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  • Writer's pictureEmma Treptow

23 Top Players from 23 Different Nations at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was a tournament to remember. From incredible goals to debutantes winning to the underdogs coming out on top to players breaking through onto the international stage, this World Cup had it all. Here is a compiled list of 23 top players from 23 different nations who play for 23 different club teams:

1. Barbra Banda: Zambia & Shanghai Shengli

Banda burst onto the world stage in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, scoring back-to-back hat tricks in the group stage. Despite being ruled ineligible for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations, Banda bounced back for the COSAFA Women’s Cup, scoring ten goals. At the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Banda scored the second goal in Zambia’s first-ever World Cup win over Costa Rica. She currently plays for Shanghai Shengli in China and has been with them since 2020.

2. Sarina Bolden: Philippines & Western Sydney Wanderers

Bolden made her debut in 2018 and set her standard of scoring with the game-winning goal over Jordan. In this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, Bolden scored the Philippines' only goal to secure the team’s first win in the tournament. This goal was the Philippines' first World Cup and for it to secure their first win as well, made it all the more meaningful and historic. Bolden currently plays for Western Sydney Wanderers after leaving her club in Japan.

3. Aitana Bonmatí: Spain & Barcelona

Aitana Bonmatí with the Golden Ball trophy for Best Player of the Tournament. Photo courtesy of @UEFA /Twitter

The Golden Ball winner of this year created 12 chances and completed 51 dribbles in the tournament, ranking fourth in both categories. She scored the second goal in Spain’s group-stage win over Costa Rica. She scored two and assisted another one in their match against Switzerland in the Round of 16 to reach the quarterfinals. Bonmatí currently plays for Barcelona in Spain and is on a three-year extension until 2025.

4. Simone Boye Sørensen: Denmark & Hammarby IF

Although Denmark’s World Cup did not go as they had hoped, Boye was a bright spot for the team. Boye has been a mainstay in the Denmark team since 2011 and proved why yet again in Australia. She played every minute of all three of the Danish’s group stage games. Boye currently plays for Hammarby IF in Sweden after a year at Arsenal from 2021 to 2022.

5. Linda Caicedo: Colombia & Real Madrid

Linda Caicedo became the first player to compete in the U-17, U-20, and senior World Cups within one year with her call-up to the 2023 World Cup. She scored the second goal in Colombia’s 2-0 win over South Korea, making her the second youngest goal scorer in a Women’s World Cup at 18 years and 153 days old, only behind Marta. She scored again in Colombia’s 2-1 win over Germany, in one of the biggest upsets of the tournament. She signed a three-year contract in 2023 at Real Madrid.

6. Marta Cox: Panama & Pachuca

Marta Cox was one of the players to watch going into this year’s World Cup and she proved why with her goal against France. Despite the 6-3 loss, Cox started the game off strong for her country, with their first goal of the World Cup in just the second minute. To make it even better, she scored off a direct free kick. Cox currently plays for Pachuca in Mexico and was the first foreign player to sign for the team in 2021.

7. Kadidiatou Diani: France & Lyon

A proven goal scorer for both the French national team and Paris Saint-Germain, Diani proved that she can step up in the biggest moments yet again in this year’s World Cup. After stepping away from the national team in February due to wanting changes in the coaching staff, Diani returned better than ever. With a hat trick against Panama in France’s final game of the group stage, Diani helped secure France’s berth to the knockouts, where she scored the first goal in a 4-0 rout of Morocco. On August 2, 2023, Diani signed with Olympique Lyonnais after a six-year stint at PSG.

8. Magdalena Eriksson: Sweden & Bayern Munich

Eriksson is one of the most important pieces of the Swedish backline, playing every minute of the World Cup. She was third in the tournament for clearances with 54 across seven games. She recorded 44 interceptions which ranked sixth across all players in the tournament. The former Chelsea captain signed with Bayern Munich in June after six years in England.

9. Naomi Girma: United States & San Diego Wave

At only 23 years old, Girma helped lead the United State’s backline with pose in her first World Cup. Having only made her USWNT debut in April of 2022, Girma quickly established herself as a starter for one of the most competitive and talented teams in the world. With 38 interceptions in her debut tournament, ranking 13th amongst all players, Girma has not even reached her full potential and will continue to improve as teams look towards the 2027 World Cup. Girma signed a new contract with San Diego through 2026 in June of this year.

10. Katrina Gorry: Australia & Vittsjö GIK

Katrina Gorry with her daughter Harper Gorry after Australia's quarterfinal win over France. Photo courtesy of @katrinagorry10 /Instagram

A stalwart for the Matildas in the midfield, Katrina Gorry has always been a player at the highest level but after having her daughter, Harper, her game has gone to the next level. After missing the 2020 Olympics due to her pregnancy, Gorry returned to the world stage with a bang and had the most tackles of any player in the 2023 World Cup with 59, fifteen more than the next player. She currently plays in Sweden at Vittsjö GIK and has been there since 2022.

11. Alex Greenwood: England & Manchester City

After seeing little time in the 2019 World Cup, Greenwood was a key piece of England’s run to the final this go-around. Playing every minute alongside captain Millie Bright, Greenwood helped England record three shutouts while only conceding four goals across the other four games. Greenwood did more than just help on the defensive end for England, as she finished third in chances created in the tournament with 13. Greenwood currently plays for Manchester City in England.

