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World Cup 2023 injury tracker: France loses another star

France's Delphine Cascarino will miss the World Cup with an ACL injury. (Christian Liewig/Corbis via Getty Images)

France women’s national team star Delphine Cascarino  joins a growing list of top players who will miss out on the World Cup this summer due to injury.

Several more players remain question marks as they race to recover from their own ailments in time for the tournament, which kicks off on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand.

Just Women’s Sports is keeping track of the biggest names dealing with injuries ahead of the tournament.

Out for the World Cup

Janine Beckie, Canada

The 28-year-old forward tore her ACL during a preseason NWSL game in March. She later confirmed in an Instagram post that she will miss this summer’s World Cup after helping Canada to its first Olympic gold medal in women’s soccer in 2021.

“Having worked so hard during off-season for what was set to be one of the biggest seasons of my career, defending the title for @thornsfc and of course playing in the World Cup for Canada, being out for an extended period of time is a difficult pill to swallow,” she wrote.

Delphine Cascarino, France

French winger Delphine Cascarino suffered a partial ACL tear while playing for Lyon in a league win over Paris-Saint Germain on May 21. As a result, she will be sidelined for “several months” and will miss the World Cup.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to take part in the World Cup this summer with my teammates, whom I’ll be supporting from here,” Cascarino said on Instagram.

Cascarino has made 56 appearances for France, scoring 14 goals. Her loss is a blow to France’s chances at the World Cup, as the team also could find itself without Marie-Antoinette Katoto, who is still making her way back from an ACL tear.

Fran Kirby, England

Kirby is slated to undergo surgery on a knee injury she sustained in February, which will keep her out of World Cup contention, she revealed on May 2.

The 29-year-old midfielder had been trying to rehab her knee since exiting the pitch during a Chelsea match on Feb. 9. But after a reassessment with a specialist and the Chelsea medical team, she will have surgery to repair the injury. Details of the injury have not been disclosed.

“I have been trying my best to not have to undergo this but unfortunately my progress has been limited due to the issue in my knee,” Kirby wrote in a social media post. “I’m absolutely gutted to announce that this means my season is over and I will not be able to make the World Cup in the summer.”

Catarina Macario, United States

After tearing her ACL last June, the initial recovery timeline would have had the 23-year-old back on the pitch in plenty of time for this summer’s World Cup. But she “won’t be physically ready for selection,” she announced on May 23.

“The desire to return to play for my club and country has driven my training and fueled my everyday life,” she wrote. “However, what’s most important right now is my health and getting fit and ready for my next club season.”

Sam Mewis, United States

After dealing with a nagging injury since the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021, the 30-year-old midfielder underwent knee surgery in January.

“I don’t have a timeline for return to soccer,” she said after the surgery, all but certainly cementing her absence from the U.S. women’s national team lineup for the World Cup.

Vivianne Miedema, Netherlands

Miedema went down with a torn ACL while playing for Arsenal in December. The all-time leading scorer for the Netherlands, the 26-year-old forward ruled herself out of the World Cup in a statement.

“I won’t be able to help my team anymore this season, no World Cup, surgery and rehab for a long time,” she said.

Katie Rood, New Zealand

The 30-year-old forward has “joined the ACL club,” she announced Monday via Instagram.

Rood tore her ACL while playing for Heart of Midlothian WFC in the Scottish Women’s Premier League. A member of the New Zealand national team since 2017, she’s made 15 appearance and notched five goals.

“Obviously gutted about it,” she wrote. “I have intended to return to NZ in June for a training camp to have one final crack at making the World Cup team. Looks like life has other plans for me.. and as gutted as I am about the World Cup dream being over, I’m beginning to look forward to seeing what other opportunities are out there for me.”

Rood also called out the “serious issue” of the injuries plaguing the women’s game ahead of the World Cup.

“It’s a reminder that health care and medical treatment isn’t often the norm in the women’s game and we all know of players being left to fend for themselves after getting seriously injured with their clubs,” she wrote.

