Talented Field at Women’s World Cup but can Anyone Defeat Team U.S.?

The Women’s World Cup is set to begin on July 20 and the US team is the favorite to win at +225. There are several teams, however, that could pull off the upset.

Spain has Alexia Putellas, the GOAT of women’s soccer. Picture Wayne Gretzky’s vision, Lionel Messi’s ball-handling wizardry and Erling Haaland’s strength and finishing ability and, well, you almost do the left-footed midfielder justice. Yes, she’s that good. Plug her name into YouTube, sit back, relax, and prepare to be amazed.

Odds to Win Women’s World Cup

  • USA +225
  • England +400
  • Spain          +550
  • Germany +700
  • France +1000
  • Australia +1100
  • Sweden +1600
  • Brazil +2200
  • Japan +2500
  • Netherlands +2500

Odds courtesy of BetMGM

Canada has Christine Sinclair, the most prolific international scorer in the history of soccer. Yes, you read that correctly. Her 190 goals eclipse Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mia Hamm, and Abby Wambach. Oh, and Sinclair captained the Canadians to Olympic glory in 2021.

Co-host Australia has Sam Kerr, one of the best strikers on the planet. Before she left the States for Chelsea in 2020, Kerr was the NWSL’s two-time MVP and the league’s all-time leading scorer. Since going to England, Kerr has scored almost a goal per game in one of the toughest women’s leagues in the world, pacing Chelsea to four consecutive league titles and three Women’s FA Cups.

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England Next Pick to Win

Speaking of England, it has Lucy Bronze, the gold standard for fullbacks. The right back controls the game going forward like a No. 10, yet defends like a No. 6. She poses questions opponents have no answer for over the entire pitch.

And yet, none of the aforementioned murderer’s row of incandescent talent plays for the favorite to hoist the 2023 Women’s World Cup when the final whistle blows at Stadium Australia in Sydney on August 20.

With Australia and New Zealand co-hosting, the WWC goes Down Under to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time ever. And yet, the Cup still goes through the United States, who are +225 favorites to three-peat as WWC champions.

Before you call in the parades, know it won’t be easy. Know the U.S. Women’s National Team has an Outback-sized target on its collective backs and understand that even expanded to a record 32 teams, this is the most competitive WWC in history.

U.S. Team Hit with Injuries

The Americans are missing the team’s heartbeat—captain Becky Sauerbrunn and Mallory Swanson, along with Christen Press, Sam Mewis and Catarina Macario. They’re all sitting this one out with injuries. They’re nursing back the talismanic Megan Rapinoe—who at 38, won’t be a starter in her final go-round—and the underrated Rose Lavelle from their own injuries.

Amid all that—or perhaps because of some of it—head coach Vlado Andonovki has been on a fishing expedition, hoping to haul in a consistent system that isolates the collective talent he does have at his disposal. Questions do remain about his tactical prowess.

All this raised the collective confidence of the rest of the world’s soccer powers. England comes to its former penal colony outpost with one of its greatest teams, doubling as the reigning European champions. The Lionesses’ back four of Bronze, Millie Bright, Alex Greenwood and Jess Carter is the best defensive quartet in the game. Young forwards Ella Toone and Alessia Russo are potent up front and the Lionesses own a 2-1 victory over the US at Wembley last fall.

And yet, England is the +400 second choice because the Lionesses are missing captain Leah Williamson, star forward Beth Mead and midfielder Fran Kirby, the two-time FA Player of the Year.

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Value in Backing Spain, Canada

Spain, the +550 third choice, has Putellas, team captain Irene Paredes, Jennin Hermoso, Salma Paralluelo, who may be the fastest player in the tournament, as well as Aitana Bonmati. But like several other teams in the field (Canada, France and Japan), Spain is battling its own federation over compensation. Plus Putellas is coming off a torn ACL that cost her the 2022-23 season, posing the question: Which Alexia Putellas are we going to see?

What about Canada, which offers value at +3300? It did win Olympic gold two years ago, meaning nothing short of a Cup will suffice here. The Canadians are ranked seventh in the world in the latest FIFA rankings and have Sinclair and fellow veterans Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence. But Canada finds itself in with Australia, Nigeria and Ireland. It also finds itself with a federation that refuses to pay them and attacker Janine Beckie, who tore her ACL in January.

Speaking of Australia, the Matildas are the sixth choice at +1100. But Kerr and Co. give them the best opportunity to finally break past the quarterfinals—a plateau they reached three times. Playing in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne is an advantage. But this comes with the double-edges sword of monster expectations. The U.S. is the only host country to make the final four, winning in 1999 and finishing third in 2003. Plus, Australia needs to win its brutal group to avoid England in the quarterfinals. Losing to its former colonial overlords at home would turn Australia into Prozac Nations.

All Roads Lead to U.S. Team

Which brings us back to why the U.S. is a deserving favorite here. Yes, the Americans are missing key pieces. But the eternal depth of U.S. Women’s Soccer brings you returners Rapinoe, Lavelle, Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz, Kelley O’Hara and Alyssa Naeher, who own two of these already. They bring you midfielder/fullback Crystal Dunn, one of the best multi-threat players in the world—a two-way threat with a Stephen Hawking-level soccer IQ.

And they bring you Sophia Smith. In case you’re not familiar with Smith, you will be soon. A relentless and remorseless attacker, Smith’s howitzer leg and Sherman Tank-style play make her unplayable.

If that weren’t enough, the U.S. finds itself in the easiest side of the bracket, conveniently avoiding England, Germany, France, Australia, Brazil and Canada until the finals. The only serious obstacles to that date in Sydney are Spain and Japan.

And then, there’s this. In the previous eight Women’s World Cups, dating to 1991, the U.S. has lost four games. If the rest of the world doesn’t fear the Americans as much as they once did, they remain aware of where the title runs through.

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