England forward Alessia Russo is carrying her time at the University of North Carolina with her as she prepares for her first World Cup final on Sunday.

“I thought if it’s good enough for the USWNT, who all go through the college system and have won so much, then I thought it would be good enough for me,” Russo told One Football of her decision to attend UNC.

“We had an Under-17 World Cup in Jordan and right after that I went out and visited the University of North Carolina and fell in love with the coaches, the players, the place, the weather and decided that that was where I wanted to go.”

With the Tar Heels, Russo wore No. 19 — the same number USWNT stars Mia Hamm and Crystal Dunn wore at UNC. It was brought out of retirement for Russo, and she delivered, earning ACC Freshman of the Year honors after scoring nine goals in 19 games that season. In honor of the two UNC alums, Russo wore a Hamm patch on one sleeve and a Dunn patch on the other.

“They then said they were going to bring it out of retirement and told me about Crystal and Mia wearing it before and then I was kind of like ‘woah,'” Russo said. “I didn’t know the magnitude that this shirt held, but I guess I had to step up to the challenge of it in my freshman year. You go in as a freshman and have to try and impress.”

Russo went on to star with the Tar Heels for two more seasons. She was named a First Team All-American in 2018 — the first to earn the honor since Dunn in 2013 — and again in 2019 after leading the team to the College Cup final with 19 goals during the regular season.

Playing in her first World Cup with England this summer, the 24-year-old Russo has scored three goals, including the game-winner in the quarterfinals and one in the Lionesses’ 3-1 win over Australia in the semifinals.

Spain will face England in the World Cup final at 6 a.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 20. Yet while both teams have taken impressive journeys through the tournament, oddsmakers believe Spain is the favorite.

La Roja held the early advantage, with -116 odds compared to -102 for England in the immediate aftermath of the semifinal matches, per FanDuel. Spain’s Jenni Hermoso and Alexia Putellas are the favorites to score a goal in the match, with +230 odds. England’s Alessia Russo comes next with +260 odds.

The teams advanced to the championship after a couple dramatic matches in the semifinal round.

Spain and Sweden were both scoreless when Salma Paralluelo broke the tie in the 81st minute. Rebecka Blomqvist evened the score for Sweden in the 88th minute, but Olga Carmona netted the game-winner the following minute to send Spain to the final.

England, meanwhile, defeated host Australia, 3-1, with a pair of goals in the final 20 minutes. Australian striker Sam Kerr evened the score at 1 in the 63rd minute, but Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo scored once each for England.

Both teams will play in their first World Cup final; England had made it to the semifinals each of the past two World Cups, but lost before reaching the championship.

In the third-place match, set for 4 a.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 19, home team Australia stands as the slight favorite at -120 compared to -110 for Sweden, per FanDuel.

England has advanced to their first Women’s World Cup final with a 3-1 win over host nation Australia in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Australia appeared on the verge of a comeback after Sam Kerr tied the game 1-1 with a long-distance strike in the 63rd minute. But England quieted the crowd with a response eight minutes later, as Lauren Hemp got on the end of a long ball and took advantage of miscommunication along Australia’s backline to restore England’s lead.

Alessia Russo, who scored the game-winner in England’s 2-1 win over Colombia in the quarterfinals, put the game away with another goal of her own in the 86th minute.

Ella Toone, who replaced suspended forward Lauren James in the starting lineup, opened the scoring for the Lionesses with a one-time strike into the top right corner in the first half.

Kerr ignited the home crowd in the second half with a stunning individual scoring effort. Australia’s star striker received the ball at midfield and dribbled all the way to the top of the 18-yard box before curling a shot past the outstretched hands of England goalkeeper Mary Earps.

Kerr was starting in her first game at this World Cup since injuring her calf in training before the tournament began. After missing Australia’s first two games, she had been on a minutes restriction leading up to the semifinal.

Kerr had multiple chances throughout the second half to give Australia the lead, but she couldn’t convert and England took advantage.

James will be available for the World Cup final after serving a two-game red-card suspension for stepping on the back of Nigerian player Michelle Alozie in the Round of 16. James emerged as England’s breakout star in the group stage, leading the team with three goals and three assists in the tournament.

