The stage is set for the highly anticipated Women’s World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, and the excitement among soccer enthusiasts is palpable. Kicking off on July 20, this quadrennial tournament features an expanded field of 32 teams, up from 24, with 64 matches in store for fans worldwide.
Although Canada has a shot at World Cup success, the spotlight shines brightest on the two-time defending World Cup champion, the United States, as they embark on a quest for an unprecedented three-peat. Having triumphed in the 2015 event in Canada and the 2019 tournament in France, the American team holds four World Cup titles, the most of any nation.
Canada’s best finish at a World Cup was in 2015 in Edmonton when the team made it to the quarter-finals.
Navigating the Tournament
The 32 participating teams are divided into eight groups of four, and the group stage runs from July 20 to August 3. Each team faces a three-game, round-robin competition to determine the top finishers who will advance to the round of 16, scheduled for August 5-8. The quarterfinals will take place on August 11-12, with the two semifinal matches set for August 15-16. A third-place game precedes the final in Sydney on Aug. 19.
The final match is set to air at 6 a.m. ET on Aug. 20.
Canada’s tournament gets underway today, July 20, at 10:30 p.m. when the team tackles Nigeria. Other teams in Canada’s group include the Republic of Ireland, which they play July 26 and host country Australia (July 31), which won its first match versus Ireland on July 20.
Canada has fallen to seventh in the world ranking, although the team is defending Olympic champions. Australia is 10th while Ireland and Nigeria are further down the ladder at 22 and 40 respectively.
The US dynasty
The road to a third consecutive title won’t be easy for the United States, given the increased competition and the arduous tournament format. Coached by Vlatko Andonovski, the team will face formidable opponents in Group E, including Vietnam, the Netherlands, and Portugal.
The US team’s opening match against Vietnam in Auckland will be aired in the US on July 21 at 9 p.m. ET, showcasing the challenges of navigating time differences in the broadcast schedule.
Eyes on the players
The Women’s World Cup presents an array of star players, divided into two captivating groups. Among the veterans, Canada’s Christine Sinclair stands out as international soccer’s all-time leading scorer with an impressive 190 goals. Other notable figures include Brazil’s Marta, Australia’s Sam Kerr, France’s Wendie Renard, and American Alex Morgan. Megan Rapinoe, set to appear in her fourth World Cup, has announced that this tournament will be her final appearance before retiring from soccer.
For Toronto area soccer fans, there are many familiar names to cheer on at the Toronto. There are eight players from the GTA including some of the stars of the team.
One of the absolute phenoms on the team is Brampton’s Kadeisha Buchanan who plays her professional football with Chelsea FC. The three-time Canadian soccer player of the year will anchor the team’s defence at the centre back position.
Joining Buchanan on defence is Ashley Lawrence, another product of Brampton’s vaunted minor soccer league. Lawrence plays alongside Buchanan on Chelsea FC as well, so expect some well-established chemistry between the two stars.
In the midfield, Quinn is looking to have a strong tournament. Check out our profile of Quinn here.
For a full rundown of the roster including the rest of the GTA players go here.
Other teams to watch
While the United States remains a formidable force and holds the top spot in the FIFA rankings, contenders like Germany, ranked second, and Sweden, ranked third will undoubtedly present significant challenges to Canada. England, despite facing injuries to key players, is also considered a strong contender. Any sporting fan understands that Australia, on their home turf, will be a force to be reckoned with and especially when the side is boosted by the talents of Sam Kerr.
FanDuel Sportsbook places the United States as the favourite to win the World Cup with odds of +240. Following closely are Spain at +500 and England at +550. Canada is ranked at 11th in terms of betting odds to win the tournament at +4400.
As the anticipation builds, soccer enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await the unfolding drama, electrifying performances, and historic moments that the Women’s World Cup will undoubtedly deliver. From veterans showcasing their brilliance to young stars rising to the occasion, this tournament promises a spectacular celebration of women’s soccer on the grandest stage.
Where to watch
Elephant & Castle
Since 1997, Elephant & Castle has been delighting customers with pints and comforting British-style cuisine. They’re all about lively fun and football, so join them to catch one of the exciting matches!
Cafe Dip invites you to drop by and enjoy a refreshing pint of Carlsberg along with delicious pizza while watching the soccer games. Don’t miss the chance to win some fantastic soccer swag, including Carlsberg Yeti Coolers and Nike hats and hoodies from Canada Soccer! For early games, they offer extended liquor service, and you can catch both live matches and reruns. Make sure to swing by Cafe Dip for a great time!
The Aviary is an inviting sports bar that takes immense pride in creating a strong sense of community among its patrons. Boasting award-winning beers brewed on-site by Longslice Brewery the bar also features an enticing food menu, a wide selection of drinks, and freshly brewed craft beers, The Aviary provides a truly enjoyable experience for all soccer enthusiasts looking to watch the games in a welcoming and lively environment.
In Canada, games will be broadcast on TSN.
Here is a list of great sports bars in Toronto to watch the game.