Women’s World Cup Power Rankings: Re-ranking all 8 teams in the quarterfinals
Story by Caden Charpentier •43m
Women’s World Cup Power Rankings: Re-ranking all 8 teams in the quarterfinals© Provided by FanSided
Following eight action-packed knockout matches, the field at the 2023 Women’s World Cup shrinks to eight as the final inches closer.
If you want evidence of the growth of women’s football, look no further than the quarterfinalists at this year’s Women’s World Cup. Four different federations are represented, differing from 2019 where the United States WNT was the only non-European nation in the final eight. With the USWNT shockingly out of the competition, the door is open for even more chaos to ensue.
Japan is the only country left in the field that has lifted the world title in the past. Nearly three weeks ago, New Zealand took down Norway in dramatic fashion. Now, eight remain with the hope of being able to call itself “world champions”. Two out of the eight remaining will be competing in its first-ever quarterfinal match. Including the quarterfinal contests, six total fixtures are left until the World Cup final in Sydney, Australia on August 20.
Here is a look at how the last eight in this competition rank ahead of what is shaping up to be a thrilling set of fixtures.
2023 Women’s World Cup: Ranking all 8 quarterfinal teams
FIFA Ranking: 25
A world-class over-the-top ball by Ana María Guzmán, and a sensational finish by Colombia’s No. 11 Catalina Usme lifted the South American side into the knockouts. Jamaica, another underdog story at this World Cup conceded its first goal of the tournament to put an end to its Cinderella run. With a 1-0 lead after the 51′, Nelson Abadía’s team stayed disciplined and organized in the back while providing some sort of threat in the attacking third. It was a unique situation for them in the Round of 16 where Las Cafeteras had to be considered the favorites over Jamacia.
The Group H winners will get Manuela Vanegas back from yellow card suspension with a much more challenging contest on the horizon against England. Since the Colombians have qualified for a World Cup, they have improved each time out. 2011 they were eliminated in the group stage. 2015, the path ended in the knockouts. In its third appearance on the world stage, this country is quarterfinal bound.
With players like Leicy Santos, and Linda Caicedo, this team has that quality in the final third to challenge an English team that scraped their way through against Nigeria. In 2018, this country finished in fourth place in all of CONMEBOL. Now, Las Cafeteras are the last South American team left, demonstrating the quality in that federation outside of just Brazil.
FIFA Ranking: 9
It was not the most convincing display against South Africa, but at the end of the day, the 2019 runners-up finished the job. Goals by Manchester City’s Jill Roord, and Lineth Beerensteyn were enough to send the South Africans packing despite Banyana Banyana amassing more shots on target than the Dutch. Andries Jonker’s team dominated in possession all game long, but had no answers for the dynamism of Thembi Kgatlana up top.
It is the second straight World Cup in which the Netherlands are through to the final eight of the World Cup. Jonker’s side is going to have to be much more focused on the defensive end with the Spanish next up in the quarterfinals. Similar to three other teams left in this World Cup, the European outfit has conceded just one goal.
With a new coach at the helm, the Dutch hope that their World Cup campaign does not conclude in the same round as the Euros last summer. A penalty by French right back Eve Perisset in extra time ousted the defending European champions. Players like Dominique Janssen, and Jackie Groenen are going to be vital for the Dutch as they hope to qualify for the semifinals through crisp possession-based football.
FIFA Ranking: 3
No matter how much the United States pressured the Swedish backline, Zecira Musovic would not crack between the sticks. Her historic 11-save performance against the No. 1 team in the world was the catalyst in the Swede’s eventual penalty shoot-out triumph that closed the book on a historic chapter of the USWNT. By what looked like a width of a piece of copier paper, Lina Hurtig became the heroine at the conclusion of a match mostly dominated by the United States. Just one shot challenged Alyssa Naeher during the entire 120 of football ahead of the shoot-out.
The Swedish have finished in the top three in two out of the last three World Cups. Reaching that point in 2023 is going to be a tall task. Japan, the tournament’s most in-form side awaits the Swedes led by a coach who has shown exactly how versatile his team can be depending on the opponent. The Japanese can and quite possibly will concede possession. It is going to be about the backline constantly communicating in transitional moments if Sweden were to put an end to Japan’s journey.
It is all about surviving and advancing at this point. That is what Peter Gerhardsson’s team did. Equipped with plenty of experience on the world stage, and the confidence from a historic win over the USWNT, the Nordic nation can without question push further into this competition.
FIFA Ranking: 10
The energy within the stadium when the Matildas have taken the pitch so far this summer has been second to none. No host nation has finished in the top four of a Women’s World Cup since the United States WNT in 2003. With Sam Kerr back in the fold and Tony Gustavsson running the show from the sideline, Australia is more than capable of ending that streak.
