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  • Sophie Lodes

Women's World Cup Group Stage Recap

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup is heating up with lots of goals, cards, and excitement in the group stages. Here is your one-stop shop for the hits and goals from each matchup.





Switzerland (5, 1-2-0, +2)

Australia (6, 2-0-1, +4)

Japan (9, 3-0-0, +11)

England (9, 3-0-0, +7)

Norway (4, 1-1-1, +5)

Nigeria (5, 1-2-0, +1)

Spain (6, 2-0-1, +4)

Denmark (6, 2-0-1, +2)

New Zealand (4, 1-1-1, 0)

Canada (4, 1-1-1, -3)

Zambia (3, 1-0-2, -8)

China (3, 1-0-2, -5)

Philippines (3, 1-0-2, -7)

Ireland (1, 0-1-2, -2)

Costa Rica (0, 0-0-3, -7)

Haiti (0, 0-0-3, -4)





Netherlands (7, 2-1-0, +8)

France (7, 2-1-0, +4)

Sweden (9, 3-0-0, +8)

Colombia (6, 2-0-1, +2)

USA (5, 1-2-0, +3)

Jamaica (5, 1-2-0, +1)

South Africa (4, 1-1-1, 0)

Morocco (6, 2-0-1, -4)

Portugal (4, 1-1-1, +1)

Brazil (4, 1-1-1, +3)

Italy (3, 1-0-2, -5)

Germany (4, 1-1-1, +5)

Vietnam (0, 0-0-3, -12)

Panama (0, 0-0-3, -8)

Argentina (1, 0-1-2, -3)

South Korea (1, 0-1-2, -3)

*Teams highlighted in green sit in the two spots to advance to the knockout stages. Teams highlighted in red have been eliminated and cannot make it to the knockout stages.

**Standings are as of 1:00 PM EST on August 3

***All group standings are set

New Zealand 1—Norway 0

Hannah Wilkinson ‘48

Co-host New Zealand opened the tournament with a win against an underperforming Norway. Wilkinson’s run-of-play strike exposed Norway’s weakness of dealing with through balls, but the Football Ferns also failed to capitalize on a 90' minute PK. Chippy, New Zealand demonstrated how playing as a team can take apart a Norway still trying to gel.

Australia 1—Ireland 0

Stephanie Catley 52’

Australia needed a penalty kick to notch the game-winning goal but managed to defeat an organized and feisty Ireland. Ireland’s debut didn’t go as planned, with Marissa Sheva being called for a foul on Hayley Raso. Ireland was willing to commit to the hard tackle in order to prevent a tentative Australia from figuring out how to attack without Sam Kerr.

Nigeria 0—Canada 0

Nigeria and Canada held each other scoreless in a game Nigeria will be proud of and Canada will want to learn from. Christine Sinclair saw her penalty kick saved in the 50th minute. Deborah Abiodun saw a red card in the 98th minute for a crunching tackle on Ashley Lawrence and will miss the next match.

Switzerland 2—Philippines 0

Ramona Bachmann 45’

Seraina Piubel 64’

The Philippines looked organized in their World Cup debut, but couldn’t quite find the momentum needed after their opening goal was called back. Switzerland was willing to wait the extra second before going forward and their patience paid off in the final third.

Spain 3—Costa Rica 0

Valeria del Campo 21’ (OG)

Aitana Bonmati 23’

Esther González 27’

Spain had a dreamlike ten minutes that started with Costa Rica conceding an own goal. Despite dominating possession and creating chances, Spain lacked the ability to clinically finish. Costa Rica was playing without Rocky Rodriguez and looked uncertain throughout the match.

USA 3—Vietnam 0

Sophia Smith 14’, 45 + 7’

Lindsey Horan 77’

With a Savannah DeMelo start and Julia Ertz at center back, the USA’s opening match held quite a few surprises—Sophia Smith scoring was not one of those. Vietnam was organized and committed numbers to defense, with keeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh saving an Alex Morgan penalty.

