The United States Women’s National Team may be the favorites to win the World Cup, which starts in just a few days, but the competition has never been fiercer.
Other powerhouse countries, like Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Canada, England, France, Germany and host country Australia, would love nothing more than to upset the United States, who are trying to win their third World Cup in a row.
We all know what American players to watch out for (hello, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe!), but here are some international players that should be on your radar while the tournament progresses.
After six World Cups, the Brazilian legend is hanging up her cleats. It’s sad that this summer will be Marta’s last World Cup, but what a ride it has been. She holds the record still for most goals scored in World Cup history, men or women, and has won countless other awards and accolades. The only thing she’s missing? A World Cup title.
While I’m obviously rooting for the United States, it’s going to be tough if Barzil makes it to the finals. Marta has a fantastic supporting cast of teammates, and a lot of them have been on fire playing for their club teams, especially the Brazilians who are playing in the NWSL right now. Could this be their year? It will only happen with Marta’s leadership, on and off the ball.
Christine Sinclair, Canada
This is another legend who will most likely be playing in her last World Cup. Christine Sinclair is a goal scoring machine, and she holds the record for most goals scored in international soccer, men or women. Canada won gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which was so well deserved, but Sinclair will be hungry for a World Cup title.
She isn’t scoring goals like she used to, but her leadership in unmatched. She’s the long standing captain of Canada’s team, and you can guarantee her teammates will want to see her go out in style. Sinclair’s game has changed a lot over the years, but expect her to sit in pockets between the midfield and defense. She loves striking from there.
Alexia Putellas, Spain
The two-time Ballon d’Or winner is finally healthy again, and we will be so lucky to see this world class player work her magic in the midfield with Spain. Alexia Putellas tore her ACL right before last summer’s Euro tournament, so it’s great to see she’s playing again and on the pitch.
Putellas is a super creative player on the ball, and she opens up channels of space for her teammates to take over with just her movement alone. Spain has really grown over the last four years or so, and let’s not forget that they beat the United States last year. Plus, when they beat the U.S., they were playing without their full team of stars. Putellas could lead this hungry team to World Cup victory.
Sam Kerr, Australia
If we want to talk about goal scorers, there is no one like Sam Kerr. The Chelsea player scores goals where ever she plays, so don’t be shocked when she scored a hat trick in these World Cup finals. Don’t forget, she did it at the World Cup four years ago. It seems that she can create magic whenever she has the ball at her feet.
Australia is also hosting the World Cup, so I really think we’re going to see a side of Sam Kerr that we never have before. The Aussie squad has never come close to winning any major tournament, and if they were ever going to, let it be this one on home soil.
NWSL fans are well aware that Debinha, who hails from Brazil, is one of the best players in the world. The attacking midfielder has really upped her game over the last four years or so. Don’t be shocked when she’s scoring goals left and right when Brazil takes to the pitch.
Debinha’s game is so nuanced, that it’s even hard to describe it. She obviously attracts defenders around her, but her passing game is so strong, and she’s great as being the playmaker for the players on the forward line. Expect her to link up with teammates Keroline and Adriana, who are also having great seasons in the NWSL.