Beth Mead is back with the England national team after tearing her ACL a year ago.

Mead last featured for England in November 2022, but she suffered an ACL tear with Arsenal later that month. As a result, the 28-year-old forward missed the World Cup for the Lionesses.

In May of this year, Mead described her recovery as “ahead of schedule,” saying she hoped to make the World Cup. But at the time, England coach Sarina Wiegman said it would be a “miracle” if Mead were healthy in time for the tournament.

“I am back on the pitch and kicking a ball again, feeling good, ahead of schedule,” Mead said in May. “That’s all I can do that’s in my control right now.”

Mead did not make it back for the World Cup in July, but she returned to the pitch with Women’s Super League club Arsenal in October. And on Tuesday, Wiegman said her conversation with Mead when calling her into this camp was a “very nice phone call.”

“Of course that’s really nice,” she said. “She’s played minutes. She’s in a good place and still building. But that was a very nice phone call and she was very happy.”

The Lionesses did fine at the World Cup, reaching the final even without Mead and Leah Williamson. But they’ve struggled this fall, and their hopes of making the Olympics and topping their Nations League group are hanging by a thread after a loss to Belgium in October.

England faces a tall test in its next Nations League games. The Lionesses will face the Netherlands on Dec. 1 at Wembley and Scotland on Dec. 5 at Hampden Park. If they are to top their group, they’ll need to win both games. And if they want to guarantee their Olympic qualification, they’ll need to reach the final of the Nations League.

“We know we’ll need to win our last two games of 2023 and we’ll give everything we have for that outcome,” Wiegman said. “This group have shown resilience and strength of character time and time again and I have absolutely no doubts we’ll be ready to go when the whistle blows for both fixtures.”

England’s Beth Mead, Sweden’s Fridolina Rolfö and the U.S. women’s national team’s Alex Morgan were among the many international soccer stars who voiced their support for Jenni Hermoso amid Spain’s World Cup controversy.

Hermoso and her teammates have called for leadership changes at the Spanish soccer federation after president Luis Rubiales’ unsolicited kiss of Hermoso at the World Cup final. Rubiales has refused to resign from his position, describing the growing backlash against him as a “social assassination” by “false feminists.” The Spanish government plans to suspend Rubiales during its investigation of the incident.

“So does he actually think he is the victim?” Swiss star Lia Wälti wrote. “The whole world has seen what happened. Makes me feel sick!

“With you, Jenni Hermoso, and with the rest of the team who deserves so much better than that!”

From the USWNT, Morgan echoed sentiments similar to those shared by teammate Megan Rapinoe earlier in the week, saying she was “disgusted” by Rubiales’ actions. Tobin Heath, who won the 2019 World Cup with Morgan and Rapinoe, called out the Spanish federation’s “patriarchy, sexism and misogyny.”

Mana Shim, who helped bring to light the coaching abuse scandal in the NWSL, called Rubiales’ refusal to resign “horrifying.”

“If we can’t agree to punish sexual misconduct caught on video in front of millions, how can women anywhere in football feel safe?” Shim wrote.

Portuguese star Jéssica Silva called out Rubiales, saying in her native language: “Let measures be taken!” She also called Rubiales’ speech “disturbing” and said repercussions should have happened “yesterday.”

“The footballers of the Spanish national team made history!” she wrote. “They were world champions for the first time!” she wrote. “And now they should be celebrating, without controversy, just with joy! However, they are fighting for something that should be common to all of us… RESPECT.”

Canada’s Janine Beckie called the behavior of the Spanish federation “unacceptable” and expressed support for Hermoso.

“No one, no player should EVER have to experience the behavior that we’ve seen from so called leaders in the Spanish federation & the continued actions suggesting this behavior is ‘normal’,” she wrote. “Unacceptable. Jenni Hermoso, we’re with you.”

Norway’s Caroline Graham Hansen, meanwhile, called Rubiales speech “all lies.” Graham Hansen plays with Hermoso for Spanish club FC Barcelona.

“We all see what really happened,” she wrote.

Sweden’s Fridolina Rolfö, meanwhile, called for change.

