2023 World Cup: Ultimate group stage guide for all 32 countries

A general shot of the FIFA Women's World Cup trophy.
The FIFA Women's World Cup trophy as seen during its unveiling event at Summit at One Vanderbilt in New York City on April 14, 2023. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

The long wait is over and the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is finally upon us. Four-time and reigning champions the United States will defend their crown as we prepare for a summer full of blockbuster action.

Whether you’ve touched down in Australia and New Zealand, or you’re watching from your home country over the next few weeks, we’ve got you covered with our team-by-team guide.

Find out a bit more about every country competing in this year’s World Cup — from the decorated and established, to the newcomers making history.

Table of contents:

2023 World Cup: Group A

New Zealand

Head coach: Jitka Klimkova

FIFA world ranking: 26th

Group stage opponents: Norway, Philippines, Switzerland

New Zealand have featured in the World Cup five times, however they have never progressed beyond the group stage. As they co-host this year’s tournament, eyes will be on them and they will be aiming to get further. The Football Ferns’ most-capped active player is their captain, Ali Riley of Angel City.

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Head coach: Hege Riise

FIFA world ranking: 12th

Group stage opponents: New Zealand, Philippines, Switzerland

The last time that Norway were gearing up for a World Cup appearance, 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg had pulled out of the squad. The striker has also had to deal with a torn ACL, but now she is back in the fold and looks set to challenge for the Golden Boot this summer. Chelsea’s Maren Mjelde is the captain and the highest-capped player of this current squad with 165.

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Head coach: Alen Stajcic

FIFA world ranking: 46th

Group stage opponents: New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland

The Philippines are one of eight sides to make their debut at the World Cup this year. The squad punched their ticket by virtue of their semi-final finish at the 2022 Asian Cup. The side will rely on captain Tahnai Annis, defender Hali Long — their most-capped player — and leading international scorers Quinley Quezada and Sarina Bolden.

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Head coach: Inka Grings

FIFA world ranking: 20th

Group stage opponents: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines

The 2023 edition of the World Cup will be only the second time that Switzerland have qualified for the tournament after exiting at the Round of 16 stage to hosts Canada in 2015. Their most capped and top scorer heading into the tournament is Ana-Maria Crnogorčević, who currently plays her football in Spain for Champions League winners Barcelona. 

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2023 World Cup: Group B


Head coach: Tony Gustavsson

FIFA world ranking: 10th

Group stage opponents: Republic of Ireland, Nigeria, Canada

This summer’s tournament will see Australia feature in their eighth World Cup. The Matildas made their debut appearance in 1995 and have reached the quarter-finals on three occasions since. Captain Clare Polkinghorne is Australia’s most capped player heading into the tournament with the 34-year-old holding more than 150 caps for her country.

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Republic of Ireland

Head coach: Vera Pauw

FIFA world ranking: 22nd

Group stage opponents: Australia, Nigeria, Canada

The Republic of Ireland make their debut at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, captained by Arsenal Player of the Season, Katie McCabe. The Girls in Green are likely to utilise a characteristically defensive approach in the hope of escaping a tough group.

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Head coach: Randy Waldrum

FIFA world ranking: 40th

Group stage opponents: Australia, Republic of Ireland, Canada

The Super Falcons are Africa’s most successful country on the international stage. They have won a record 11 Africa Cup of Nations titles and they are the only CAF team to have reached the quarter-finals at both the World Cup and Olympic Games. Nigeria’s captain and most-capped player is Onomi Ebi (107).

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Head coach: Bev Priestman

FIFA world ranking: 7th

Group stage opponents: Australia, Republic of Ireland, Nigeria

Canada won their first major international tournament in 2021 as they captured gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Their most capped player heading into the tournament is Portland Thorns star Christine Sinclair (323), one of football’s biggest legends and the world’s all-time leading international goalscorer.

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2023 World Cup: Group C


Head coach: Jorge Vilda

FIFA world ranking: 6th

Group stage opponents: Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan

This summer’s tournament will mark Spain’s third appearance at a Women’s World Cup. First making their debut back in 2015, Spain reached the Round of 16 in 2019, before being knocked out by the US. Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas will be a key asset for her country as the two-time Ballon d’Or winner makes her return from injury.