Japan 5—Zambia 0

Hinata Miyazawa 43’, 62’

Mina Tanaka 55’

Jun Endo 71’

Riko Ueki 90 +11’

Japan dominated in Zambia’s world cup debut, with a midfield that controlled the tempo and the technical ability to finish chances. Zambia’s keeper, Catherine Musonda, picked up a second yellow in the challenge that led to Ieki’s penalty kick. The soft red card complicates Zambia’s goalkeeping situation, with starter Hazel Nali missing the tournament due to an ACL injury.

England 1—Haiti 0

Georgia Stanway 29’

A track meet of a match, England needed a retaken Georgia Stanway penalty to get on the board and win the match. Haiti kept the match exciting with their pace and ability to shut England down and spring a quick counter. The quick, fluid game played by Haiti highlighted England’s struggle to keep momentum and stay composed.

Denmark 1—China 0

Amalie Vangsgaard 89’

Denmark and China were evenly matched with two shots on target each—the difference being Vangsgaard managed to find the back of the net with hers. China continued their struggles with scoring, though Denmark’s strikers also looked lackluster.

Sweden 2—South Africa 1

Hildah Magaia 45’(RSA)

Fridolina Rolfo 65’ (SWE)

Amanda Ilestedt 90’ (SWE)

South Africa struck first to put the pressure on Sweden, who clawed their way back with an own goal and a late set piece goal. The rain helped to slow the game down, preventing South Africa pressing forward as fast as they would have liked. Choosing their moments, South Africa showed their ability to capitalize on small mistakes to score big goals.

Netherlands 1—Portugal 0

Stefanie van der Gragt 13’

Portugal had a nervy debut against the Netherlands, concerning a set piece goal early and then relying on Inês Pereira to come up big. While the Netherlands managed to generate several chances, Portugal struggled to get into the final third and couldn’t connect their passes.

France 0—Jamaica 0

A defensively organized Jamaica held France scoreless and provoked French frustration at their inability to find the back of the net. While Jamica looked comfortable playing as a team, Franc never quite managed to find their rhythm. Bunny Shaw picked up a controversial second yellow late in the game, meaning the Jamaican star will miss the next match.

Italy 1— Argentina 0

Cristiana Girelli 87’

Italy bet on their youth, but it took subbing on Girelli for them to find the back of the net late in the game. Both teams came to play and were unafraid to commit to a crunching tackle to prevent the opposition from getting too comfortable. The rough play disguised the quality on both sides of the ball, even though clinical finishing was missing.

Germany 6— Morocco 0

Alexandra Popp 11', 39'

Klara Bühl 46'

Own Goal 54'. 79'

Lea Schüller 90'

Despite a strong defensive performance from Morocco in the first half, Alexandra Popp and Germany couldn't be stopped. Morocco had chances, especially early, but couldn't convert while Germany had clinical finishing and was helped by two own goals.

Brazil 4—Panama 0

Ary Borges 19’, 39’, 70’

Beatriz Zaneratto João 48’

Ary Borges scored a hattrick in her World Cup debut against debutantes Panama. With Brazil firing on all cylinders, Panama did well defensively to minimize first time chances, with second balls being their undoing. Throughout the match, Brazil looked creative and deadly, finishing their chances.

Colombia 2— South Korea 0

Catalina Usme 30’

Linda Caicedo 39’

Colombia managed to keep South Korea hemmed in to their own half for much of the game, preventing the outlet pass. Linda Caicedo caused chaos, which freed up other Colombian players, and also proved the wisdom of shooting when one gets the opportunity. Casey Phair made her World Cup debut for South Korea as the youngest player to see minutes.

Philippines 1— New Zealand 0

Sarina Bolden 24’

Sarina Bolden made history scoring the first world cup goal for the Philippines (who are also the first debutant team to score). New Zealand only settled into the match late in the second half, struggling to find chances or do much with their possession. The Ferns lackluster performance was complimented by the Philippines commitment to defense and an impressive performance by goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel.

Switzerland 0—Norway 0

In a game that generated controversy for Norway’s decision to not start Caroline Graham Hansen or Ingrid Engen, both teams struggled to find chances. Ada Hegerberg also missed the game due to feeling something on her last sprint in warmups. Norway still had the better of the chances but couldn’t put any in the back of the net.