“No-one should ever have to fight in their place of work for respect, to feel safe or for their basic human rights,” she wrote. “Things have to change. I stand with Jenni Hermoso and the Spanish team.”

England star Beth Mead said that women’s soccer in general and the Spanish players in particular “deserve more.”

“No players should have to endure this,” she said. “It’s unacceptable, and also laughable that these men still are allowed so much power. Jenni Hermoso, we are all with you.”

France’s Wendie Renard returned in triumph on Saturday, while Haiti’s Jennyfer Limage received the unfortunate distinction of sustaining the first torn ACL of the 2023 World Cup.

Just Women’s Sports is keeping track of the biggest names dealing with injuries at the tournament, which kicked off July 20.

Possible to return

Keira Walsh, England

The 26-year-old midfielder exited England’s 1-0 win against Denmark on July 28 with an apparent knee injury. Walsh twisted awkwardly while trying to intercept a pass, and she could be seen telling team medical staff: “I’ve done my knee.”

After she was stretchered off the field in the first half, she returned to the sidelines in the second half on crutches. On Saturday, the Football Association confirmed that Walsh has avoided an ACL tear,  but has been ruled out of the team’s match against China and her status is in doubt for the remainder of the World Cup.

Ada Hegerberg, Norway

After being named to Norway’s Starting XI against Switzerland on July 25, star forward Ada Hegerberg was pulled moments before kickoff.

The former Ballon D’Or winner felt discomfort in her groin while warming up for the match, Fox Sports reported. She was evaluated by the team doctor and returned to the locker room to receive treatment, according to Norwegian TV. Following the game, Hegerberg addressed her absence on Twitter.

“I felt discomfort when sprinting right after the anthems,” she wrote. “We decided with the staff that no risk should be taken and no subs should be wasted in such an important game for us, and we all trusted Sophie, Karina, and the team to do the job, which they did. We move on.”

Marina Hegering, Germany

Defender Marina Hegering missed Germany’s first match against Morocco with a bruised heel.

Mary Fowler and Aivi Luik, Australia

Australia will be without Mary Fowler and Aivi Luik for at least its second group-stage match after the duo sustained mild concussions in separate incidents during practice on July 25. Both have “fully recovered” and are in return to play protocol, per the team. But as of 2018, Football Australia’s return to play protocol “provides for a minimum of six days before the player can play a competitive game.” Australia plays its third and final group-stage match on July 31.

Sam Kerr, Australia

Two hours before Australia’s World Cup opener, the star striker announced that she would miss the Matildas’ first two group-stage games with a calf injury.

“Unfortunately I sustained a calf injury yesterday in training,” she wrote. “I wanted to share this with everyone so there is no distraction from us doing what we came here to achieve. Of course, I would have loved to have been out there tonight but I can’t wait to be apart of this amazing journey which starts now.”

Even without Kerr, Australia pulled off a 1-0 win against Ireland thanks to a penalty from Steph Catley in the second half. They lost to Nigeria 2-1, however, in their next match.

Kerr said Saturday she is “definitely going to be available” for the team’s game against Canada, while coach Tony Gustavsson noted that the time frame is “tight.”

Lena Oberdorf, Germany

Star midfielder Lena Oberdorf missed Germany’s first match against Morocco with a thigh injury.

“It looks as if we won’t be able to fall back on either of them in the first game,” head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said of Oberdorf and Hegering. But even without the pair, Germany pulled off an impressive 6-0 win.

Out for World Cup

Jennyfer Limage, Haiti

Haitian defender Jennyfer Limage will be out for the rest of the World Cup after tearing her ACL and rupturing her meniscus in her team’s 1-0 loss to England on July 22. Limage had to be carried off the field and is slated to undergo surgery.

Her injury marks the first ACL tear of the World Cup and continues what has become a growing injury trend in the women’s game, with a number of stars missing this year’s World Cup due to ACL tears.

Returned to play

Denise O’Sullivan, Ireland

O’Sullivan went down with a shin injury during an “overly physical” friendly on July 14 between Ireland and Colombia, which was halted after 20 minutes. The 29-year-old midfielder was taken to the hospital for treatment after the match was abandoned.

