Brazil has been named the host for the 2027 Women’s World Cup, with FIFA announced early Friday. 

The decision came after a vote at the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok, with Brazil earning 119 votes to the joint European bid’s 78. 

This will be Brazil’s first time hosting the Women’s World Cup, with the country having hosted the men’s World Cup twice before in 1950 and 2014. It will also be the first Women’s World Cup held in South America. The tournament will follow the same 32-team format as the 2023 WWC in Australia and New Zealand.

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Brazil winning the bid was not entirely surprising after FIFA issued a report just last week, stating that the Brazilian bid had pulled ahead as host following technical inspection. After evaluation, Brazil was given a score of 4.0 out of 5, compared to the 3.7 awarded to the Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Brazil ranked higher in a number of key areas, including stadiums, accommodations, fan zones, and transport infrastructure. Though considered to be a frontrunner, the US and Mexico withdrew their joint bid prior to the technical inspection period, saying they would instead focus their efforts on 2031.

On Friday, Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Ednaldo Rodrigues called it a "victory." 

"We knew we would be celebrating a victory for South American women's soccer and for women," he told reporters. "You can be sure, with no vanity, we will accomplish the best World Cup for women."

"We are working on a transformation, not only for the country but for the continent," added bid team operational manager Valesca Araujo.

Brazil intends to use 10 of the venues utilized at the 2014 men’s World Cup, including holding the final in Rio de Janeiro on July 25th. The CBF's proposal outlines that the 2027 tournament run from June 24th through the end of July. Last summer’s World Cup began at the end of July and concluded on August 19th.

Another notable element of Brazil's newly unveiled plan to grow of the women’s game is that "all [men’s] clubs wishing to take part in high-level national and continental competitions must now provide a structure for a women’s team." While the definition of "structure" was not specifically identified, the country has set targets with CONMEBOL to help increase the number of women’s club teams in the country.

In last week's inspection findings, FIFA noted that selecting Brazil as the next WWC host could "have a tremendous impact on women's football in the region."

Brazil has officially become the favorite to host the 2027 Women's World Cup after FIFA’s technical inspection team awarded them a higher rating than the joint European bid. 

After the US and Mexico dropped out of the running last month, the bid from Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands had previously been pegged to win hosting rights for the next Women's World Cup. But FIFA's latest report shows that Brazil was given a score of 4.0 out of 5 in its technical evaluation, besting the European contender's score of 3.7.

Brazil ranked higher in a number of key areas, including stadiums, accommodations, fan zones, and transport infrastructure. The country is aiming to reuse 10 of the venues used for the 2014 Men's World Cup in 2027, with the final set to take place in Rio de Janeiro. 

"The Bid Evaluation Report reflects the comprehensive evaluation model that has become a hallmark of FIFA’s enhanced bidding processes for men’s and women’s flagship events, which incorporates a variety of criteria, ranging from event vision and key metrics, infrastructure, services, commercial aspects, and sustainability and human rights," FIFA wrote in a press release.

The report also highlighted the fact that this would be the first Women's World Cup in South America, noting that the decision could "have a tremendous impact on women's football in the region."

Should the EU bid win, it wouldn't be the first WWC in Europe, as Germany played host to the event in 2011 before France in 2019. There could also be further complications for the Germany-Belgium-Netherlands bid: In its report, the evaluation team regarded the bid's legal and contractual framework as "high-risk."

FIFA has promised more planning time for the 2031 Women's World Cup. While the Men's World Cup hosts have already been secured through 2034, the WWC is only three years away with a host yet to be named.

The final vote is set to take place at the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok on May 17th. It will be the first time FIFA determines a World Cup host via an open vote.

This week, legendary Brazilian superstar Marta announced that she’ll retire from the national team at the end of 2024.

In an interview with CNN Esportes published Thursday, the iconic footballer confirmed that she would be hanging up her boots regardless of whether or not she ends up making Brazil's 18-player roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

“If I go to the Olympics, I will enjoy every moment, because regardless of whether I go to the Olympics or not, this is my last year with the national team,” she said. “There is no longer Marta in the national team as an athlete from 2025 onwards.”

Marta will retire as a giant of the women's game, having appeared in five Olympics and multiple World Cups. When discussing her retirement, she stressed confidence in the rising generation of Brazilian players, noting that she was, “very calm about this, because I see with great optimism this development that we are having in relation to young athletes." 

The statement echoes back to a plea she made during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup after Brazil lost to France 2-1 in the Round of 16. “It's wanting more. It's training more. It's taking care of yourself more. It's being ready to play 90 plus 30 minutes. This is what I ask of the girls,” she said then, addressing the young players following in her footsteps. 