England is moving onto another final of a major tournament after winning the Euros in their home country last year. Head coach Sarina Wiegman leads her second national team into a World Cup final after coaching the Netherlands in the 2019 final, which the Dutch lost to the United States. She is the first coach to do so with two different countries.

England will meet Spain in the championship game on Sunday (6 a.m. ET, FOX) after La Roja defeated Sweden 2-1 in a dramatic finish to the other semifinal game. Both teams are playing for their first-ever World Cup title.

Plenty of players have electrified the pitch throughout the World Cup, from Colombia’s Linda Caicedo to Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala to the USWNT’s own Naomi Girma.

Yet with the World Cup semifinals arriving Tuesday, Just Women’s Sports is taking this moment to highlight four of the best from the the four remaining teams: Australia, England, Spain and Sweden. These players are worth watching as we wait to see who will play for the title.

Australia: Hayley Raso

Raso and Caitlin Foord have lessened the sting from the absence of Matildas star Sam Kerr in the group stage and her limited playing time in the knockout rounds. Raso in particular has been a big part of that, scoring a team-leading three goals – including one against Denmark to help push the team to the quarterfinals.

The World Cup run for the home team also stands as an amazing journey for Raso, who battled back from a broken back five years ago to lead the Matildas to Wednesday’s semifinal against England.

England: Alessia Russo

Despite battling injuries and a red card, England has pulled through to the semifinals for a second consecutive World Cup. But the Lionesses will be without breakout star Lauren James due to her red card suspension.

Instead, they’ll need to rely on other stars, including Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo, both of whom who showed up on the scoresheet in the 2-1 quarterfinal win against Colombia. Russo is England’s second-highest scorer alongside Hemp, and she scored the game-winner against Colombia to seal her team’s spot in the semifinals. She will be needed once more against Australia. But she’s proved herself in big moments before, having scored a viral goal against Sweden in the Euros last summer. Now she’s showing up at the World Cup and is a vital piece in England’s run to a possible appearance in the championship match.

Sweden: Amanda Ilestedt

Amanda Illestedt is the top remaining scorer in the Golden Boot race with four goals, although Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa exited the tournament with five. For Ilestedt, who is playing as a central defender, to sit in the best position among the semifinalists has surprised even her own teammates.

“I don’t think so many of us were expecting her to be top scorer in our team,” forward Fridolina Rolfö said. “But she’s an amazing player, especially with her head, and I am so happy for her.”

Defensively, Ilestedt has helped Sweden to three shutouts and held opponents to just two goals scored in competition.

Spain: Salma Paralluelo

While Alba Ferrer, Aitana Bonmati and Jennifer Hermoso have all made their mark on this tournament with three goals apiece, it’s Salma Paralluelo who has made a bit of a name for herself for Spain. She’s scored just one goal this tournament, but it’s arguably the biggest of her career as the game-winner in the team’s quarterfinal match against the Netherlands. She came off the bench to create one of the biggest moments of the quarterfinals.

“We have succeeded. We have fought until the end. We have believed,” Paralluelo said after the match. “It was a unique moment. Great euphoria to have lived through that.”

Those who know soccer, though, should not be surprised at her rise. She helped Spain’s U-20 team lift the trophy at the U-20 World Cup in 2022, scoring two goals in the final to help the team to the trophy for the first time.

England entered its quarterfinal matchup against Colombia on Saturday at a disadvantage: Midfielder Lauren James, its top player, was given a red card and suspended after stepping on a Nigerian player in the Round of 16.

The Lionesses then went down a goal when Colombian midfielder Leicy Santos scored in the 44th minute.

England, however, was hardly ready to lie down. Forward Lauren Hemp knotted the game at 1 late in the first half, before forward Alessia Russo scored the go-ahead goal in the 63th minute.

“I really believe the best is yet to come,” said England goalkeeper Mary Earps. “There is so much talent in this group, and so many more levels that we can go.”

England’s national team has been on the rise in recent years, after winning the 2022 UEFA European Women’s Championship. The Lionesses also advanced to the World Cup semifinal in 2019.

The U.S. Women’s National Team’s stunning exit in the Round of 16 has created a void at the top of the international field – the USWNT won back-to-back World Cups in 2015 and 2019 – and England could be primed to fill it.