O’Sullivan underwent scans, with the team tweeting out that the results were “positive news,” and she played in the World Cup against Australia on July 20.

Wendie Renard, France

The France captain underwent an MRI on July 24 after feeling pain in her calf. She briefly appeared at training, where she spoke with the team doctor and later left the field, according to L’Équipe.

French media outlet Le Progrès has reported that Renard’s injury could keep her out of France’s final two group-stage matches. The injury is similar to one she suffered prior to the 2022 club season with the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, which kept her out of play for a month, the outlet noted.

But Renard made her return on Saturday, even after her status was unclear on the eve of the match.

“Our hope is that everything goes well because we need her,” France coach Herve Renard said Friday night. “We are not sure tonight 100%. Our trainings are quite intense and we will have to see how things happen once we face the match.”

Renard was ready to go, playing the full 90 and even scored the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute.

Did not appear at 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.

Amandine Henry, France

The midfielder was ruled out of the World Cup on July 7 after sustaining a calf injury while training with the France national team two days earlier. She underwent an MRI that confirmed the diagnosis, France coach Hervé Renard said.

Henry, who signed a three-year contract with Angel City FC in June, will be replaced on the roster by Aïssatou Tounkara, the French Football Federation announced.

The former French captain had recently returned to the national team after a longstanding dispute with Corinne Diacre, who was fired as head coach in March due to a “very significant divide” within the team.

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, and while she has since resumed running and weight-bearing exercises, she will be unable to join France at the World Cup.

Katoto underwent medical exams on May 30 at the training ground for the France women’s national team, and she was ruled unfit to participate in the tournament, French news agency AFP reported. France coach Herve Renard will reveal his World Cup roster on June 6.

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.”

Beth Mead, England

Another Arsenal injury, the 27-year-old striker ruptured her ACL last November during Women’s Super League play.

While Mead said in early May that she was “ahead of schedule” in her recovery, she did not make the England roster for the World Cup, as revealed on May 31.

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.

Hazel Nali, Zambia

Zambia’s starting goalkeeper Hazel Nali will miss the World Cup after suffering an ACL tear. The announcement came on July 12, mere days before the World Cup kicks off on July 20.

Nali has been a standout in net for Zambia, making her senior national team debut in 2014. She played for the senior team at the 2014 African Women’s Championship, the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations and the 2020 COSAFA Women’s Championship, as well as at the Tokyo Olympics.

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. Press had held out hope for a spot on the plane to New Zealand, but she was not selected to coach Vlatko Andonovski’s final 23-player roster as she continues to recover.

“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,” Press said in May. “It’s the North Star for all of us professional players and it’s a motivation.”

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.”

Becky Sauerbrunn

USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn was ruled out of the World Cup due to a lingering foot injury, in news she confirmed days before the team’s roster reveal.

The starting center-back said she, too, had held out “like 10% hope” of making the U.S. roster, but ultimately her timeline for recovery did not match up with the USWNT’s needs.

“It sucks, like it’s such a bummer,” she said on the Snacks podcast. “I really thought that I was gonna get back in time. Had a setback, you know, we gave them timelines where I could feasibly have played minutes at the World Cup. But the variability of it was, they just didn’t want to have to deal with that.”

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 Arsenal defender tore her ACL during an April match.

“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.

Just Women’s Sports is here with your daily World Cup Digest, breaking down all of the biggest storylines from each day of action in Australia and New Zealand.

Today’s top World Cup news: England’s injury troubles mount

An early goal from Lauren James proved the winner for England in Friday’s 1-0 defeat of Denmark. Yet while the win advances the Lionesses to the knockout stage, they may have to move forward without star midfielder Keira Walsh.

Walsh exited the match on a stretcher after sustaining what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the 35th minute. She twisted awkwardly while trying to intercept a pass and could be seen telling team medical staff: “I’ve done my knee.”

The Barcelona midfielder has been key to England’s success over the past year, including in the team’s run to the 2022 Euros title.

