Now that the 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup has come to an end, we get to look back on all of the amazing moments the tournament brought! From some major upsets, unexpected wins, and broken records, the tournament had everyone’s undivided attention. Fans old and new from across the world cheered on their nation and witnessed history in the making.
For all of the tournament’s highlights and best moments, keep scrolling!
As many of us expected, this year’s tournament was bigger and better than any Women’s World Cup in the past. Viewership levels skyrocketed, more ticket records were made, and a new nation was crowned champion.
Since the first installment of the Women’s FIFA World Cup in 1991 only four nations have ever won the title – United States (4), Norway (1), Germany (2), and Japan (1). Since all of these teams failed to qualify for either the quarterfinals or the semifinals, we knew early on that we’d have a new World Cup champion to add to the list.
This year’s tournament was also a first for the number of teams that got to compete, compared to the past. This year’s edition expanded from 24 to 32 teams – matching the number of teams competing in the men’s competition. Now the number of viewers that the Women’s World Cup attracted may not be the same as the men’s tournament, but they only continue to grow and don’t seem to be slowing down. FIFA said that the average crowd for this year’s games across the 10 venues has been 28,900, which has been 7,000 more above the average from the 2019 edition in France.
FIFA officials say that the tournament sold more than 1.7 million tickets within the first six days of them going on sale – which surpassed what they had forecasted. The opening matches set records for women’s soccer matches with the crowds at New Zealand vs Norway marking 42,137, and Australia vs Ireland reaching 75,784 (sold out).
To compare, the final match at the 2019 France edition only had an attendance of 57,900.
The Matilda’s’ matches in particular were hot tickets that everyone wanted to score. Their semi-final match against England was the most watched match of the tournament up until then, with an in-person attendance of 75,784 (sold out), and became the most watched television program in Australia since 2001. The semi-finals match reached 11.15 million Australians and had an average audience of 7.13 million.
Although the Matilda’s ended their World Cup journey in a loss to England in the semi-finals, there was nothing but positive words and energy from across the World in support for their World Cup campaign.
To bring the tournament to a close, Spain became first time Women’s World Cup champions after a well-deserved match against England. Spain’s performance in the tournament was remarkable, so it was only fitting for them to take home their first title.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup was full of excitement and amazing moments that fans will look back on for years to come. Here are some highlight moments from this year’s tournament:
Chloe Kelly’s Penalty Kick
In the quarter-final match between Nigeria and England, both teams fought but the match ended scoreless – calling for a shootout. The Lionesses’ Chloe Kelly nailed the game-winning penalty kick that pushed England through to the semi-finals.
Kelly, who sees penalties as a guaranteed goal, recorded the fastest shot of the tournament at 110.79 kilometers per hour. The speed of her penalty kick was faster than any goal recorded in last season’s men’s English Premier League.
Sam Kerr’s Semi-final Goal
Australia’s Sam Kerr scored the stunning equalizer in the semi-finals to keep the Matilda’s hopes alive that they would advance to the finals.
What was among one of the best goals of the entire tournament – or even in World Cup history – Kerr managed to net the ball 25 meters out after it swerved and dipped passed Mary Earps.
African Countries Advance
For the first time ever in the Women’s World Cup, we saw three African teams reach the knockout stages.
Like the men’s team, the Moroccan women’s national team stole everyone’s hearts. In what was their first ever showing at the Women’s FIFA World Cup, they were second in their group stage and managed to knockout South Korea and Germany – who are two-time Women’s World Cup champions. Although we were all sad to see them lose to France and miss the quarter-finals, they made history for their national team.
Like Morocco, the Nigerian Super Falcons put on a campaign that lifted the spirits of everyone back home. Despite being drawn into a tough group with co-hosts Australia and Olympic champions Canada, the Super Falcons played with strength to push themselves through to the knockouts - they even managed to beat co-hosts Australia 3-0! In the knockout rounds, they didn’t go easy on England and held their ground for the entire mach. They played with class, but unfortunately were knocked out due to a 4-2 loss in a penalty shootout.
South Africa got their first ever Women’s World Cup win in a historic match against Italy. The country that is bidding to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup – and who may have a great chance now – played their hearts out. They were the underdogs going into this tournament and shouldn’t have been counted out in the beginning!
Colombia Makes History
Colombia made history this year by advancing to their first ever quarter-finals after a 1-0 win against Jamaica in the knockouts.
Most fans noted their favorite moment of the tournament was getting to see Colombia become victorious over Germany – who were ranked number two in the World. What was a major upset for the Germans, was an incredible achievement for the Colombian team. With over 35,000 South American fans there to support them, the atmosphere surrounding Colombia at this tournament was incredible.
A New Champion
For the first time ever, La Roja has lifted the Women’s World Cup trophy. Both Spain and England were fighting for their first World Cup title, but this year it was Spain who came out on top, courtesy of Olga Carmona’s goal in the first half.
The last time that Spain played England was at the European Championship quarter-finals, where they unfortunately lost to the Lionesses. It may have taken them over a year, but Spain finally gained their revenge against England on the world’s biggest stage.
USA Out Early
One of the biggest shocks of the tournament came when the USWNT was knocked out early on in the round of 16. They just nearly escaped the group stages and were seen playing without their usual joy and spunk that has defined them in previous tournaments.
Their World Cup journey came to an end after they played a scoreless game against Sweden, eventually loosing 4-5 in a penalty shootout. Fans were upset to see the reigning champions of the last two tournaments leave so early seeing as they have never finished worse than third at the World Cup
After the unfortunate turnout, the head coach of the USWNT has since resigned, and they’re now on the search for a new permanent coach.
Missing Out on More from Marta
One of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game, we all had the privilege of watching Brazil’s Marta play in her very last World Cup tournament. However, it was unfortunate that we had to see her go so early.
Brazil was knocked out of the tournament before the round of 16 after a goalless draw with Jamaica, which left them in third place in their group. The legendary Marta, and the Brazilian team as a whole, dominated a large amount of their games, but couldn’t seem to make as many finishes as France and Jamaica.
The fairytale ending that we’d hoped to give to Marta may have been out of reach, but she still holds the record for the most goals (17) in a World Cup, men’s or women. She has been an inspiration to young footballers across the world, and will always be known as one of the greats.
Germany’s Time Cut Short
Germany, the two-time World Cup champions, did not reach the knockout stages this year, which was a major disappointment for many fans. After losing their first group-play match in 28 years against Colombia, they couldn’t beat South Korea and had their spot taken by the underdogs, Morocco.
The Germans were considered to be among the favorites for the title after their impressive performances in many major tournaments. Their star forward, Alexandra Popp, had enough in her to equalize their last match against South Korea, but not enough to put them further in the tournament. The German team, which is ranked second in the World, was visibly disappointed after an unexpected turn of events.
We hope you enjoyed watching this year’s Women’s World Cup as it was filled with more than we could’ve asked for. If you haven’t been lucky enough to finish off your debut Panini WWC Card collection – don’t forget to! You can always get new boxes and packs from SoccerCards.ca to complete your collection.
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