FIFA Women’s World Cup guide: Contenders, players, Coloradans to watch

While Coloradans are well aware of Lindsey Horan and Sophia Smith’s influence on the United States Women’s National Team, there’s plenty of other reasons to watch the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.

Here’s your watch guide as all games will air on Fox or Fox Sports 1.

Players to watch

Sam Kerr, F, Australia: The Chelsea FC striker, who’s lethal in the box, is looking to have a few iconic moments as the captain of one of the host nations. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. But can her Matilda teammates also deliver?

Debinha, F, Brazil: A paragon of Brazilian creativity, the 26-year-old striker sets the tone. When partnered with 37-year-old Marta, who will be playing at her sixth World Cup, the queens of “Joga Bonito” are back.

Katie McCabe, MF, Ireland: For a debutant team, Ireland exemplifies spirit and tenacity, two elements that are essential if the Girls in Green are to sneak out of a tricky Group B. McCabe is that player.

If not the U.S., then who? Teams to watch


World ranking: No. 6

If you’re a fan of quick passing and lightning-fast attacks, this Spanish side is for you. FC Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas is the two-time reigning Ballon d’Or winner and will look to show out.


World ranking: No. 3

It feels like the Swedes are always so close but can never break through. This could be the year that changes. There are a number of experienced players who could deliver, but Fridolina Rolfö will be the Blue-and-Yellow’s key cog. She can play either at fullback or higher up the field and will be a threat no matter where she is on the pitch.

Colorado Connections

Lorne Donaldson, head coach, Jamaica: Colorado soccer wouldn’t be where it is without Donaldson, who returned to coach his home nation and led the Reggae Girlz to their second World Cup in as many cycles. The Real Colorado president coached Mal Swanson and Sophia Smith but now will have a lethal forward at his disposal in Khadija “Bunny” Shaw. They have the quality to surprise.

“Lorne’s always been a fun-loving guy. He likes to see the game and he likes to attack,” Rapids assistant Wolde Harris said about Donaldson. “He knows what it takes to win games and loves a little bit of flair.”

Jacqui Hand, F, New Zealand: The Colorado College class of 2022 alum will make her World Cup debut for the co-hosts. The striker scored 18 goals and tallied 42 points for the Tigers. New Zealand will open the tournament on Thursday versus Norway in Hand’s hometown of Auckland at the famed rugby ground Eden Park.

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