Just like every FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2023 Australia-New Zealand edition has also sprung up a bunch of new stars for the world to look up to.
Spain, which beat England in a hard-fought final to secure its maiden title, was powered by a collection of breakout stars, including skipper Olga Carmona, who scored the sole goal in the final.
Here are the breakout stars from the 2023 World Cup:
Despite her side getting knocked out in the quarterfinal, Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa would clinch the golden boot, with five goals.
The Japanese striker was lethal in front of goal as she anchored her side’s counter attacking style with remarkable efficiency. The 23-year-old scored her tally of goals from just six shots on targets (13 totals shots).
Miyazawa’s best performance came in the group stage, when her brace helped Japan demolish Spain 4-0, despite her side enjoying only 22% of the possession.
Having represented Spain in athletics, Salma Paralluelo came into the Spanish World Cup squad with some pedigree. The 19-year-old would eventually prove to be the difference for her side in the knockout stages.
In an edgy quarterfinal, with Netherlands dragging the game into extra time, Paralluelo would come off the bench and score the winner in the 111th minute.
The Barcelona star would repeat the trick in the semifinal, scoring the opener against Sweden late in the game, setting the stage for another close win for her side. Paralluelo started the final against England and was declared the best young player of the tournament.
Spain’s title win was powered by its skipper Olga Carmona, who scored the winner in the final and semifinal as she guided her side to its maiden title.
In the final, the left-back was found by a through ball from Mariona Caldentey, after she made a surging run into the box. The 23-year-old found the perfect shot to find a way past Mary Earps in the English goal. This would turn out to be the only goal of the final.
Her winner against Sweden in the semifinal was even more dramatic, with the goal coming in the 90th minute and merely seconds after the Swedes had managed an equaliser.
Swedish goalkeeper Zecira Musovic dropped a career-defining performance against the USA. The 27-year-old made 11 saves against the rampant Americans, as she helped her side over the four-time champion in the round of 16.
Musovic made a wide variety of saves against the American attack to preserve a clean sheet. Sweden would eventually make it to the quarter after a nervy penalty shootout.
The Swedish keeper conceded only four goals in the tournament, with Sweden clinching the third place after beating Australia in the playoff.
Colombia’s dream run to the quarterfinal was propelled by its wunderkind Linda Caicedo.
With her goal against South Korea in Colombia’s tournament opener, she became the second-youngest player to score in the Women’s World Cup, after Brazil’s Marta. The Real Madrid star would score again in the second group stage, as he side upset two-time champion Germany to secure its progression into the knockout stage.
Caicedo would have a subdued knockout stage, but her overall performance in the tournament further cements her status as the next big thing in women’s football.