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Costa Rica

Head coach: Amelia Valverde

FIFA world ranking: 36th

Group stage opponents: Spain, Zambia, Japan

Surprisingly, the World Cup will not be the farewell tournament for national football legend, Shirley Cruz, as she was not called up to the 23-player squad. This gives much more responsibility to other experienced players such as Katherine Alvarado, Raquel Rodríguez and Cristín Granados, but also to Priscilla Chinchilla or Sheika Scott. The 16-year-old played her last season with Cruz in LD Alajuelense and, being already called a big talent, that experience might give her a boost for the career just starting and also for this World Cup.

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Head coach: Bruce Mwape

FIFA world ranking: 77th

Group stage opponents: Spain, Costa Rica, Japan

After the Women’s AFCON controversy around their biggest star, Barbra Banda, the team is eager to show its value in the World Cup. Playing against Japan and Spain as their main rivals to reach the play-off round of the tournament, they need however not only their top player, but also those who developed since the Tokyo Olympics, which was Zambia’s debut in the major football event. With the help of Grace Chanda and Rachael Kundananji, Banda may lead the Copper Queens to much more than just the first World Cup appearance. And all of them are the shining example of how playing in the big event in front of a huge audience boosts the international career, as well as club.

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Head coach: Futoshi Ikeda

FIFA world ranking: 11th

Group stage opponents: Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia

Japan have been represented at the FIFA Women’s World Cup on eight occasions, stretching all the way back to the 1991 tournament. In 2011, they won the trophy after beating the US 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out, becoming the only Asian side in history to ever win the competition. Saki Kumagai is the only member of the 2011 winning team to be selected in the 2023 squad.

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2023 World Cup: Group D


Head coach: Sarina Wiegman

FIFA world ranking: 4th

Group stage opponents: Haiti, Denmark, China

England won their first major international tournament last summer when they triumphed at a home Euro 2022. They’ll be looking to carry this form into the World Cup and improve on their best finish which saw them claim bronze in 2015. Their most capped player heading into the tournament is Barcelona’s Lucy Bronze (105) and they’ll be led out by captain Millie Bright.

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Head coach: Nicolas Delépine

FIFA world ranking: 53rd

Group stage opponents: England, Denmark, China PR

The team based on French D1 Arkema players, with a rising star of Melchie Dumornay as the main player — she was the one to score both goals against Chile in the World Cup play-off, and also defeated Christiane Endler in the league and cup games. This led her to sign the contract with Lyon, where she’ll join after the World Cup. She’ll have support of other D1 Arkema strikers — Batcheba Louis (Fleury), Nérilia Mondésir (Montpellier) or Roselord Borgella (Dijon).

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Head coach: Lars Sondergaard

FIFA world ranking: 13th

Group stage opponents: England, Haiti, China PR

Denmark have not qualified for the World Cup since 2007. Pernille Harder is both their highest-capped player heading into this tournament (140) and also the team’s record goalscorer (70).

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China PR

Head coach: Shui Qingxia

FIFA world ranking: 14th

Group stage opponents: England, Haiti, Denmark

The Steel Roses were a force to be reckoned with in the 1990s, winning multiple titles in both the Asian Cup and the Asian Games, to name a few. China also won silver at the 1996 Olympics, finishing as runners-up to the hosts US. In 1999, they recorded their best finish at the World Cup by coming second, once again trumped by the USWNT. Captain Wang Shanshan is the most-capped player in this squad with 152.

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2023 World Cup: Group E

United States

Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski

FIFA world ranking: 1st

Group stage opponents: Vietnam, Netherlands, Portugal

The US are the two-time reigning World Cup champions as they won in 2015 and 2019 and the team looks to capture their fifth World Cup overall this summer. Their most capped player heading into the tournament is San Diego Wave’s Alex Morgan (206). This will also be the final international tournament for Megan Rapinoe before she retires at the end of this coming season.