In 2023, she signaled a farewell to World Cup competition with the same sentiment, telling media, “We ask the new generation to continue where we left off.”

If selected for the 2024 Olympic team, Marta has a shot at extending her own consecutive-scoring record with the ability to score in an unbelievable sixth-straight Olympic Games. She currently stands as Brazil’s top goalscorer, racking up 116 career goals in 175 matches, as well as the leading goalscorer in any World Cup, women’s or men’s, with 17 to her name. 

Marta will continue to play for the NWSL’s Orlando Pride through at least the end of 2024. The longtime forward and club captain has already contributed to multiple goals this season.

Kerolin will miss the 2023 NWSL playoffs for the North Carolina Courage.

The 23-year-old Brazilian midfielder tore the ACL in her right knee in the regular-season finale. The 1-0 win over the Washington Spirit clinched a postseason berth for the Courage, but they will enter Sunday’s quarterfinal against Gotham FC without their best player.

Kerolin joined North Carolina in 2022, signing a three-year deal with the club, but her breakout season came in 2023. She finished second to Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith in scoring with 10 goals, including a hat trick on June 10 against the Chicago Red Stars. But with Smith missing nearly a quarter of the season with injury, Kerolin stood out as the front-runner for the MVP award.

In addition to her regular-season success, she led the Courage to a second consecutive NWSL Challenge Cup title. She scored the game-winning goal in the championship match, a 2-0 win against Racing Louisville on Sept. 9. And she played for Brazil at the 2023 World Cup.

The No. 3 seed Courage will host No. 6 seed Gotham FC in a quarterfinal contest at 7 p.m. ET Sunday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. The match will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The winner will advance to face the No. 2 seed Portland Thorns in the semifinals on Nov. 5.

Alex Morgan is the top player in the NWSL in the “EA Sports FC 24” ratings.

The top soccer video game released its player ratings ahead of its release on Sept. 29, and the 34-year-old star striker for the U.S. women’s national team and San Diego Wave leads all players in the U.S. league. She also ranks as the only USWNT player in the top 10 across all women’s leagues.

Among NWSL players, Morgan sits in first place with a score of 89, while Kansas City Current forward Debinha comes in a close second with a rating of 88. Sophia Smith is tied with Debinha at 88, while Rose Lavelle is in fourth at 87.

The Portland Thorns have the most players among the top 10 with three, while OL Reign and San Diego each have two players.

Across all players, Morgan sits tied for fifth and Debinha tied for ninth. Spain’s Alexia Putellas holds the top spot by herself with a score of 91. She is followed closely by her Spain teammate Aitana Bonmatí, Norway’s Caroline Graham Hansen and Australia’s Sam Kerr who all have scores of 90.

Morgan also had been the lone USWNT player in the top 10 of EA Sports’ 2023 Women’s World Cup player ratings.

EA Sports FC: International women’s player ratings

  1. Alexia Putellas, Spain – 91
  2. Aitana Bonmatí, Spain – 90
  3. Caroline Graham Hansen, Norway – 90
  4. Sam Kerr, Australia – 90
  5. Kadidiatou Diani, France – 89
  6. Ada Hegerberg, Norway – 89
  7. Mapi León, Spain – 89
  8. Alex Morgan, United States – 89
  9. Debinha, Brazil – 88
  10. Marie-Antoinette Katoto, France – 88

EA Sports FC: NWSL player ratings

  1. Alex Morgan, San Diego Wave FC – 89
  2. Debinha, Kansas City Current – 88
  3. Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns – 88
  4. Rose Lavelle, OL Reign – 87
  5. Mallory Swanson, Chicago Red Stars – 86
  6. Becky Sauerbrunn, Portland Thorns – 85
  7. Megan Rapinoe, OL Reign – 85
  8. Amandine Henry, Angel City – 85
  9. Kailen Sheridan, San Diego Wave FC – 85
  10. Crystal Dunn, Portland Thorns – 84

Brazilian star Marta isn’t ruling out playing in next year’s Olympics.

The forward announced ahead of the 2023 World Cup that it would be her last for Brazil. The all-time leading World Cup goal scorer, Marta competed in her sixth World Cup this summer.

The tournament ended in disappointment for Marta and Brazil, as they were eliminated in the group stage after a scoreless draw with Jamaica.

“We know we had a team to go a little bit more far in the competition,” she told reporters Wednesday. “Of course, a few things were missing — that’s why we didn’t make it. But soccer, it’s been everything for me. So [to] go back home and then start training after one week really helped me to look forward.”