The Lionesses’ road forward will hardly be easy, though. England will play host Australia, which is coming off an emotional penalty kicks victory over France, in a semifinal match on Wednesday. And James will be unavailable once again because of the Nigeria incident.

“It’s exciting,” Russo said. “You want to play against the best teams.”

The 2023 World Cup is almost here, and all 32 teams — from Argentina to Zambia — have released the 23-player rosters for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

A number of big-name players will be missing after a rash of ACL injuries hit women’s soccer, among them the USWNT’s Catarina Macario, France’s Marie-Antoinette Katoto, the Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema and England’s Beth Mead and Leah Williamson. But plenty of stars will have their chance to shine, from Australia’s Sam Kerr in her home tournament to Brazil’s Marta in her sixth and final World Cup.

Just Women’s Sports has a complete breakdown of all 32 rosters.


Manager: Vlatko Andonovski
Key players: Naomi Girma, Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz, Crystal Dunn

The USWNT roster, announced on June 21, features some surprises and a plethora of newbies. Sophia Smith and Lynn Williams enter as the team’s two hottest forwards on a line anchored by veteran Alex Morgan. The back line will be missing Becky Sauerbrunn, leaving Naomi Girma to be the team’s defensive centerpiece in her first World Cup.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Germán Portanova
Key players: Vanina Correa, Sophia Braun, Estefanía Banini, Paulina Gramaglia

Argentina will make its fourth World Cup appearance. The men’s team had a successful 2022, winning a World Cup title. The women’s team will be looking to advance to the knockout stage for the first time.

“It is a big inspiration, but the expectation is not the same,” striker Paulina Gramaglia told the Associated Press, comparing the objectives of Argentina’s men’s and women’s teams. “We don’t have the same foundation that they have, we are not seeking to win the trophy. We have our own goals and our context.”

Link to full roster.


Manager: Tony Gustavsson
Key players: Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter, Caitlin Foord, Emily Van Egmond

World Cup co-host Australia named its final 23-player roster on July 3, led by all-time leading scorer Sam Kerr. The 29-year-old forward has scored 63 goals through 120 appearances for the Matildas.

The roster features a mix of veteran and youth experience, with Clare Polkinghorne the most-capped player at 156 appearances. Clare Hunt is the only player with less than 10 caps, as Australia opted for more experience in their home World Cup.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Pia Sundhage
Key players: Marta, Kerolin, Debinha, Andressa Alves

Superstar Marta has been included on Brazil’s World Cup roster, overcoming a left knee injury that she continues to rehab. A six-time world player of the year, she’s been to five World Cup tournaments — and scored in all five of them. She’s the first player to do so, and could make it six this time around. Marta has said this will be her last World Cup.

She’s joined by Kerolin, who has been on a tear to open up the NWSL season, as well as Debinha and Andressa Alves. There are a number of newcomers, with 11 of Brazil’s 23 players having never played in a World Cup. Star striker Cristiane, who has 11 World Cup goals, was not called up.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Bev Priestman
Key players: Christine Sinclair, Kailen Sheridan, Vanessa Gilles, Jordyn Huitema, Sophie Schmidt

Defending Olympic gold medalist Canada is led by captain and all-time leading international goal scorer Christine Sinclair. The team has had a tough start to the year, having threatened a boycott of Soccer Canada due to funding issues and pay disparity. While an interim deal was reached, the issues remain.

Canada also will be without one of its stars in Janine Beckie, who tore her ACL in March during an NWSL preseason game. But they’ve got Kailen Sheridan in net and a number of threats that place them among the contenders to win the World Cup.

Link to provisional roster. Final roster is set to be announced July 9.


Manager: Shui Qingxia

Key players: Wang Shuang, Shen Mengyu, Wu Chengshu, Wu Haiyan

China is let by captain Wu Haiyan into this year’s World Cup. They’ve played in every single World Cup but one, and haven’t not made it out of their group each time. They also finished runners-up in 1999 to the USWNT.