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Head coach: Mai Đuc Chung

FIFA world ranking: 32nd

Group stage opponents: USA, Netherlands, Portugal

The team might not be a leader on the entire Asian continent, but they seem to bring some fresh air from their sub-continental zone. Team captain Huỳnh Như, is the sole player outside of their national league — playing in the Lank Vilaverdense of Portugal. For Vietnam, the World Cup is a chance to be noticed by the stronger teams from stronger countries. Especially the young talents such as Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhã are the ones who would like to expose their skills to the global audience.

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Head coach: Andries Jonker

FIFA world ranking: 9th

Group stage opponents: USA, Vietnam, Portugal

The Netherlands faces tough competition in Group E. But despite the absence of Vivianne Miedema due to injury, the Dutch squad remains robust with depth. Recent matches against Poland and Belgium showcased their dominant form and team cohesion. With players like Lineth Beerensteyn, Jill Roord, Sherida Spitse, Daniëlle van de Donk, and Lieke Martens, their attack is potent. And Manager Andries Jonker brings flexibility to the tactics, utilizing formations like the 4-3-3 and 5-3-2. Keep an eye on rising star Esmee Brugts, who can make a significant impact this World Cup.

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Head coach: Francisco Neto

FIFA world ranking: 21st

Group stage opponents: USA, Vietnam, Netherlands

Portugal, a resilient team, is one to watch in Group E of the Women’s World Cup. Despite being newcomers, they aim to reach the quarter-finals after their previous success in the UEFA Women’s Euros. With a FIFA ranking of 21, they are determined to prove themselves as a strong force. Led by coach Francisco Neto, Portugal favors the 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formations and has performed well against tough opponents like Ukraine and England. Key players to keep an eye on include Jessica Silva, Carole Costa, and Francisca “Kika” Nazareth.

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2023 World Cup: Group F


Head coach: Herve Renard

FIFA world ranking: 5th

Group stage opponents: Jamaica, Brazil, Panama

This summer’s tournament will mark France’s fifth appearance at the World Cup, having made their debut back in 2003. France bowed out of the 2019 competition against the US in the quarter-final stage. Wendie Renard will once again take the captain’s armband — the defender made her senior international debut in 2011 and has since amassed almost 150 caps for Les Bleues. Top goalscorer Eugénie Le Sommer will be looking to make a big impact in front of goal.

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Head coach: Lorne Donaldson

FIFA world ranking: 43rd

Group stage opponents: France, Brazil, Panama

The Reggae Girlz are heading to their second straight World Cup, having debuted in France 2019. Jamaica secured its qualification this year via their second-place group finish at the 2022 CONCACAF Championships. Jamaica are led by Manchester City’s superstar striker, Khadija “Bunny” Shaw. The team captain leads her side in both caps (38) and international goals (56). Jamaica also features another impressive striker, up-and-coming speedster Jody Brown. The side is hoping to finish better than 2019, where they did not advance out of group stages.

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Head coach: Pia Sundage

FIFA world ranking: 8th

Group stage opponents: France, Jamaica, Panama

Brazil have been to the FIFA Women’s World Cup on eight different occasions, making their debut in the 1991 tournament. Their best-placed finish came in China 2007, where they were runners-up after losing 2-0 to Germany in the final. Their top scorer Marta, who also holds the record of most goals scored in the history of the Women’s World Cup, has confirmed that after seeing out her sixth tournament in the summer, the 2023 edition will be her last.

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Head coach: Ignacio Quintana

FIFA world ranking: 52nd

Group stage opponents: France, Jamaica, Brazil

Panama make their World Cup debut this year. The Red Tide grabbed the final qualification spot by virtue of their results in the inter-confederation playoffs. The side defeated Papua New Guinea and then Paraguay to claim the final spot in the World Cup. A very young squad, Panama’s two most capped players have featured 19 times for their country. Defender Yomira Pinzón and midfielder Marta Cox will be just 26 years old when the first matches start.