Marta currently plays for the Orlando Pride of the NWSL. The Pride will resume regular-season play on Sunday against the Chicago Red Stars.

The 37-year-old also reiterated on Wednesday that this World Cup was her last.

“But I didn’t say I’m not going to play the next Olympics,” she said. “I don’t have the answer yet. But I’m working on, to feel day by day if I still have the power that I can share with the team, with Brazil, and then fight for a gold medal.”

Brazil women’s soccer’s best finish at the Olympics has been the silver medal in 2004 and 2008. Brazil has also never won a World Cup, having finished as runners-up in 2007.

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: Knockout bracket set after Germany’s shock elimination

Another powerhouse is out of the World Cup as Germany was eliminated in the group stage for the first time. A 1-1 draw with South Korea, coupled with Morocco’s 1-0 win against Colombia, sealed Germany’s fate.

Cho So-hyun got South Korea on the board early with a goal in the sixth minute. Germany responded with a goal from Alexandra Popp in the 42nd minute but failed to add to that total despite managing 14 shots, including four on target.

Germany held possession for 71% of the match, more than doubling South Korea on passes and completing 77% of their attempts. Despite the Germans’ dominance in the attacking territory, they failed to convert, including on a would-be goal from Popp in the 56th minute disallowed due to an offside call.

With the surprise exit, Germany joins Brazil as pre-tournament favorites who will not advance to the knockout rounds. The bracket for the Round of 16 is set, with either Colombia or Jamaica sure to reach the quarterfinals for the first time ever. And while the USWNT faces a tough test in Sweden, Germany’s exit proves that this World Cup is impossible to predict.

Today’s top highlight: Morocco reacts to knockout round berth

After a 1-0 win against Colombia, Morocco still needed the other Group H match between Germany and South Korea game to go its way in order to advance.

Huddled on the field after their match had ended, Moroccan players watched as the time ticked down on Germany’s World Cup run, sending them to the Round of 16. And their reaction is something you’ll want to watch on repeat.

Today’s results:

  • Morocco 1, Colombia 0
  • South Korea 1, Germany 1

More World Cup news to know:

  • USWNT captain Lindsey Horan pushed back on the negative commentary from Carli Lloyd. “It’s noise and, again, it’s an opinion and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. … For anyone to question our mentality hurts a little bit but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really care. It’s what’s going inside of the team and getting ready for that next game.”
  • South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana revealed that she has lost three family members in the span of the World Cup run. After scoring the game winner to send the Banyana Banyana into the knockout stages, she said that while she “could have gone home” she “chose to stay with my girls because I know how much it means.”
  • Pia Sundhage’s future with Brazil is up in the air, ESPN Brasil reported. While her contract runs through next year, she may not be with the team through the Paris Olympics in 2024. This tournament marks the first time since 1995 that Brazil did not reach the knockout rounds.
  • Spain forward Jenni Hermoso called on her country for support while also calling out the criticism the team has faced. “I think there are people waiting for Spain to slip up, I do think that. … We know people are waiting for us to fail. For all we have tried to fight to be here and to go as far as possible, there are people that are happy when we don’t get good results.”

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: Marta’s sixth World Cup ends in group stage

A legendary World Cup career came to an end Wednesday, as Marta and Brazil bowed out in the group stage in a scoreless draw with Jamaica. She leaves her final World Cup as the top goalscorer in tournament history.

Marta nearly added another Wednesday in her first start of the tournament for Brazil. She came inches from finding the back of the net in the fifth minute.

Ultimately, though, Brazil fell short, marking the first time since 1995 that the team has failed to advance out of the group stage. In contrast, Jamaica earned its first trip to the knockout rounds. Marta and Jamaica’s Khadija “Bunny” Shaw shared a moment after the match in a symbolic passing of the guard.

And Marta herself issued a call to action in a passionate postgame interview.

“Continue supporting women’s football,” she said. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play in another World Cup… Hugely grateful. … But for (my teammates) it’s not over, for Brazil and the world, continue to support. For Marta, that is the last World Cup. For me, that is the end, but it’s just the beginning for the others.”

The 37-year-old forward won’t be retiring from the game just yet, but ahead of the tournament she said that “we have to understand that a time comes for us to prioritize other things.”

She not only stands as the top goalscorer in tournament history but also the first player to score in five consecutive World Cups, though she did not score in this one.

