On Aug. 20, the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which took place in Australia and New Zealand, came to a close with a Spanish victory. The game was close and ended with Spain winning 1-0 against England. Spanish soccer player Olga Carmona scored in the first half of the game, which was just hours before she learned of her father’s death. Spanish soccer player Aitana Bonmatí won the Golden Ball award for being voted the best player at the tournament and her teammate Salma Paralluelo was awarded the Young Player Award at the age of 19. The Golden Boot award was given to Japanese soccer player Hinata Miyazawa, who scored five goals throughout the tournament. The Golden Glove was awarded to British goalkeeper Mary Earps.
After winning back-to-back World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019, the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) was seen as a fierce competitor, led by coach Vlatko Andonovski. Shockingly, the USWNT barely made it out of the group stage with one win over Vietnam and two ties against the Netherlands and Portugal. Fans of the USWNT were shocked because they were used to seeing a much more dominant team, and they worried because they now had to play against the third-best team in the world, Sweden, in the first elimination round. The game was extremely close with the United States having many shots on goal that were continually saved by Sweden’s talented goalkeeper Zećira Mušović, causing the game to go into extra time and then to penalty kicks. The USWNT started very strong in their penalty kicks, but eventually lost because two shots went over the goal, one shot hit the post and Sweden’s last shot barely crossed the line. It was hard to watch the USWNT lose like that when they were finally playing the way they should have, but this will definitely fuel them up for next year’s Olympic Games. Many fans were saddened when USWNT players announced their retirement after their loss. The team still made history, with goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher being the first goalkeeper, male or female, to score a penalty kick in a World Cup game.
This World Cup had some memorable moments, Cinderella stories, heartbreaks and inspiring players. For example, the Jamaican women’s soccer team barely made it to the World Cup, with their only source of funding being a GoFundMe page. They were able to make it and they definitely proved themselves, making it past the group stage for the first time in the team’s history, and knocking out Brazil, a historically successful team. Jamaica lost by one point to Colombia in the first elimination round, but Jamaicans were happy to see the team’s success and excited for their future.
Houston Dash and Nigerian national team player Michelle Alozie got a lot of attention for being stepped on by British soccer player Lauren James, who was given a red card for this action. Many World Cup fans have learned more about Alozie and have realized how special of a person she is. Although she plays for the Nigerian team, Alozie was born and raised in California, but she was eligible to play for the Nigerian team since both of her parents are from Nigeria. Alozie was able to lead her team to the first elimination round where they lost to England in penalty kicks, but just as impressive she graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Developmental Biology, and she plans to eventually become a cardiologist.
This was a record-breaking World Cup in many regards. First of all, it was the most attended Women’s World Cup of all time, and it is great to see that more people are watching women’s soccer. The final game ended with a record-breaking number of 75,784 people present for the game. This World Cup was extremely influential for women’s soccer and fans are thrilled for next year’s Olympics in Paris and the 2027 Women’s World Cup, which currently does not have a host.