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2023 World Cup: Group G


Head coach: Peter Gerhardsson

FIFA world ranking: 3rd

Group stage opponents: South Africa, Italy, Argentina

Sweden have picked up three bronze medals and one silver during their World Cup history but are yet to lift the trophy. Peter Gerhardsson has been in charge for six years now and under his stewardship, Sweden have risen up the rankings. In their experienced squad, the likes of Kosovare Asllani, Caroline Seger and Magdalena Eriksson are just a few of their key players to watch. Captain Caroline Seger is their most capped player with 235.

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South Africa

Head coach: Desiree Ellis

FIFA world ranking: 54th

Group stage opponents: Sweden, Italy, Argentina

South Africa come into the tournament having won their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations last summer in Morocco. Racing Louisville’s Thembi Kgatlana will be key to their hopes as the scorer of the nation’s only World Cup goal during their debut Women’s World Cup in France in 2019.

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Head coach: Milena Bertolini

FIFA world ranking: 16th

Group stage opponents: Sweden, South Africa, Argentina

After suffering group-stage elimination at last year’s European Championships, Italy will be hoping to give a better account of themselves when they make their fourth World Cup appearance. They managed to progress to the quarter-finals in 2019, before they were eliminated by eventual runners-up the Netherlands. Milena Bertolini has made a bold decision to omit captain Sara Gama from her squad, while 16-year-old Barcelona midfielder Giulia Dragoni is a surprise inclusion. The Italians still have a number of experienced players in their ranks, including Elisa Bartoli, Valentina Cernoia, Barbara Bonansea and Cristiana Girelli.

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Head coach: German Portanova

FIFA world ranking: 28th

Group stage opponents: Sweden, South Africa, Italy

As Argentina embark on their fourth World Cup campaign, Partanova’s side will be hoping to progress from the group stage for the first time. La Albiceleste made their debut in 2003 when the tournament was hosted by the US. Argentina will be led by Vanina Correa this year, the 39-year-old goalkeeper took the armband from Estefanía Banini in 2022.

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2023 World Cup: Group H


Head coach: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg

FIFA world ranking: 2nd

Group stage opponents: Morocco, Colombia, Korea Republic

The 2023 World Cup will be Germany’s ninth appearance in the competition. Making their debut back in 1991, Germany have lifted the trophy twice with 2007 marking the most recent occasion. Captain Alexandra Popp has bagged more than 60 goals with more than a century of caps for her country.

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Head coach: Reynald Pedros

FIFA world ranking: 72nd

Group stage opponents: Germany, Colombia, Korea Republic

Morocco head into their first-ever World Cup as the 72nd-ranked team by FIFA. This will not be the case for long, as the squad have made a strong case for themselves in the lead-up to the tournament. The Atlas Lionesses made it to the final of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in 2022, before tying both Italy and Switzerland earlier this month. Notable players to look out for include Rosella Ayane, a Tottenham Hotspur striker, and Ghizlane Chebbak who plays as a midfielder for AS FAR in Morocco’s domestic league.

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Head coach: Nelson Abadía

FIFA world ranking: 25th

Group stage opponents: Germany, Morocco, Korea Republic

Las Cafeteras have qualified for their third World Cup, featuring previously in 2011 and 2015. The side qualified based on their finish at the 2022 Copa América Feminina. Colombia made the final, where they were defeated by Brazil, 1-0. Captain Daniela Montoya leads the side, having scored four international goals in 39 appearances for her country. Colombia made it to the knockout stage in the 2015 tournament, and are looking to go further this year. Catalina Usme leads the tally for both caps (75) and goals (38).

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Korea Republic

Head coach: Colin Bell

FIFA world ranking: 17th

Group stage opponents: Germany, Morocco, Colombia

This will be South Korea’s fourth World Cup and they’ll be hoping to snag a personal best by reaching beyond the Round of 16. The country’s joint most-capped players Cho So-hyun and former Chelsea icon Ji So-yun (145 each), will both compete in Australia and New Zealand this summer.

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Contributors: Daisy Passmore, Jamie Rooke, Rick Pytlik, Connie Lea, Bethany Fisher, Laura Howard, Georgia Goulding, Marisa Dambach, Wojciech Nowakowski, Stephen Conroy, Kara Cutshaw, Ben Sully, Madeleine Metz.

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