In 2019, they finished in the Round of 16, their worst-ever finish, and have had a rough go of it lately, losing 3-0 to Spain back in an April friendly.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Nelson Abadía
Key players: Linda Caicedo, Daniela Montoya, Catalina Usme

Colombia is led by captain Daniela Montoya and leading-scorer Catalina Usme into the 2023 tournament. This will be their third World Cup appearance, which includes a Round of 16 finish in 2015.

Link to full roster.

Costa Rica

Manager: Amelia Valverde
Key players: Raquel Rodríguez, Lixy Rodríguez, Priscila Chinchilla

Costa Rica announced its provisional roster on June 7, although as head coach Amelia Valverde said, it’s not a definitive list. She is willing to call other players into camp if necessary. This will be Costa Rica’s second World Cup appearance after the squad made its first in 2015.

The roster is headlined by Raquel Rodríguez, who plays for the NWSL’s Portland Thorns. Rodríguez is Costa Rica’s leading goal scorer with 55 goals in 100 international caps.

Link to provisional roster.  The final 23-player roster is expected at the beginning of July.


Manager: Lars Søndergaard
Key players: Signe Bruun, Sofie Junge Pedersen, Pernille Harder, Sanne Troelsgaard Nielsen

Denmark is led by captain and all-time leading scorer Pernille Harder. Sanne Troelsgaard Nielsen, who is third all-time, was also named to the roster. Denmark is making its first World Cup appearance in 16 years, with its last coming in 2007.

The team is without Nadia Nadim due to injury but has newcomers who could make a splash, including Josefine Hasbo and Amalie Vangsgaard.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Sarina Wiegman
Key players: Lucy Bronze, Rachel Daly, Mary Earps, Millie Bright, Alessia Russo

One of the World Cup favorites, England in particular has been hobbled by injury, with Mead and Williamson both set to miss the World Cup with ACL tears. Fran Kirby will also miss the World Cup due to injury. In Williamson’s place, Bright has been named captain of England’s World Cup team.

Not all hope is lost for England, as Russo, Beth England and Daly have stepped up their scoring in 2023, which could fill the holes that Williamson and Mead will leave.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Hervé Renard
Key players: Wendie Renard, Kadidiatou Diani, Eugénie Le Sommer

On July 4, France named its final 23-player roster. Les Bleus have faced turmoil in recent months, with women’s national team coach Corinne Diacre fired due to a “fracture” in her relationship with players.

Marquee players, including Wendie Renard, Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani, all said in February that they would not play with the national team until the team’s issues were resolved. Following the firing of Diacre and the hiring of Hervé Renard, Wendie Renard returned to the team. She and Diani are including on the provisional roster, as is top scorer Eugénie Le Sommer.

Katoto, though, will miss the World Cup with an ACL injury.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg
Key players: Lena Oberdorf, Lina Magull, Alexandra Popp, Lea Schüller

Another World Cup favorite, Germany’s World Cup provisional roster features 20 of the 23 players that helped the team finish as runner-up at last year’s Euros tournament.  Giulia Gwinn and Linda Dallmann were not named to the roster due to injuries, while Almuth Schult is missing due to pregnancy.

Alexandra Popp, one of the team’s best players, will feature as captain and is also one of the top international scorers.

Link to provisional roster. The final 23-player roster will be announced later in June.


Manager: Nicolas Delépine
Key players: Roselord Borgella, Batcheba Louis, Nérilia Mondésir, Kethna Louis

Haiti announced its preliminary roster on June 15, with just one player having over 20 international appearances. This is largely a roster with youth, including a number of American college athletes and French clubs.

Link to provisional roster.


Manager: Vera Pauw
Key players: Katie McCabe, Denise O’Sullivan, Sinead Farrelly

Sinead Farrelly is among the ranks of the Girls in Green, joining Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan on the roster.

Farrelly stepped away from the game in 2016 after experiencing sexual abuse at the hands of her coach. She made her return to the sport in 2023, playing for NJ/NY Gotham FC in the NWSL and making her first appearance for Ireland back in April.

Link to final roster.