Japan 2—Costa Rica 0

Hikaru Naomoto 25’

Aoba Fujino 27’

Two goals in two minutes sealed the deal for Japan, who dominated the scoring chances in the game. 19 year-old Aoba Fujino scored a near post beauty in the 27th minute to cap off an excellent run of play for Japan. Costa Rica managed to hold Japan scoreless in the second half, but couldn’t find a way to break through and generate their own chances.

Spain 5—Zambia 0

Teresa Abelleira 9’

Jennifer Hermoso 13’, 70’

Alba Redondo 69’, 85’

This marks the second game where Spain has put up an impressive number of goals, demonstrating their impressive ability to move the ball around and pull defenders out of position. Zambia had chances, especially with Barbara Banda up top, but couldn’t convert on their chances. With the win, Spain advances into the knockout rounds.

Canada 2—Ireland 1

Katie McCabe 4’ (IRE)

Megan Connolly (OG) 45 + 5’

Adriana Leon 53’

Even a Katie McCabe Olympico couldn’t save Ireland from being knocked out by Canada. Ireland capitalized on their chances early but couldn’t find another goal despite coming close late in the second half. Canada still struggled to find momentum, though were patient in the buildup to their second goal.

USA 1—Netherlands 1

Jill Roord 17’ (NED)

Lindsey Horan 62’ (USA)

The United States looked flat for much of the first half, only coming alive after Lindsey Horan’s goal in the second. A lack of US substitutions and the ability of the Dutch to exploit space in the box to make their few chances look dangerous made it difficult for the US to look in control of the match. The Dutch scoring on their first shot illustrate the finishing issues the US has this tournament.

Portugal 2—Vietnam 0

Thelma Encarnação 7’

Francisca Nazareth 21’

Portugal came out running and managed to hold onto the clean sheet for the rest of the match. Vietnam managed to defend Portugal’s chances, but couldn’t come back from going down two goals early in the first half. The win was Portugal’s first ever at the World Cup and eliminated Vietnam from the knockout stages.

Nigeria 3—Australia 2

Emily van Egmond 45 + 1’ (AUS)

Uchenna Kanu 45 + 6’ (NGA)

Osinachi Ohale 65’ (NGA)

Asisat Oshoala 72’ (NGA)

Alanna Kennedy 90 + 10’ (AUS)

Even late game heroics by Alanna Kennedy couldn’t get the Matildas a draw in a tight game that saw Australia open and close the scoring while struggling in the middle. Nigeria made the most of their chances, keeping their shots on target and forcing Australia to make saves and commit to defending.

Argentina 2—South Africa 2

Linda Motihalo 30’ (RSA)

Thembi Kgatlana 66’ (RSA)

Sophia Braun 74’ (ARG)

Romina Núñez 79’ (ARG)

South Africa had control through most of the game, but Argentina managed to convert their chances late in the second half. In a game where Argentina’s defense gave an example of what not to do, the forwards managed to cover up the mistakes and bring the game even. South Africa controlled the tempo of tha game and managed to find the seams in the Argentine defense.

England 1—Denmark 0

Lauren James 6’

Once again an early goal gave the English a lead that they protected throughout the remainder of the game. Keira Walsh went down with an apparent knee injury and the rest of the English squad saw rotation in the match. Denmark couldn’t find a way to break out and make their chances dangerous.

China 1—Haiti 0

Wang Shuang 74’

China managed to convert a PK to give themselves the one-goal lead, despite playing down a woman from a 29th-minute red card to Zhang Rui. Haiti was unlucky to have a penalty call of their own reversed due to a VAR decision. The Haitian attack was dynamic, but couldn’t find a way to break through and convert their chances.

Sweden 5—Italy 0

Amanda Ilestedt 39’, 50’

Frida Rolfö 44’

Stina Blackstenius 45 + 1’

Rebecka Blomqvist 90 + 5’

Sweden managed to score three goals in eight minutes and then keep the pressure up in the second as Italy struggled to claw their way back into the game. Set pieces gave Italy trouble, especially corners. With the win, Sweden advances into the knockout rounds and Italy must win against South Africa to join them.

