germany – Germany wins.

USA vs. Spain – USA wins.
Canada vs. Germany – Germany wins.


USA vs. Germany – Germany wins.