Manager: Milena Bertolini
Key players: Cristiana Girelli, Barbara Bonansea, Elena Linari

Italy announced its 23-player squad on July 2, with a number of veteran and youth players. Two have no international appearances, while another pair have just one. But they’re joined by a number of veterans, including seven who have over 50 international appearances.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Lorne Donaldson
Key players: Khadija Shaw, Jody Brown, Allyson Swaby, Kiki Van Zanten

Jamaica’s World Cup squad features a number of professional and college stars. But the team has called out its national federation for its lack of support, and one of the players’ mothers has started a GoFundMe in order to get supplies and necessities for the World Cup.

Still, this is an exciting team, and one that could surprise in the group stages. Star forward Khadija “Bunny” Shaw is no stranger to scoring against some of the world’s best and has done so 56 times through 38 caps with Jamaica.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Futoshi Ikeda
Key players: Jun Endo, Maika Hamano, Yui Hasegawa, Hina Sugita

The last team to beat the USWNT at a World Cup, 2011 champion Japan announced its 23-player roster on June 13,  headlined by Yui Hasegawa.

“We will fight for the top spot with great ambition,” Japan coach Futoshi Ikeda said in Japanese. “But the level of (women’s) football in the world is improving very rapidly.”

Angel City FC forward Jun Endo made the team despite a recent knee injury. She scored in Japan’s 3-0 win against Canada in February at the SheBelieves Cup, but she saw plenty of room for growth in the losses to the USWNT and Brazil during the same tournament.

“We have to make every single game count and those mistakes can’t be happening,” she told The Athletic.

Notably, Mana Iwabuchi, who has played in three straight World Cups for Japan, was absent from the roster. Ikeda said he appreciated her “passion” but did not go into specifics on her omission.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Reynald Pedros
Key players: Ghizlane Chebbak, Rosella Ayane, Fatima Tagnaout

Morocco named its 28-player preliminary roster on June 19. The team will make its World Cup debut this year, featuring in Group H alongside Colombia, Germany and South Korea. Led by captain and leading scorer Chizlane Chebbak, Morocco brings a mix of youth and veteran talent Down Under.

Link to provisional roster.


Manager: Andries Jonker
Key players: Lieke Martens, Jill Roord, Daniëlle van de Donk, Sherida Spitse, Stefanie van der Gragt

The runner-up from the 2019 World Cup, the Netherlands looks a little different this time around. Then-manager Sarina Wiegman now coaches for England, while star player and top scorer Vivianne Miedema will be out of the World Cup after tearing her ACL in December.

After a bit of turmoil over the past year, Andries Jonker has taken over as head coach and will face a tall task in a group that features the USWNT, who beat the Dutch squad in the 2019 championship match.

Link to full roster.

New Zealand

Manager: Jitka Klimková
Key players: Ali Riley, Hannah Wilkinson, Grace Jale, Annalie Longo

World Cup co-host New Zealand announced its 23-player roster, as well as three reserve players: Ava Collins, Meikayla Moore and Kate Taylor. Ali Riley leads the squad as captain, with Ria Percival — the Ferns’ most-capped player — as vice captain.

A total of 10 players will make their World Cup debut at home.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Randy Waldrum
Key players: Asisat Oshoala, Michelle Alozi, Onome Ebi

Nigeria brings a number of veterans but also a number of new faces with them Down Under.

Asisat Oshoala is one of the biggest stars on the squad, with 29 goals for the Super Falcons since her debut in 2013. There’s also a number of familiar faces for NWSL fans in Uchenna Kanu (Racing Louisville FC), Ifeoma Onumonu (Gotham FC) and Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash). This will be Nigeria’s first major tournament under head coach Randy Waldrum.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Hege Riise
Key players: Caroline Graham Hansen, Ada Hegerberg, Maren Mjelde

Norway’s 23-player roster is led by Ada Hegerberg and Caroline Graham Hansen. Maren Mjelde is the most-capped player on the squad, with 165 international appearances.

This will be Hegerberg’s first World Cup since 2015, as she stepped away from the national team in 2017 as a form of protest due to how the Norwegian Football Federation treated women’s soccer. As a result, she missed the 2019 World Cup. She ended her exile in March 2022, however, and will complete her comeback with her World Cup return.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Ignacio Quintana
Key players: Riley Tanner, Lineth Cedeño, Marta Cox

Panama will make its World Cup debut this year, going up against Brazil, France and Jamaica in Group F. The roster has limited international experience, with no players having more than 20 appearances. They’re led by Marta Cox and Lineth Cedeño, who are the team’s top scorers.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Alen Stajcic
Key players: Hali Long, Quinley Quezada, Sarina Bolden

In total, 29 players were named to the provisional roster, including co-captains Hali Long and Tahnai Annis. Moving to No. 46 in the latest FIFA world rankings, it’s the highest-ever ranking that the Philippines has ever had.

