Ten global stars to watch at the FIFA Women’s World Cup

The excitement of fans from the 2020 winning bid is about to become reality with the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The excitement of fans from the 2020 winning bid is about to become reality with the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Photo: AFP/Getty

Football fans in Australia and New Zealand are about to witness the finest players on the globe at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Here are some of the superstars from every participating continent who could transform the game in their nations and beyond with their own pieces of magic over the next month.

Alexia Putellas (Spain)

Arguably the world’s top player, Alexia Putellas will make Spain one of the dark horses for the tournament. Photo: Getty

The Spanish national side sorely lacked the creativity and goals of the Barcelona attacking midfielder, who missed much of 2022 with a serious knee injury. As the reigning two-time winner of the Women’s Ballon d’Or, the 29-year-old has the stage to show the world why she’s the best player on the planet. Has the passing and game IQ to unlock any defence. Watch and learn.

Ada Hegerberg (Norway)

Returning from a self-imposed international exile, Ada Hegerberg stood alone in women’s football for several years and could inspire Norway to the World Cup final. Photo: UEFA/Getty

Averaging more than a goal a game for her French club Olympique Lyon, the prolific striker was the inaugural Ballon d’Or winner in 2018 before injuries and an inequality dispute forced her withdrawal from international duty for several years. With a fit and firing Hegerberg showing her class in front of goal, Norway remains every chance of emulating the lofty feats of its previous sides.

Debinha (Brazil)

Brazil will be relying on the flair and technical prowess of Debinha to continue the nation’s celebrated success. Photo: Getty

Complementing the wizardry of six-time World Player of the Year Marta, the 31-year-old speedster is a natural goalscorer with technical trickery and aggression to match. A handful for any defender, Debinha has netted 29 times under coach Pia Sundhage – more than any other player – ensuring she will be among the first picked for the Selecao.

Khadija Shaw (Jamaica)

Manchester City striker Khadija Shaw could lift Jamaica to new heights if she can replicate her Women’s Super League goalscoring form. Photo: Getty

A superb Women’s Super League season at Manchester City in which Khadija Shaw netted 31 times in 30 games will have every defender on notice. Affectionately known as ‘Bunny’, Jamaica’s all-time leading scorer with an impressive haul of 56 goals will be hoping to catch her opponents on the hop. The sky’s the limit for the 26-year-old if given the freedom.

Lena Oberdorf (Germany)

Set pieces are just one component of the multi-faceted talents of German midfielder Lena Oberdorf, who could propel the second-ranked side to the ultimate glory. Photo: Getty

A tackling machine who can play in multiple positions in defence or her favoured midfield, the efficient Vfl Wolfsburg star won best young player at Euro 2022 and could further enhance her reputation if Germany excels. Preparing for her second World Cup having played in France in 2019 as a 17-year-old high school student, Oberdorf could well be the tournament’s shining light.

Keira Walsh (England)

Keira Walsh (centre) was named player of the match in England’s Euros final triumph, with the Barcelona midfielder’s smarts integral to the team structure. Photo: Getty

Barcelona paid a world record transfer fee to land the former Manchester City midfielder last September. Walsh, who won player of the final at the 2022 European Championships, will be integral to the injury-hit Lionesses’ chances of success. Her rare ability to win back the ball is supplemented by her quality distribution and tactical nous.

Yui Hasegawa (Japan)

Equally impressive in attack and defence, Japan’s Manchester City star Yui Hasegawa knows how to perform on the big stage. Photo: Getty

Key to Japan’s attractive transition game with her dual strengths of assisting the attack and applying rigorous defence, the Manchester City star has the experience and game-breaking energy to make her mark among her talented peers. Her ability to chip in with vital goals during her 65 international caps ensure she will be tightly marked.

Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria)

Five-time African Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala will be hoping to score at her third consecutive Women’s World Cup for the Super Eagles. Photo: FIFA/Getty

A danger woman for the Matildas in Group B, the 28-year-old Barcelona forward was the first African woman nominated for the Ballon d’Or. Boosting a rare pedigree, Oshoala is a serial winner and is aiming to score at her third successive World Cup. Undoubtedly has the quality to deliver for the Super Eagles if presented with an opportunity.

Ji So-Yun (South Korea)

The highest scorer – male or female – for South Korea’’s national teams, Ji So-Yun has proven a nightmare for defenders for more than a decade with her skill and clinical finishing. Photo: Getty

Returning to South Korea after a decade of success in Japan and at Women’s Super League champions Chelsea, Ji is the nation’s highest scorer, male or female. Renowned for her dribbling and deft use of the ball in one-on-one encounters, the 32-year-old will be hoping to add to her vast collection of silverware as one of Asia’s greatest ever players.

Alex Morgan (USA)

Undisputed queen of Team USA, Alex Morgan continues to excel and lead her top-ranked team to greater success. Photo: Getty

Two World Cup wins and an Olympic gold medal are testimony to the quality and longevity of the superstar striker, who has scored more than 120 goals in her decorated international career. Now 34, Morgan will be determined to clinch a third winner’s medal after being named player of the tournament in the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s Championship.

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