France 2—Brazil 1

Eugénie Le Sommer 17’ (FRA)

Debinha 58’ (BRA)

Wendie Renard 83’(FRA)

Individual moments of brilliance for Brazil weren’t enough to beat France, with Wendie Renard heading home a corner late to retake the lead. France opened quickly with a goal from Le Sommer before settling into a physical match. Brazil has never beaten France at a world cup.

Jamaica 1—Panama 0

Allyson Swaby 56’

Allyson Swaby gave Jamaica their first ever world cup win with a goal off a corner early in the first half. The game was back and forth until Jamaica broke through, finally finding their first goal of the tournament after a draw with France. Both teams had plenty of chances, but struggled to keep those opportunities on frame or connect with set pieces.

Morocco 1—South Korea 0

Ibtissam Jraïdi 6’

Morocco struck early on their way to their first ever world cup win, bouncing back after their performance against Germany. Despite having more possession, South Korea did not manage to have a shot on net for the entire game. The game also marked the debut of Nouhaila Benzina, the first player to wear a hijab at the world cup.

Norway 6—Philippines 0

Sophie Román Haug 6’, 17’ 90 +5’

Caroline Graham Hansen 31’

Alicia Barker 48’ (OG)

Guro Reiten 53’ (PK)

Norway finally came alive in their last group stage match to defeat the Philippines and advance second in the group, taking on Japan in the knockout round. Aided by an own goal and a second half penalty kick, Norway’s strikers finally found their way onto the scoresheet and managed to run through the Philippines defense. A red card to Sofia Harrison in the 67th minute didn’t help the Philippines to commit numbers to attacking, instead guaranteeing a defensive performance from the debutants.

Switzerland 0—New Zealand 0

Despite pushing for a goal, hosts New Zealand would end up with a tie that saw them knocked out of the world cup. Switzerland’s offense couldn’t find a way through in the rather even match, but the defense managed to keep New Zealand off the scoresheet. Switzerland advances top of the table and faces Spain in the round of 16.

Colombia 2—Germany 1

Linda Caicedo 52’ (COL)

Alexandra Popp 89’ PK (GER)

Manuela Vanegas 90 + 7’

Colombia upset Germany to go top of their group with a late goal from Vanegas off of a corner kick in the 97th minute. Linda Caicedo gave Colombia the early lead with a stunning goal and goalkeeper Catalina Pérez kept them in the game with timely saves. Germany only got on the board thanks to a PK won by Lena Oberdorf and converted by Alexandra Popp.

Japan 4—Spain 0

Hinata Miyazawa 12’, 40’

Riko Ueki 29’

Mina Tanaka 82’

In a battle for the top of the group, Japan managed to stifle Spain, who struggled to keep the ball on frame or generate dangerous chances. Japan meanwhile made the most of their chances, converting 4 of their 5 shots on frame into goals. The win against a Spain that appeared to be firing on all cylinders puts Japan into the conversation of contenders who could make a deep run in the tournament.

Zambia 3—Costa Rica 1

Lushomo Mweemba 3’ (ZAM)

Barbara Banda 31’ PK (ZAM)

Daphne Melissa Herrera Monge 47’ (CRC)

Racheal Kundananji 90 + 3’ (ZAM)

Zambia won their first ever world cup match in their final game, with Barbra Banda scoring the 1000th Fifa women’s world cup goal. Although Costa Rica had the majority of the possession, Zambia capitalized on their chances and disrupted the game flow. Costa Rica finished their world cup campaign without a win, losing all three of their group stage matches.

Ireland 0—Nigeria 0

With the draw, Nigeria advances to the round of 16, holding off an Ireland side hungry for their first ever world cup win. Both teams had their chances, but were unable to convert their opportunities thanks to tremendous goalkeeping on both sides.

Australia 4—Canada 0

Hayley Raso 9’, 39’

Mary Fowler 58’

Stephanie Catley 90 + 4’ PK

Australia meant business as they racked up four goals to eliminate Canada in their final group stage. Hayley Raso got the scoring started early in the 9th minute and Australia never looked back, exploiting the space Canada gave them. Canada, for their part, seemed sluggish and unready for the onslaught Australia threw at them from the opening whistle.