The Filipinas are set to play against Switzerland, New Zealand and Norway in Group A. This will be their first World Cup appearance.

Link to provisional roster. The final roster will follow.


Manager: Francisco Neto
Key players: Jéssica Silva, Carolina Mendes, Carole Costa, Diana Silva

Portugal is in its first-ever World Cup and will be playing in a tough group that features the Netherlands and the USWNT. But veteran presence mixed with some youth firepower could make Portugal a sneaky opponent in the group stage.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Jorge Vilda
Key players: Alexia Putellas, Aitana Bonmati, Irene Paredes, Jennifer Hermoso

Three of the 15 players who had refused to compete under coach Jorge Vilda starting last September have returned to the national team as part of the provisional World Cup roster for Spain. Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentey and Ona Batlle have all been named to the 30-person squad.

Also returning is Alexia Putellas, who had been out with an ACL tear since last July. The two-time reigning Ballon d’Or winner returned to FC Barcelona in late April.

Sandra Paños, Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro were among the 12 protesting players still absent from the squad. Some players do not believe enough has been done to address their complaints, ESPN reported.

Since the 15 players removed themselves from consideration last September, Spain has played nine matches, winning seven — including a 2-0 victory over the USWNT in October. Putellas, Irene Paredes and Jenni Hermoso had all voiced their support for the 15, although they never made themselves unavailable for selection; all three appear on the provisional roster.

Spain announced its final roster on June 30, with a number of youth talents, including Salma Paralluelo, who at 19 has five goals through six international appearances. In total, nine players have 10 caps or less.

Link to full roster.

South Africa

Manager: Desiree Ellis
Key players: Hildah Magaia, Sibulele Holweni, Linda Motlhalo, Noko Matlou

The 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations champions are led by Desiree Ellis. Racing Louisville’s Thembi Kgatlana is the lone NWSL player on the squad.

A relatively young squad, a few university players are in the mix. Notably, former captain and most-capped player Janine van Wyk is absent from the provisional roster due to injury.

Link to full roster.

South Korea

Manager: Colin Bell
Key players: Cho So-hyun, Park Eun-sun, Ji So-yun, Lim Seon-joo

South Korea’s 23-player roster includes a number of veterans, but also its first American-born player in Casey Phair. She’s the first player of mixed heritage to represent South Korea on a national soccer team, and at 16 years old, also the youngest.

Both Ji So-yun and Cho So-hyun have 144 international appearances apiece, and have 66 and 25 international goals, respectively. They’re protected by goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi, who has 135 international appearances.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Peter Gerhardsson
Key players: Magdalena Eriksson, Sofia Jakobsson, Nathalie Björn, Fridolina Rolfö

Young talents Matilda Vinberg and Rosa Kafaji were left off the Swedish roster, but Rebecka Blomqvist and Sofia Jakobsson made the cut. And Carolina Seger will play in her fifth World Cup despite struggling with knee injuries over the last year.

Captain Madgalena Eriksson will feature in her second World Cup and San Diego Wave FC’s Jakobsson in her fourth. Sweden finished in third place at the 2019 tournament.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Inka Grings
Key players: Noelle Maritz, Lia Wälti, Ana Maria Crnogorčević, Ramona Bachmann

Switzerland’s roster announcement may have been the best one yet, if not the best one period. Let by Lia Wälti, the squad boasts Ramona Bachmann from PSG and Ana Maria Crnogorčević from Barca as its leading scorers. Goalkeeper Gäelle Thalmann leads the squad in net.

16-year-old Iman Beney was selected to the squad, just three days after making her senior national team debut, but ruptured her ACL during training.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Mai Duc Chung
Key players: Phạm Hải Yến, Huỳnh Như, Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Dung

Vietnam called 28 players into camp as it prepares for its first World Cup appearance.

