Friday, July 19, 2019

Women´s World Cup: Who are the top 10 players to watch?

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Jun 2019

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World player of the year Ada Hegerberg has chosen to miss the party but the Women’s World Cup will boast a plethora of global stars.

Hegerberg’s principled protest, based on her perception of how the Norwegian federation treats women’s football, means the Lyon striker will be sorely missed in France.

Lining up to dazzle, however, will be an array of players ready to become household names or enhance already lofty reputations.

Here is a look at 10 women who are ready to make a major impact for their countries.

 

Christine Sinclair, Canada, striker

After more than 19 years on Canada’s national team, Sinclair could be entering her final World Cup. She is Canada’s all-time leading scorer and sits second on the list for women’s international goals scored with 181, three behind American Abby Wambach. Her impressive resume does not stop there, though, as her 282 caps is the third highest tally ever and makes her the only non-US player with more than 225.

 

Other notable accomplishments:

  • Two-time CONCACF Women’s Best XI (2018, 2016)
  • 14-time Canadian Female Player of the Year (2000, 2004-2014, 2016, 2018)
  • Two-time Olympic bronze medallist
  • Two-time winner of the National Women’s Soccer League with Portland Thorns (2013, 2017)

Alex Morgan, United States, striker

Morgan’s unique combination of athleticism, anticipation and technical ability has elevated her to the top of the game. She has tallied 101 goals in 162 appearances for the United States, playing a major role in the team’s 2015 World Cup triumph. Taking into account off-field endorsements, Morgan is reputedly the world’s best-paid women’s footballer.

Other notable accomplishments:

  • Olympic gold medal (2012)
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup winner (2015), runner-up (2011)
  • FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup winner (2008)
  • SheBelieves Cup winner (2016, 2018)
  • CONCACAF Women’s Championship winner (2014, 2018)

Marta, Brazil, forward

Marta Vieira da Silva, known as Marta, has established herself as one of the greatest women’s footballers in history. She holds the record for most goals scored at Women’s World Cup tournaments with a haul of 15 to date. Marta has a career total of 110 goals for Brazil, making her the country’s leading scorer, and all eyes will be on the 33-year-old once again in France.

Other notable accomplishments:

  • Two Pan American Games appearances (2003, 2007)
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup runner-up (2007)
  • Two-time silver medal at the Olympics (2004, 2008)
  • Five-time winner of FIFA World Player of the Year (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Four-time runner-up of FIFA World Player of the Year (2005, 2011, 2012, 2014)
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Ball (2007)
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Shoe (2007)

Megan Rapinoe, United States, midfielder

The experienced Rapinoe will be another key figure if the United States are to repeat their 2015 success. The playmaker first joined the national team in 2006 and has netted 44 times in 152 games, as well as making many more assists. Off the pitch, she has been a powerful campaigner for women’s football to be taken more seriously, not least by world governing body FIFA which she criticised in the lead-up to this year’s finals.

Other notable accomplishments: 

  • FIFA Women’s World Cup winner (2015), runner-up (2011)
  • Olympic gold medal (2012)
  • SheBelieves Cup winner (2018)
  • CONCACAF Women’s Championship winner (2014, 2018)

Sam Kerr, Australia, striker

Kerr has emerged as one of Australia’s first marquee players and the 25-year-old is heading to her third World Cup. She made her international debut as a 15-year-old against Italy in 2009 and has totted up 77 caps and 31 goals for the Matildas. Perth-born Kerr has been the top scorer in the National Women’s Soccer League, where she represents the Chicago Red Stars, in each of the last two seasons.

Other notable accomplishments: 

  • AFC Women’s Asian Cup winner (2010)
  • Tournament of Nations winner (2017)
  • Cup of Nations winner (2019)

Nikita Parris, England, forward

England had the top scorer at the last European Championship in Jodie Taylor, but there is a sense that the time has come for Parris to take over the scoring mantle for the Lionesses. The 25-year-old Liverpudlian is the Women’s Super League’s record scorer and such has been her development in recent seasons that all-conquering Lyon have pounced to take her from Manchester City. She could start on the wing for England, but her goal threat will remain.

Other notable achievements:

  • 12 international goals
  • 34 international appearances
  • Football Writers’ Association women’s player of the year (2019)
  • European Championship semi-finalist (2017)
  • SheBelieves Cup winner (2019)

Lucy Bronze, England, defender

Bronze was named in the ‘All Star’ squad after standing out for England at the 2015 World Cup, and the rapid rise of the Northumberland-raised player has continued in the years since. England boss Phil Neville believes she can play anywhere, but it is as an attacking right-back that the Lionesses have seen the best of the Lyon star. The former pizza shop worker has come a long way. She is now a Champions League winner with her French club, and if England are to thrive they will look for Bronze to set the standard.

Other notable accomplishments:

  • Women’s Super League winner (2013 and 2014 with Liverpool, 2016 with Manchester City)
  • SheBelieves Cup Winner (2019)
  • Captained England at 2018 SheBelieves Cup in absence of injured regular skipper Steph Houghton
  • French league winner with Lyon (2018, 2019)
  • European Championship semi-finalist (2017)
  • Professional Footballers’ Association women’s player of the year (2014, 2017)

Kim Little, Scotland, midfielder

Little has been a superstar of the women’s game for many years now, and it came as a crushing blow when a cruciate knee ligament injury ruled her out of Euro 2017. But the 28-year-old is raring to go this time, and with Scotland boasting quality all over the pitch then it could be a tournament where the Arsenal Women playmaker has a platform to show a worldwide audience exactly what she can achieve. Earlier in her career, Little landed the MVP and Golden Boot awards when running the show for the Seattle Reign in the NWSL.

Other notable accomplishments:

  • Has scored 53 goals in 133 appearances for Scotland
  • Named BBC women’s footballer of the year (2016)
  • Selected for NWSL Best XI (2014, 2015)

Amandine Henry, France, midfielder

Captaining the home team will be Henry, who won the silver ball at the 2015 World Cup, being pipped to the top prize by Carli Lloyd. She will anchor the French defence, a role she performs for European club champions Lyon, and will aim to emulate Hugo Lloris, who lifted the World Cup with Les Bleus last year.

Other notable achievements:

  • Joined Lyon as a teenager and recovered from a serious knee injury as a youngster to become a first-team regular
  • Has won 11 domestic league titles in France with Lyon, and one in the United States with Portland Thorns
  • Five-time Women’s Champions League winner with Lyon (2011, 2012, 2016, 2018, 2019)

Vivianne Miedema, Netherlands, striker

Arsenal pulled off a coup in May 2017 when persuading Miedema to join them from Bayern Munich, and months later the Dutch striker was playing a vital role as the Netherlands won Euro 2017 on home soil. Still just 22 years old, Miedema has been a goalscoring phenomenon at club and international level, striking 58 times in 75 appearances for the Netherlands. She helped to knock England out of the Euros two years ago, and should make the Dutch a threat in France too.

Other notable achievements:

  • As an 18-year-old she scored 39 goals for Heerenveen in the 2013-14 campaign, earning her move to Bayern Munich
  • Two-time women’s Bundesliga winner with Bayern Munich (2015, 2016)
  • Women’s Super League champion with Arsenal (2019)
  • WSL top scorer with Arsenal in title-winning season, netting 21 goals in 20 games
  • Current PFA player of the year
  • Won Under-19 European Championship with the Netherlands in 2014, also finishing as top scorer and player of the tournament

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