USA 0—Portugal 0

It was Portugal’s best game and one of the USA’s worst, though a draw sent the USA through to the round of 16. Portugal was organized, had a midfield diamond that controlled possession and advanced forward, and made the most of their chances. The USA looked uncertain, without a midfield, and seemed to have no plan in the run of play or on set pieces.

Netherlands 7—Vietnam 0

Lieke Martens 8’

Katja Snoeijs 11’

Esmee Brugts 18’ 57’

Jill Roord 23’, 83’

Daniëlle van de Donk 45’

The Netherlands took their opportunity to win the group seriously and found the back of the net early and often. Vietnam just couldn’t figure out how to defend the multiple avenues the Dutch were attacking from, though some second half subs stopped the bleeding a little.

England 6—China 1

Alessia Russo 4’ (ENG)

Lauren Hemp 26’ (ENG)

Lauren James 41’, 65’ (ENG)

Wang Shuang PK 57’ (CHN)

Chloe Kelly 77’ (ENG)

Rachel Daly 84’ (ENG)

England’s offense came alive in the final match, relentlessly finding the space to increase their goal total. China pulled one back on a penalty kick, but never really threatened England. With five players finding the back of the net, England appears to be finding their chemistry and their finishing at the right time.

Denmark 2—Haiti 0

Pernille Harder PK 21’

Sanne Troelsgaard Nielsen 90 + 10’

Denmark converted their first half penalty kick and then hung on through Haiti’s pressure before scoring well into stoppage time. Haiti had their chances but couldn’t find the back of the net on the counter. The debutants gave their group opponents more trouble than expected, while Denmark struggled to put together a comfortable performance.

Sweden 2—Argentina 0

Rebecka Blomqvist 66’

Elin Rubensson PJ 90’

It might have taken Sweden till the second half of the game to find their attacking rhythm after heavy rotation, but the Swedes leave the group stage undefeated. Argentina failed to look dangerous in the attacking third, though they made it difficult on Sweden to play fluid soccer.

South Africa 3—Italy 2

Arianna Caruso PK 11’, 74’ (ITA)

Benedetta Orsi OG 32’

Hildah Magaia 67’ (RSA)

Thembi Kgatlana 90 +2’ (RSA)

In a back and forth match that saw Italy surge ahead early only for South Africa to repeatedly come back to claim the lead, South African clinched their berth in the round of 16. An own goal and an outstanding performance from Thembi Kgatlana led South Africa to victory with late game heroics. Italy had their chances, but simply couldn’t match the intensity of the South African side.

France 6—Panama 3

Marta Cox 2’ (PAN)

Maëlle Lakrar 21’ (FRA)

Kadidiatou Diani 28’, PK 37’, PK 52’ (FRA)

Léa Le Garrec 45 + 5’ (FRA)

Yomira Pinzón PK 67’ (PAN)

Lineth Cedeño 87’ (PAN) Vicki Bècho 90 +10’ (FRA)

Panama’s Marta Mox scored the nations first ever World Cup goal in a back and forth match where France struggled to put Panama to bed. Kadidiatou Diani scored a hat-trick with a goal from open play and then tallied two penalty kicks. Panama took advantage of shaky moments by France to keep the group leaders on their toes.

Jamaica 0—Brazil 0

With an incredible defensive performance, Jamaica held Brazil to a draw and knocked them out of the World Cup. Brazil couldn’t find a way to break through Jamaica's defense and the chances they did have were stifled by goalkeeper Becky Spencer. The draw ended Marta’s dream of finally winning her World Cup in her sixth tournament.

Morocco 1—Colombia 0

Anissa Lahmari 45 + 4’

Morocco needed a win to advance and got one off a penalty kick that Colombia initially saved before the rebound was knocked in. Colombia had their chances, but couldn’t quite put all the pieces together to find the back of the net. World Cup debutants Morocco are onto the round of 16 as well as Colombia.

Germany 1—South Korea 1

Cho So-hyun 6’ (KOR)

Alexandra Popp 42’ (GER)

Caught flat-footed early, Germany chased the win for the entire 90 minutes, having chances, but never finding the go ahead goal. South Korea defended for their lives after scoring the opener, ending their tournament as the team that spoiled Germany's bid to the knockout rounds.


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