“Everything came through Keira,” former England striker Ellen White told the BBC. “There wasn’t a plan B. I dreaded to think of the idea of us ever losing her because she was one of our best players. Beth Mead was scoring all the goals but all of our play came through Keira. She was the key cog, everything moved through her. I just don’t know who England are going to have now in that 6 [defensive midfield position], or even potential double 6, role.”

The Lionesses already had been decimated with injuries in the lead-up to the tournament. Beth Mead and Leah Williamson are out with ACL tears, while Fran Kirby is also missing the World Cup with an injury. Earlier this month, Walsh had told the PA news agency that an injury was “a massive worry” every time she stepped onto the field.

“Look at the resources the men have as well, I don’t think that’s available to us and we are being asked to play close to what they play in a season now without the kind of resources behind it,” she said. “The medical teams, they work so hard but it’s impossible to keep everybody fresh all the time and we’re playing so many games and I think – with the introduction of the Nations League as well – it’s going to be difficult and you see how many ACL injuries there have been and how many players are getting injured.

“I would be lying if I say it’s not a worry for me every time I go on the pitch that I’m going to get injured next.”

Following the win, England manager Sarina Wiegman wouldn’t give any information on the injury.

“Of course I’m concerned because she couldn’t walk off the pitch but we don’t know yet so we can’t make any assumptions,” she said. “Let’s wait until we have a diagnosis then I can tell you.”

Today’s top highlight: Argentina scores twice in five minutes to save draw

After South Africa took a two-goal lead in the 66th minute, all signs pointed to South Africa taking home its first World Cup win. But a Sophia Braun strike in the 74th minute provided a spark for Argentina, and Romina Nuñéz struck in the 79th minute to tie the score at 2-2.

While the two sides played hard in the final minutes, neither team could find the back of the net again. Both Argentina and South Africa are still looking for their first-ever wins. Argentina is just the second team to have multiple matches in which they’ve come back from a two-plus goal deficit and not lost, joining Nigeria.

Today’s results:

  • Argentina 2, South Africa 2
  • England 1, Denmark 0
  • China 1, Haiti 0

More World Cup news to know:

  • South Africa coach Desiree Ellis was not happy with her team for letting a two-goal lead slip away against Argentina. “It is fantastic we got our first point but three would have been better, it’s like you hand me a chocolate and then take it away, and I love chocolate,” she said.
  • Zhang Rui was sent off with a red card in China’s 1-0 win against Haiti. The game stayed tied until the 74th minute, when Wang Shuang buried the penalty kick to deliver the game-winning goal. China now is tied with Denmark for the runner-up spot in Group D, with Denmark holding the tiebreaker following a 1-0 win earlier in the group stage.

Beth Mead is making strides in her ACL recovery.

The 28-year-old striker is a bit ahead of schedule when it comes to recovering from the injury she suffered last November, she told Sky Sports after her MBE ceremony Tuesday at Windsor Castle.

Mead is back on the pitch kicking a ball again just five months from tearing her ACL, she said.

“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 [about 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.”

In March, England coach Sarina Wiegman said it would be a “miracle” if Mead were healthy in time to travel to the tournament. She echoed those sentiments in April, noting that while Mead was “doing well” in her rehab, “the World Cup is actually too early.”

“So what we said is she’s not in our plans now, just really take the time to get back well,” Wiegman said. “But if a miracle happens and she goes so fast, then we will reconsider it – but at this moment, I don’t expect that.”

Arsenal have suffered another blow, as Laura Wienroither has become the fourth player on the squad to suffer an ACL tear in the last six months, the club announced Thursday.

She suffered the injury during Monday’s Champions League semifinal loss. The 24-year-old Austria national team player joins Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema on the Gunners’ roster of ACL injuries this season.

“I’m going to miss every single second of not being on the pitch with this special team,” Wienroither said in an Instagram post. “I’m so proud to be a part of this group and to share experiences with these girls — on and off the pitch.

“I’ll fight like hell to return as soon as I’m ready to get back to following my dream in red and white. This team is really special… I think we can all feel it. Until that time, I’m Arsenal and Austria’s biggest fan.”

Miedema, who tore her ACL in December, posted in support of her teammates: “At least we will all be in the gym together.”

But she also added: “ACL group is full now. Please no more.”

