The 2023 Women’s World Cup has put the spotlight on many incredible breakout players who are now receiving the global recognition they deserve.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup has been a treat for football fans from all over the world, as a tournament filled with upsets, unforgettable victories and goals, and of course, shining breakout players.
If there is a place to make your name known in the world of football, it is definitely the World Cup. And these are seven players who have not only proven their talent, but who have also brought glory and pride to the nations they are representing on the global stage.
Lauren James – England
Lauren James may be the breakout star of all the players at the 2023 Women’s World Cup. And while a lot of talk has to do with her red card from England’s match against Nigeria and her subsequent two-game suspension, this incident likely would not have gotten the same level of attention if it were not for her massive influence on the English squad.
The 21-year-old Chelsea player has been on a scoring spree since starting in England’s second match, where she netted a goal six minutes in to give the team a 1-0 win. From there, she scored two goals and assisted three others when England overpowered China in a 6-1 victory. She has proven herself as one of the most prolific goalscorers of the tournament, and she likely would have been able to rack up higher numbers if she had not faced a suspension.
Linda Caicedo – Colombia
Even before the 2023 Women’s World Cup started, many already expected Linda Caicedo to be among the breakout stars of the tournament. This is because she has been one of Colombia’s most influential players in previous international competitions, including the Under-17 World Cup.
She proved her supporters right just one game in, after she scored her first goal of the tournament on her Women’s World Cup debut, facing South Korea. But her real breakout performance took place one game later. Against powerhouse Germany, Caicedo scored a remarkable long-range goal that gave Colombia the 2-1 victory.
Though they eventually fell to England, Caicedo was a huge reason for Colombia’s quarterfinal finish — their best World Cup finish ever. They were also the only team from the Americas still in the tournament up until that point.
Sarina Bolden – Philippines
Sarina Bolden sent the Philippines — and the world — into a frenzy after she scored the country’s first-ever World Cup goal.
The Philippines came into the tournament as the underdogs, especially as the lowest-ranked team in their group. But, this is what made their victory over New Zealand, a team playing on home turf, that much sweeter. Thanks to Bolden’s goal in the 24th minute, the team’s energy was relentless throughout the remainder of the match, and the Filipinas all pulled together to hold on for an upset over the World Cup co-hosts that made headlines all over the world.
It was the Philippines’ first and only victory in the Women’s World Cup, but their breakout performance put Sarina Bolden, and the entire Filipinas squad, on the map.
Olivia McDaniel – Philippines
If Sarina Bolden gave the Filipinas the 1-0 lead over New Zealand, it was trusty keeper Olivia McDaniel who saved their win.
The Philippines’ slim victory over the tournament co-hosts does not tell the full story of New Zealand’s attempt to level the score. The co-hosts made plenty of attempts to take the lead, but it was McDaniel’s many crucial saves that protected the World Cup debutants. Even when Norway eventually knocked the Philippines out of the tournament with a 6-0 scoreline, McDaniel again saved many chances that could have made the loss much bigger.
After the match against New Zealand, she won the honor of Woman of the Match, and rightfully so, as her efforts in going toe-to-toe some of the world’s best strikers deserved to shine.
Sophie Haug – Norway
If you watched the Philippines vs. Norway, you probably remember the name Sophie Haug, as her performance in this particular match proved her to be among the breakout stars of the Women’s World Cup.
Norway had a poor start to the competition. After losing to New Zealand and drawing with Switzerland, the former World Cup champs desperately needed a win (and a big one at that) to secure a spot in the next round. And Haug was the woman to deliver. As Norway struggled without their star player, Ada Hegerberg, the 24-year-old Haug stepped up to the plate to provide her squad with three goals in Norway’s 6-0 victory over the Philippines.
Though they did not score a single goal in their first two matches of the World Cup, Haug made sure to make up for it in a big way.
Hinata Miyazawa – Japan
Japan had an incredible run in the group stage of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, winning all three of their games. As they topped their group, Hinata Miyazawa was one of the best players, not just on her team, but in the entire competition.
The 23-year-old, who made her World Cup debut this year, has already made a name for herself in a big way. Throughout Japan’s run that lasted until the quarterfinals, Miyazawa scored five goals and one assist in four games. With this record, she is currently leading the Golden Boot race as the World Cup’s top scorer (as of writing).
Mary Fowler – Australia
Sam Kerr is undoubtedly Australia’s most well-known player. But given her absence in the early games of the Women’s World Cup due to injury, Mary Fowler proved her ability to be a leading goalscorer for the team.
Although she is the youngest player on Australia’s roster, she took on the team’s attacking duty in full stride. She offered an important assist in Austalia’s win over Denmark and scored her first goal in their match against Canada in the group stage, but her breakout performance in the Women’s World Cup came when they faced France in the quarterfinal. Despite the match going into penalties due to a 0-0 scoreline after extra time, anyone who watched the match would be able to tell you that Fowler put France’s defense to the test, with her many shots on goal.
At only 20 years old, many are already looking to her as the future of Australia’s attack.
Who impressed you at the 2023 Women’s World Cup?