Women’s World Cup roundtable: Which group stage match will live up to hype?


The first round of group stage matches at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has come to an end, but fear not; there are still plenty of games left to be played.

We asked our panel of soccer experts here at FOX Sports which of the remaining group stage matches they’re most excited for — here’s what they had to say:

Which group stage matchup that we haven’t seen yet are you most excited about?

Carli Lloyd: FranceBrazil. France has been injected with more confidence and belief from their newly appointed manager Hervé Renard. Brazil is thriving right now and have many players who have been in form for their clubs and Brazil.

Alexi Lalas: Any game that the eight debutants play. Seeing the pride and happiness on the faces of these players is awesome. Just their mere presence can help motivate, inspire, and energize cultures that traditionally haven’t looked at the women’s game as worthy of attention or resources.

Stu Holden: USANetherlands. As a rematch of the 2019 final, I think it’s going to be a close and exciting match. It’s a good early test for the USWNT and one in which we’ll find out if they have what it takes for the 3-peat.

[Related: United States vs. Netherlands: Everything to know, how to watch USWNT match 2]

Leslie Osborne: USA-Netherlands. A lot has changed for both teams since 2019. Who will come out on top?

Jimmy Conrad: SpainJapan.  Spain has the back-to-back reigning Ballon d’Or winner, Alexia Putellas, who is coming off a 10-month layoff due to an ACL tear, on their team, and Japan have one of the best young players in the world on theirs in 19-year-old Maika Hamano, who is heading to Chelsea next season. They’re both the real deal. But that’s on the player level. On a team level, Spain has the talent to win this tournament but have some major off-the-field distractions with their federation and coaching. 

Meanwhile, Japan, after winning the World Cup in 2011 and being finalists in 2015, crashed out in the round of 16 in 2019, so they’re going to be looking to restore their reputation as one of the world’s best.

Zambia vs. Japan Highlights | 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

David Mosse: AustraliaCanada. Sam Kerr vs. Christine Sinclair. The hosts against the reigning Olympic gold medalists.

Laken Litman: USA-Netherlands. What’s juicer than a 2019 World Cup final rematch in the group stage?

Doug McIntyre: USA.-Netherlands. Not only is it a rematch of the 2019 finale, I can’t remember the Americans ever having a more meaningful first round game at a World Cup. If the USWNT loses, they’ll almost certainly finish second in the group. And you know the Dutch will be up for it after what happened four years ago in France.

Martin Rogers: Aside from USA-Netherlands, I’d go for Australia-Canada. One of the host nations against the Olympic champion in a game both teams will likely be desperate to win, as second place in the group may mean a round of 16 meeting with England.

United States vs. Vietnam Highlights | 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

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