The sheer brilliance of Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord on the left flank propelled the co-hosts to its fourth quarterfinal match in its last five World Cups. In the first 25 minutes of the Round of 16, Denmark looked dangerous in the final third, testing Mackenzie Arnold on more than one occasion between the sticks. A counter-attack led by Mary Fowler finally opened up the Danish defense. Foord slotted it away, sending the home fans into a frenzy. If the Matildas score first, it is difficult to see anyone coming from behind with the liveliness this country has shown to support this team.
Australia’s No. 9 ranks sixth in this World Cup in progressive carries, using her speed to expose the wings of the opposition’s defense. Now that Kerr is back in the picture, that is just another outlet this group will have at its disposal. Whether she will start against France is a question in itself, but at least Gustavsson knows she is fit enough to make an impact.
FIFA Ranking: 5
Going up against the weakest opponent in the last 16, Hervé Renard French WNT dominated, taking down Morocco 4-0. Led by Kadidiatou Diani, France found the back of the net three times within an eight-minute span during the first 45 minutes. Les Bleues have converted 10 goals in their last two matches combined heading into the quarterfinal against one of the host nations.
With Grace Geyoro, and Sandie Toletti at the heart of the French midfield allows the quality of players like Diani and Eugénie Le Sommer to shine in the final third. This is the third straight time that France has clinched a spot in the final eight of a World Cup. The two other occasions did not end so well for the European outfit.
Two Megan Rapinoe penalties in 2019 proved to be the nation’s demise. In 2015, Claire Lavogez’s penalty kick shoot-out miss allowed the Germans to move into the final four where they faced England. With a goal and two assists against the African side, Diani now leads the tournament in total goal contributions, ahead of Lauren James by one.
FIFA Ranking: 6
Despite the drama heading into the tournament, Jorge Vilda’s side has scored 13 goals in its three wins heading into the quarterfinals. With three goals and two assists, Barcelona’s Aitana Bonmatí has arguably been the best midfielder in this World Cup. Other than that wacky own goal, the Spanish eased by Switzerland, controlling the entirety of the contest with purposeful-possession football.
11 players that contributed to the match against the Swiss completed 80 percent or more of their passes. Vilda made a shock change in net, slotting in Cata Coll for Real Madrid’s No. 1 Misa Rodríguez. Coll was not challenged all that much between the posts, but you have to wonder if Vilda will put the Barcelona back-up back in net against the Dutch. Spain is playing with the kind of joy the United States were lacking for its entire World Cup campaign.
From top to bottom, the Spanish possess world-class talent. With 102 caps, Jennifer Hermoso leads the team on the left side of a midfield three. Teresa Abelleira has been the orchestrator all competition long for Spain, completing the most passes of any midfield or attacking player. With her in the midfield, and players like Salma Paralluelo in the frontline, there are simply just headaches all over the pitch for an opponent’s defense.
FIFA Ranking: 11
One match, the Japanese needed less than 25 percent of the ball to clinch the victory. A few days later, Futoshi Ikeda’s team put on a show while keeping control of over 60 percent of possession against European power Norway. That is what the football world calls flexibility. To beat the best of the best, you have to be ready and willing to adapt. Nobody has done that more effectively through four contests than Ikeda and Japan.
The Japanese have an incredible ability to break out into counter-attacking while at times pressing the opponents’ backline into making mistakes. No move that Ikeda has made so far has been proven to be an incorrect call. Hinata Miyazawa is the current leader in the Golden Boot race with five goals in four games.
While she may be the finisher, the build-up to these goals allows the forwards like Miyazawa to be in the best position to either create or take the shot. Japan is not the team to make mental errors, capitalizing on almost every opportunity in front of goal that comes its way. This Asian side has scored two or more goals in every game so far in this tournament. All have been in a variety of ways. Nothing so far has been a challenge for this team, but that should change against a quality Swedish team.
FIFA Ranking: 4
The European champions sit at the top of the quarterfinal power rankings after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out victory over Nigeria in the Round of 16. The team rebounded from Georgia Stanway missing her opening spot kick, converting on the final four attempts to seal the deal over the African side. The triumph is the fifth successive time at the World Cup in which England has reached at least the final eight.
Taking out the Nigerians came at the expense of the Lionesses’ world-class winger, Lauren James, who received a red card for stomping on the back of Houston Dash’s Michelle Alozie. James later apologized for her uncharacteristic action that will now see her miss the quarterfinal game against Colombia. No matter how many losses the English have suffered, this team has always found a way to overcome that and turn the page. Considering the side of the bracket that the Lionesses are on, the No. 4 ranked team in the world has arguably the most straightforward path to the semifinals. Losing James is a tough blow, but this is not the first team Sarina Wiegman has lost top-class talent.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup quarterfinals begin on Thursday, August 10 at 9:00 p.m. EST on FOX Sports when the Netherlands clash with Spain.