Mallory Swanson, United States

Swanson’s injury is not a torn ACL, but it’s just as serious: a torn patellar tendon. The 24-year-old forward had surgery to repair the ligament, which she tore in the USWNT’s first April match against Ireland. Patellar tendon tears typically have at least a six-month recovery timeline, although that can extend to as long as 12 months, so Swanson will miss the World Cup.

Leah Williamson, England

The 26-year-old defender became the latest player to tear her ACL during Arsenal’s match Wednesday against Manchester United. She is set to undergo surgery “in due course,” according to the club, and is “set for an extended spell on the sidelines.”

“Unfortunately the World Cup and Champions League dream is over for me and everyone will think that’s the main focus, but it’s the day to day of what I’m going through that’s the most draining of my thoughts,” she said in an Instagram post.

Doubtful for the World Cup

Marie-Antoinette Katoto, France

The 24-year-old striker tore her ACL last July during the Euros tournament. She reportedly had to pull back from her recovery at the beginning of the year, but she has resumed running and weight-bearing exercises.

While new France coach Herve Renard has not ruled her out for the World Cup, neither has he given any assurance of her return, as Le Parisien newspaper reported on May 26. Renard will reveal his World Cup roster on June 6.

Beth Mead, England

Another Arsenal injury, the 27-year-old striker ruptured her ACL last November during Women’s Super League play. While she has not been ruled out for the World Cup, she would need a “miracle” to be able to join the Lionesses, England manager Sarina Wiegman has said.

But on May 10, Mead said that she’s “ahead of schedule” in her recovery process. Still, she’s not confident about making the World Cup roster for England.

“The injury’s okay, I’m a good five months in now. I am back on the pitch and kicking a ball again, feeling good, ahead of schedule,” she said. “That’s all I can do that’s in my control right now.

“I wouldn’t say I’m confident [of going to the World Cup] because that’s out of my control, but I’m working hard to get as close to it as possible — but at the end of the day, it’s probably going to be Sarina’s decision.”

Christen Press, United States

The 34-year-old forward has had three surgeries on the same knee in eight months since she tore the ACL in her right knee last June during the NWSL regular season.

She has yet to feature for Angel City FC this season, and is still listed under a season-ending injury designation carried over from 2022. But she is “in return-to-play protocol,” per USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski, and Press said on May 9 that she is in “the final stretch” of her recovery and hopes to return to the field soon.

Speaking on ESPN’s “Fútbol Americas,” Press reiterated that it’s been “a unique recovery journey.”

“I’ve had some setbacks, and I’ve had some ups and downs. I think that’s normal,” she said. “I think this took a bit longer than I had hoped up until now. But I’m in the final stretch of my recovery. I’m starting to feel like myself again, getting my body back.”

And she’s aiming to be on the plane to Australia and New Zealand with the USWNT.

“There has never been a moment where I lost hope and that I took my focus off of the World Cup, from the moment that I got injured until now,” she said. “It’s the North Star for all of us professional players and it’s a motivation.

“Obviously the timing’s really tough. But I’m doing everything I can to get back as quickly as possible because it would be a dream come true to represent my country again at that level.”

Likely for World Cup

Millie Bright, England

The 29-year-old defender has been out with a knee injury since the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals in late March. The injury required surgery on a “bony cartilage lesion,” Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said in April.

Still, Hayes expects Bright to be available for the World Cup, she said on May 26.

“I am still confident she will make the World Cup,” Hayes said. “‘I don’t know what the timelines will be in this period, transitioning her from the Chelsea medical team to the England medical team, but I’m still confident she will make it.”

Alexia Putellas, Spain

The 29-year-old midfielder returned to the pitch on April 30 after tearing her ACL ahead of the Euros last June.

Putellas came off the bench during Barcelona’s 3-0 win against Huelva to secure the Spanish league title, which would put her on track for the World Cup.

Lucy Bronze

England defender Lucy Bronze underwent knee surgery in April after she went down during the Champions League semifinals, but Barcelona head coach Jonatan Giráldez downplayed the injury.

“She has a strain, an ailment. It’s a tiny intervention, just a couple of weeks,” he said. “Lucy has been important for us. We have plenty of players here and I know we have players that can step in.”

Bronze is “completely recovered and available” for Barcelona in the Champions League final on June 3, she told reporters on May 26.