A number of the game’s biggest stars have suffered ACL injuries in recent months, leading to concern over what many regard as an injury crisis in women’s soccer. Mead has called for more research into injuries in the women’s game, and Portland Thorns forward Janine Beckie – who is also sidelined with an ACL tear – echoed those sentiments and called for more resources for women’s teams.

Earlier this season, women’s health specialist Dr. Emma Ross told Sky Sports that women athletes “are up to six times more likely to have a non-contact ACL injury than their male counterparts.”

She added that just 6% of studies in sports and exercise science are done solely on women, which translates into a lack of research and education on women’s injuries.

While some researchers attribute the injury crisis to the physiological affects of the menstrual cycle, including joints becoming less stable during the cycle, there is not enough evidence to draw a link between the menstrual cycle and injuries, Ross said.

“So we do have some information about loose joints,” she said, “but what we don’t have is the end step of whether that really does increase the risk for injury in female athletes.”

Dr. Katrine Okholm Kryger pointed to soccer cleats being geared toward men’s feet as an injury risk factor, as men’s and women’s feet differ in shape and volume. Many cleat manufacturers have begun to develop a women’s specific cleat, which should be available for this summer’s World Cup.

Aresenal is in the midst of its own internal review after its spate of ACL tears, manager Jonas Eidevall said following Wienroither’s injury. Eidevall also called for external cooperation between clubs, national teams and their governing bodies.

“We need to look at the complete picture and see which factors we can control,” he said. “We need to look at that internally to see what we can do better in the future. Some parts are internal and things we can control, then there are things we need external cooperation with. For example, the playing schedule or the cooperation between clubs and national teams or how and when competitions are played and how the international match calendar is done.

“There are bits that I think clubs can solve internally but there are a lot of things that require the whole world of football to cooperate, we need to do both.”

Janine Beckie is one of many players who won’t compete at the 2023 Women’s World Cup as the result of an ACL tear. The Olympic gold medalist for Canada tore her right ACL last month while playing in an NWSL preseason game for the Portland Thorns.

It isn’t news that women’s soccer players are more likely to tear an ACL than their male counterparts. Studies have found that women are up to six times more likely to sustain the injury. But Beckie doesn’t want that stat to become normalized.

“I think that a lot of people have boiled it down for so long to ‘Oh, it’s just more common in women, and a common injury in women’s soccer.’ but it seems like there’s been this massive jump in the amount that it’s happening now. I don’t know what the reason is but someone needs to figure it out,” Beckie told Reuters.

The 28-year-old forward called for more resources for the women as the number of games on the calendar increases.

“You’ve changed the schedule to mimic the men yet you’re not giving the female players the same level of resources,” she said. “Premier League players are playing 40-, 50-plus games a season and are able to maintain fitness levels because they’re treated like gold, which they should be. If you’re going ask an elite athlete to play 50 games a season, you’ve got provide them the top-of-the-line care.”

Beckie isn’t the only sidelined player calling for action.

“I think it’s way too common in the women’s game,” England national Beth Mead recently told FIFPro.

“I think if that had happened in the men’s game, a lot more would have been done sooner. It’s important for us to drive the different factors and aspects around why it’s happening so often.”

Two days after Leah Williamson was ruled out of the 2023 Women’s World Cup with an ACL tear, England dealt with another injury scare on Saturday when Lucy Bronze went down in the 65th minute of Barcelona’s Champions League semifinal versus Chelsea.

Bronze clutched her knee and then hopped off the field, a concerning sight. But she returned to the pitch at the conclusion of the game, which Barcelona won 1-0, to shake hands with Chelsea players.

In his post-match comments, Barcelona manager Jonatan Giraldez said Bronze was “feeling much better.”

“Initially Lucy was a bit worried about her injury, she felt her pain in her knee, but now she’s feeling much better about it,” Giraldez said, per SkySports.

“She felt pain in the knee but I think she’s fine right now. I was talking to her immediately after the game. It was scary at first but right now I think she’s fine.”

Bronze, 31, has a long history of knee injuries and subsequent surgeries, resulting in lingering pain.

“I’ve just got to play through it,” Bronze said last year. “There are plenty of players who are having to play through pain in their career and I’m now one of them.”

