The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is just around the corner and is set to be the most-watched tournament in women’s footballing history.
15 of our Gunners have made the journey over to Australia and New Zealand to compete for the top prize in international football across July and August, and in fact only two other teams have more players at the tournament than us.
Here’s everything Gooners need to know about the Women’s World Cup:
World Cups gone by
This year’s competition will be only the ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup in history, with the first instance taking place in China in 1991. Unofficial World Cups did exist from the 1970s onwards after several federations reversed their bans on women’s football.
Since then, the United States have lifted the trophy four times and the Germans have done so twice. Frida Maanum’s home country of Norway won the second-ever iteration back in 1995.
Heading into this World Cup, the Americans are the reigning champions, having beaten Sarina Wiegman’s Netherlands side in the 2019 final.
Wiegman is now hoping to go one better as England’s head coach. The Lionesses are fresh from their huge win at the European Championships last summer, but significant injuries (including to our own Beth Mead and Leah Williamson) mean that it’s a different side heading to Australia and New Zealand.
Elsewhere in international tournaments, China won the 2022 Asia Cup ahead of the likes of Japan and Australia - the latter of which will be looking for some homegrown good fortune this summer. Brazil were victorious in the Copa America Femenina, captained by Rafaelle. The fan favourite centre-back departed North London this summer at the end of her contract.
Off the back of an outstanding season for us, midfield maestro Maanum will be looking for a similar showing for her native Norway this summer. She’ll be up against Swiss duo Lia Walti and Noelle Maritz in Group A.
Group B, meanwhile, hosts the most Arsenal clashes. The Republic of Ireland and Australia face one another on the tournament’s opening day, meaning that Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord will meet Katie McCabe as she captains the girls in green. This is the Irish's first-ever major tournament.
Olympic champions Canada have also been drawn in their group, meaning that Sabrina D’Angelo and Cloe Lacasse will also go head-to-head with several teammates in the opening stage.
The only other scheduled clashes occur in Group D, where England will battle with Denmark. Even at 20 years of age, Kathrine Kuhl is already a key fixture in the Danish squad that will face Alessia Russo, Lotte Wubben-Moy and their fellow Lionesses on July 28.
Our most recent arrival Alessia Russo joins her old college teammate, Lotte Wubben-Moy, in the Lionesses squad. Russo shone as a super sub in the 2022 Euros with her iconic backheel easily becoming one of the goals of the tournament and with England legend Ellen White now retired, the coveted number 9 role is up for grabs.
Cloe Lacasse has only represented Canada at the senior level since late 2021 but already has 19 caps to her name. Her first international goal came in a friendly against Argentina last year and she’ll be hoping for more opportunities to increase her goal tally on the world’s biggest stage this summer.
Centre-back Amanda Ilestedt also joins our Swedish contingent at the tournament. After spells with Rosengard, Bayern Munich and, most recently, Paris Saint-Germain, Ilestedt is appearing at her third World Cup. In her last showing in 2019, the Swedes came close to glory - eventually falling to the Netherlands in the semi-final.
On the gantry
On the BBC, our coach Jonas Eidevall will be providing insight from the commentary box, alongside a familiar face in Alex Scott.
Over on ITV, our very own Kim Little will be involved in their World Cup coverage, as well as club legends Emma Byrne and Karen Carney.
Full group schedule
Here is when you can see all our Gunners in action, with all times in GMT:
Thursday, July 20
New Zealand v Norway (Maanum) - 8am
Australia (Foord, Catley) v Ireland (McCabe) - 11am
Friday, July 21
Nigeria v Canada (Lacasse, D’Angelo) - 3.30am
Philippines v Switzerland (Walti, Maritz) - 6am
Saturday, July 22
England (Wubben-Moy, Russo) v Haiti - 10.30am
Denmark (Kuhl) v China - 1pm
Sunday, July 23
Netherlands (Pelova) v Portugal - 8.30am
Sweden (Blackstenius, Hurtig, Ilestedt) v South Africa - 6am
Tuesday, July 25
Switzerland (Maritz, Walti) v Norway (Maanum) - 9am
Wednesday, July 26
Canada (D’Angelo, Lacasse) v Ireland (McCabe) - 1pm
Thursday, July 27
United States v Netherlands (Pelova) - 2am
Australia (Foord, Catley) v Nigeria - 11am
Friday, July 28
England (Russo, Wubben-Moy) v Denmark (Kuhl) - 9.30am
Saturday, July 29
Sweden (Blackstenius, Hurtig, Ilestedt) v Italy - 8.30am
Sunday, July 30
Switzerland (Walti, Maritz) v New Zealand - 8am
Norway (Maanum) v Philippines - 8am
Monday, July 31
Canada (Lacasse, D’Angelo) v Australia (Catley, Foord) - 11am
Ireland (McCabe) v Nigeria - 11am
Tuesday, August 1
Vietnam v Netherlands (Pelova) - 8am
Haiti v Denmark (Kuhl) - 12pm
China v England (Wubben-Moy, Russo) - 12pm
Wednesday, August 2
Argentina v Sweden (Blackstenius, Hurtig, Ilestedt) - 8am
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