BY CONNOR STEPHENS
With just two months until the FIFA Women’s World Cup gets underway, teams and players are undergoing their final preparations for what promises to be a hard fought and exciting tournament. The United States are looking to win their 3rd straight trophy, however, this looks to be one of the most competitive world cup tournaments in recent memory.
With many teams looking the goods entering the tournament, the limelight will be on many key players, most notably Spain’s Alexia Putellas, who after winning the last 2 consecutive FIFA Women’s player of the year awards, will now be looking to lead her nation to the ultimate glory.
Stars such as England's Beth Mead have been ruled out with injury, while her national teammate Lucy Bronze is racing against the clock to be fit and healthy by the time the tournament rolls around.
Below, we’ll be talking about some players that are worth keeping an eye on during the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup.
SAMANTHA KERR - AUSTRALIA
Having earned her first international cap at the age of 15, Kerr has always proven to be a class above, and her performance in this World Cup will be a key factor into deciding how far the host nation progresses. Kerr is constantly regarded as one of the best players in the world, and this is evident in the fact that she's been nominated for the Ballon d'or Feminin every year since its inception in 2018, including a 3rd place finish last year.
63 goals in 120 international appearances, Golden Boot winner in 3 different countries. Kerr knows how to bag a goal or 2 and with home nation advantage, she will be looking to lead the Matildas to the promised land.
KATRINA GORRY - AUSTRALIA
The 30 year old Midfielder has been a mainstay in the Matildas lineup for about a decade now, with 91 caps to her name. The Brisbane Roar star missed the Olympic Games in 2021 due to pregnancy, and will be fired up ready to make an impact once July 20 rolls around.
Gorry last appeared for the Matildas in February 2020 and her return is long awaited, and will boost Australia’s chances and give the entire team much needed confidence heading into the tournament. She is an absolute general in the centre of the ground and she knows how to control the tempo of the game, and she will make the opposition play her game, which provides the Matildas with a much needed advantage that they have been missing the last couple years.
ALEXIA PUTELLAS - SPAIN
Winner of the last 2 consecutive Ballon d’Or Feminin awards, Putellas enters the World Cup as the undoubted world’s best player, and all eyes will be on her. Having torn her ACL in October of last year, she has returned to training and will be looking to make an immediate impact as her nation will be relying heavily on her performance if they’re any chance of winning the trophy come August.
Captaining both her nation and her club Barcelona, Putellas is a natural leader and the pressure won’t phase her, and this is a key reason why Spain go in as one of the favourites.
If Putellas brings her A game, Spain will be incredibly difficult to beat as not only is she an extremely talented Footballer, but she makes everyone around her better too.
ALEX MORGAN - USA
One of the worlds best players for many years now, the 33 year old even came 2nd last year in the FIFA Women’s player of the year award.
206 caps, 121 goals and 2 World Cup trophies for her country shows that she's won it all, and she will have nothing to lose come July, looking to lead her nation to a 3rd straight tournament win.
Also named in Time Magazine's 100 most influential people of 2022, close eyes will be kept on her throughout her world cup performances. Can she keep performing at the level she has done for many years now?
KLARA BUHL - GERMANY
The 22 year old Winger has been a star for Bayern Munich since she signed from SC Freiburg in 2020, and was even part of the 2019 German World Cup squad as an 18 year old.
A winger that can both score and assist, Bruhl's explosive pace and ability to find space will be a nightmare for any Defenders who come up against her, and she will be one that opposing nations will look to tightly mark. 5 Goals and 6 Assists in 18 appearances for Bayern this season shows that she's in red hot form, and with Germany being one of the favourites, she will be relied upon to step up and continue her club form, if they’ve any chance of obtaining that trophy come August.
MARTA - BRAZIL
6 time winner of the FIFA Women’s player of the year award, Marta is often considered the greatest Female Footballer of all time, and at the age of 37, this could be her last major tournament. She also holds the record for the most goals scored in the FIFA World Cup tournament (women’s and men’s) and will be looking to add to her tally of 17 when Brazil begin their tournament on July 24 against Panama.
Out of everything that Marta has achieved, she has never won the World Cup, with the closest opportunity to claiming the trophy squandered by Germany in 2007. This could be Marta’s last chance at the ultimate glory and all eyes will be on Brazil, and they look a fair shot at winning it all as they come in with a very strong line up, and a big point to prove.
Will Marta be able to wind back the clock and find some of the form that has made her the “Female Pele”, or will her age go against her? For Footballs sake, lets hope she can find some peak form and show the world just how good her best Football still is, even at her age.