England has seen multiple players go down with injury in the last year, dampening the squad’s World Cup prospects. Beth Mead’s World Cup chances are doubtful after the 27-year-old ruptured her ACL in November, while Millie Bright’s status is also up-in-the-air.

Spain’s Alexia Putellas won the Best FIFA Women’s Player award for the second straight year, beating out fellow finalists Beth Mead of England and Alex Morgan of the United States.

Putellas tore her ACL last summer ahead of the Euros but led FC Barcelona to their third-straight Primera División title before her injury. She becomes the first repeat winner of the award since its introduction in 2016.

The 29-year-old midfielder also won the Ballon d’Or for the second consecutive year last October, and she became the first player to win back-to-back UEFA Women’s Player of the Year awards last August.

Morgan was the lone U.S. women’s national team player to make the 14-player shortlist for award. She was also the lone USWNT or NWSL player to make the FIFA Women’s World 11.

The 33-year-old striker won the NWSL Golden Boot in 2022, scoring 15 goals in the regular season for the San Diego Wave.

While Mead, like Morgan, lost out to Putellas, the Lionesses had a strong showing at the ceremony. The 27-year-old forward finished behind Putellas after she helped push England to its first Euros title. She also stars for Arsenal in the Women’s Super League.

England goalkeeper Mary Earps, who also plays for the WSL’s Manchester United, won Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper. And England manager Sarina Wiegman won Best FIFA Women’s Coach after leading the Lionesses to the Euros title

“It’s incredible to be here right now & celebrate women’s football,” Wiegman said in her acceptance speech. “The dangers, we have to take care of too. Yes, we want to develop, but we need to do the right things. We’re competing on the pitch, but off it we have to work as a team to grow it more.”

Nominees for the awards were selected by a panel of former players, including retired USWNT star Carli Lloyd. Nominees were evaluated for their play from August 2021 through July 2022.

The winners for each award were selected through a wider vote, which included four groups: national team coaches; national team captains; soccer journalists; and fans. Each group received equal weight (25%) in the process.

Alexia Putellas took the top spot on The Guardian’s 100 Best Footballers list for the second year in a row.

The 28-year-old Spanish star becomes the first player to top the list in consecutive years after finishing the 2021-22 domestic season with 18 goals and 15 assists.

Also for the second year in a row, no American player cracked the top 15 in the list. For 2022, the highest U.S. player is Catarina Macario, who comes in at No. 16. In 2021, Sam Mewis was the highest finisher at No. 20, but she has dropped off the list due to injury.

Macario leapt 71 spots from No. 87 in 2021. The 23-year-old scored 14 goals for Lyon en route to the Division 1 Féminine title, and she also scored nine goals en route to the Champions League title. Only an ACL injury she suffered in June kept her from a spot in the top 10, The Guardian noted.

NWSL MVP Sophia Smith entered for the first time at No. 21, making her the highest debut on this year’s list. Three judges had even put the Portland Thorns forward at No. 1 in the world.

Also from the U.S. women’s national team, Alex Morgan returned to the rankings at No. 18 after missing the list in 2021. In total, 10 USWNT players made the list. Lindsey Horan came in at No. 29, Rose Lavelle at No. 33, Mallory Pugh at No. 36, Trinity Rodman at No. 47, Naomi Girma at No. 66, Megan Rapinoe at No. 70 and Becky Sauerbrunn at No. 93.

One other American player made the cut, though she has not broken into the USWNT lineup: Mia Fishel placed at No. 88. The 21-year-old won the Liga MX Golden Boot with 17 goals in 2022, and USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said she “is on our depth chart.”

Beth Mead came in second. She rocketed up from the 75th best player in the world in 2021 after she helped lead England to the Euros title this summer.

Australia’s Sam Kerr held strong at No. 3, while Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí jumped six spots to No. 4. Lena Oberdorf moved from No. 44 all the way up to No. 5, but Vivianne Miedema fell four spots to No. 6.

England stars Georgia Stanway (No. 26), Alessia Russo (No. 39) and Mary Earps (No. 48) all entered the rankings for the first time.