12. Sophie Haug: Norway & Roma

After opening her national team scoring account with a hat trick, it is only fitting that Sophie Haug scored the first Women’s World Cup hat trick for Norway since 2007. As only the fourth player to score a hat trick at the World Cup, Haug joins an exclusive club at the age of 24. Her hat trick against the Philippines secured Norway’s spot in the knockout rounds. In January of 2022, Haug signed for Roma in Italy, becoming the most expensive transfer from her former club, LSK Kvinner, in Norway.

13. Thembi Kgatlana: South Africa & Racing Louisville FC

Thembi Kgatlana has a knack for making history for South Africa in the World Cup. After scoring the team’s first-ever goal in 2019, she was a major factor in securing their first-ever win and qualification for the knockout stages in 2023. Kgatlana scored the second goal in a 2-2 draw with Argentina and then went on to knock out Italy with a goal in the 90+2’, sending South Africa into the Round of 16 for the very first time. Kgatlana currently plays for Racing Louisville in the NWSL, having signed a two-year contract with an option for a third in 2022.

14. Anissa Lahmari: Morocco & Guingamp

After starting her international career with the French and Algerian national teams, Lahmari was named to the Moroccan preliminary roster in June. Just two months later, Lahmari scored the game-winning goal over Colombia to qualify Morocco for the Round of 16. Scoring this goal knocked out European superpower and two-time World Cup champions, Germany, sending the Germans home at the group stage mark for the first time ever. Lahmari currently plays for Guingamp in France.

15. Adriana Leon: Canada & Manchester United

In an incredibly disappointing World Cup campaign for the Canadians, Leon was the only Canadian to score in Australia. The Canadians were held scoreless in their games against Nigeria and Australia, and despite the 2-1 scoreline over Ireland, the first goal was an Ireland own goal. Leon was the difference maker in making sure that Canada didn’t go home without a win. Leon currently plays with Manchester United after returning from a loan with the Portland Thorns.

16. Hinata Miyazawa: Japan & Mynavi Sendai

Not many people expected Miyazawa to win the Golden Boot in a tournament with the likes of Sam Kerr, Sophia Smith, and Alexandra Popp, but that’s what is special about the World Cup: expect the unexpected. Miyazawa only had four goals in her national team career leading up to this tournament and scored five in the span of five games. With braces against Zambia and Spain, along with forcing an own goal and scoring the game-sealing goal against Norway in the Round of 16, Miyazawa had enough to secure the Golden Boot. Miyazawa currently plays in her home country with Mynavi Sendai.

17. Chiamaka Nnadozie: Nigeria & Paris FC

The captain of the Super Falcons, Nnadozie opened her 2023 World Cup with a bang as she saved a penalty from none other than Christine Sinclair. This save, along with the clean sheet she kept for the remainder of the game, won her the FIFA Player of the Match award. She continued to keep clean sheets against Ireland and England before dropping out on penalties. Nnadozie currently plays with Paris FC in France after signing a new deal in April to keep her there until 2025.

18. Alexandra Popp: Germany & VFL Wolfsburg

Another top team whose World Cup was not as expected was the two-time World Cup Champions, Germany. Despite a first-time group stage exit, Alexandra Popp was still able to score four goals, which proved to be enough to win the Bronze Boot. Popp had a brace in Germany’s first group-stage game against Morocco before scoring Germany’s sole goals in a 2-1 loss to Colombia and a 1-1 draw to South Korea. Popp currently plays for VFL Wolfsburg in Germany after signing a three-year deal in 2022.

19. Rebecca Spencer: Jamaica & Tottenham

Rebecca Spencer was one of a few goalkeepers to not concede a goal in the group stage, as Jamaica advanced to the Round of 16 with only one goal scored. Spencer only started playing with Jamaica in 2021 but quickly established herself as their number-one keeper in the lead-up to the 2023 World Cup. Spencer received the Player of the Match award for her heroics in keeping Brazil from scoring and thus helping her team clinch a spot in the Round of 16. Spencer currently plays for Tottenham Hotspurs in England.

20. Tamires: Brazil & Corinthians

The Brazilian left-back was a bright spot for a Brazil team that underperformed in this year’s World Cup. Playing 90 minutes in all three games, she helped to record clean sheets against Panama and Jamaica. Tamires currently plays with Corinthians in her home country of Brazil.

21. Stefanie Van der Gragt: Netherlands & Inter Milan

Van der Gragt may not have had the best start to the quarterfinal match as she was hoping, giving up a penalty via a handball in the box leading to the first Spanish goal. But she didn’t let the game end like that, scoring in the 90+1’ to send the game into extra time. Although the Netherlands may not have gotten the result they wanted, Van der Gragt was a big part of their success leading up to this game. She had 50 clearances throughout the tournament, ranking just outside of the top ten for all players. Van der Gragt currently plays for Inter Milan after signing a two-year contract in 2022.

22. Lia Wälti: Switzerland & Arsenal

The Swiss captain was one of the most important players in getting Switzerland into the Round of 16. Playing as a defensive midfielder in this tournament, Wälti was a key piece in creating chances and playing the ball through the lines. Although Switzerland only scored two goals, Wälti was also a large part of helping on defense and securing three clean sheets in the group stage. Wälti currently plays for Arsenal, having signed a new contract in May.

23. Hannah Wilkinson: New Zealand & Melbourne City

Hannah Wilkinson’s third-ever World Cup goal, in her fourth World Cup, was the most important of the bunch. This goal secured New Zealand’s first-ever World Cup win, in their first game of the World Cup they were co-hosting. Despite not making it out of the group, as the Ferns had hoped, this goal was a huge piece of lifting up women’s soccer in New Zealand. Wilkinson currently plays for Melbourne City in Australia.


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