Captain Huỳnh Như leads the squad with 67 goals in 72 international appearances. She’s joined by Phạm Hải Yến, who has 39 goals in 66 appearances. The squad features a multitude of experience, with 14 of the 23 players having at least 25 international appearances. Of those 14, 11 have more than 30.

Link to full roster.


Manager: Bruce Mwape
Key players: Barbra Banda, Agness Musesa, Grace Chanda

The Copper Queens will make their World Cup debut in 2023 after being one of the first women’s national soccer teams to form in Africa in 1983. Zambia is the first team from a landlocked nation in Africa to qualify for a senior World Cup, men’s or women’s.

Barba Banda has been a force for Zambia, with 22 goals in 10 international appearances, and will look to continue her success on the World Cup stage.

Link to full roster.

Alessia Russo set England – and people around the world watching the Women’s Euros – on fire Tuesday with her backheel nutmeg goal.

The goal helped seal the Lionesses’ 4-0 against Sweden in the semifinal, and while teammate Beth Mead made history in the win, Russo stole the show.

Her strike, which has been dubbed “sublime” and “outrageous” by various media outlets, even earned the No. 1 spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of the day.

“I could have made it a lot easier for myself if I’d scored the first one. It fell nicely and I don’t really remember much about it,” Russo told Sky Sports News.

“I just thought it was the quickest route to get it in the back of the net without having to turn and I was fortunate it went in. I didn’t really see it go in, so I don’t know how it went in to be honest. But I just celebrated and enjoyed the moment.”

Twitter erupted after the tally, with some of the game’s best heaping praise on the goal.

“Not gonna lie, that was lit from Russo,” wrote Chelsea and Australia star Sam Kerr, who won the Golden Boot in the Women’s Super League last season and remains the all-time leading scorer for both Australia and the NWSL.

U.S. women’s national team legend Abby Wambach – who remains the leading goal scorer in USWNT history with 184 international goals – also lauded Russo for the play.

“I dreamt of scoring a goal like that my whole life. Never happened. Alessia Russo take a bow. Go on England,” she said.

Wambach’s former teammate and current USWNT forward Megan Rapinoe – who is no stranger to outrageous goals – called it “comically disgusting.”

“The nerve, my gawd,” she wrote on Twitter.

Soccer commentators also pointed out the audacity of Russo’s goal.

“The cheek! If that had happened to me in training I would have been having a go,” said former England keeper Rachel Brown-Finnis. “There have been jaw-dropping moments in this tournament and that was another one.”

England midfielder Izzy Christiansen told the BBC: “If that goal is not taking the mickey, I don’t know what is.”

Former Arsenal and England standout Ian Wright said Russo, who entered in the 57th minute, should be in the conversation for a starting role for the Lionesses.

“The improvisation is fantastic. When she came on she instantly made an impact,” Wright said. “She links play. I’m not sure what more she needs to do to start.”

England manager Sarina Wiegman praised Russo’s abilities to come on as a substitute and immediately change the nature of the game.

“You must have so much courage to do something, such an unpredictable and phenomenal thing like that,” she said, later adding that the team isn’t done making history.

“(The media asked), ‘Are you ready to make history?’ This is history,” Wiegman continued. “We want to inspire the nation. I think that’s what we’re doing. We want to make a difference.”

Manchester United defeated Arsenal 1-0 on Wednesday, knocking them out of the Continental League Cup.

Forward Tobin Heath made her return from injury, starting on the bench before entering in the 67th minute.

Things were testy in the second half of the quarterfinal match, as Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall got into it with United striker Martha Thomas. Thomas had challenged Arsenal’s Beth Mead, resulting in a foul for which Thomas received a yellow card. Unhappy with the tackle, Eidevall stepped forward in his dugout and could be seen yelling at Thomas.

Both Eidevall and United manager Marc Skinner were cautioned following the incident.

According to The Athletic, the FA is reportedly satisfied that “relevant action was taken at the time” and as a result they will not take any further action.

A free kick by Alessia Russo broke the deadlock in the 85th minute, putting Manchester United up 1-0. They advance to the semifinals alongside Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

The draw for the semifinals will take place on Thursday.