“I knew that she was big, she’s a famous player,” Brazil coach Pia Sundhage had said before the game. “[But I] couldn’t even imagine how big she is in Brazil. … I get very emotional just being around such a good player. Not only what she’s going to do tomorrow, but what she’s done for so many years and been a fantastic role model.”

Today’s top highlight: Bunny Shaw and Jamaica celebrate knockout round berth

After crowdfunding their way to the World Cup, Jamaica will advance to the knockout rounds for the first time. The unforgettable moment was celebrated by the players and coaches after Wednesday’s draw with Brazil to close out the group stage.

“This is one of the best days I’ve ever had in my life,” Jamaica coach Lorne Donaldson said. “To see a country like Jamaica be able to do this, it’s unbelievable. The girls are doing it for the country, the country should be proud.

“We had resilience, fight. We are going into a war and we need to be ready,” he added. “And it was a war, and we stayed in the battle.”

Today’s results:

  • Sweden 2, Argentina 0
  • South Africa 3, Italy 2
  • France 6, Panama 3
  • Jamaica 0, Brazil 0

More World Cup news to know:

  • Marta Cox scored first against France on a banger, but it didn’t take long for Les Bleues to get going – particularly Kadidiatou Diani, who notched a hat trick for her first goals of the tournament. In the end, France put up six goals despite resting some of their big-name players.
  • The USWNT will face Sweden, which won Group G and maintained its perfect World Cup record with a 2-0 win over Argentina. The last time these two teams met resulted in a 3-0 loss for the USWNT at the Tokyo Olympics. Still, World Cup history favors the USWNT, which holds a 4-1-1 record against Sweden in World Cup competition.

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 rounds into form as USWNT sputters

Both England and the Netherlands showcased why they are World Cup favorites with their wins Tuesday, while the USWNT decidedly did not.

When USWNT kicked off its match against Portugal, it did so at the same time that the Netherlands’ own match against Vietnam got underway, with the fate of both teams hanging in the balance. The Dutch side responded to that pressure, putting up an astounding seven goals to Vietnam’s zero for the tournament’s biggest margin of victory so far.

The Netherlands put up five goals before the half, and Esmee Brugts and Jill Roord each added goals in the second half to finish with matching braces. Their team finished with 42 shots in a dominant display.

England, meanwhile, looked to be in cruise control against China in a 6-1 win. Alessia Russo got the scoring started in the fourth minute to start the deluge, with Lauren Hemp, Lauren James, Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly all getting on the scoresheet.

James finished with a brace, though she was denied a hat trick by VAR. But it was a resounding performance for a team that was left shaken by the injury to Keira Walsh.

“Again, another day of what dreams are made of,” James said. “I’m happy for the team and everyone’s buzzing. And yeah, we’re looking forward to going into next round.”

In contrast, the USWNT survived by the grace of the goalpost. A late Portugal shot ricocheted off the post rather than into the net, which prevented the two-time defending World Cup champions from being sent home in the group stage for the first time ever.

“It was a beautiful sound to hear it hit the post, that’s for sure,” USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher said afterward. “But that’s something we talked about — we knew they were good on the counterattack and they like to get in behind.”

And even after one of the worst performances in USWNT history, Alex Morgan remained confident about her team heading into the Round of 16. When asked if Sweden will be favorites in their game, she provided a definitive response: “No.”

“I know this team and I know what we’re capable of, and just because it hasn’t clicked every moment on the field and we’re not putting the goals in the back of the net doesn’t mean these aren’t the right players for the job,” Morgan said. “The confidence is there and now we just have to prove it out on the field.”

Today’s top highlight: Marta talks about becoming a football icon

Ahead of Brazil’s final group stage match, Marta spoke about her career and the legacy she will leaving behind. The 37-year-old forward is playing in her sixth World Cup.

“I don’t normally focus on myself, on Marta. I try to focus in the whole picture, in everyone in the collective, in what we’ve been doing together,” she said through a translator. “You know what’s good? When I started playing I didn’t have an idol, a female idol. You guys didn’t show any female games. How was I supposed to see other players? How was I supposed to understand that I could arrive at a national team and become a reference.

“Today, when we come out on the street, people stop, parents stop and say, ‘My daughter loves you, she wants to be just like you.’ It’s not just Marta, it’s other athletes as well. This wouldn’t have happened if we had stopped in the first obstacles that we faced. It’s a continuous persistency. It didn’t start with just me, but with a lot of other women back then, but we are all very proud. We ask a lot for our generation to continue to do that, to inspire more girls, more boys. It doesn’t matter their age.

“I am very happy to see all of this now because 20 years ago, in 2003, nobody knew who Marta was at my first World Cup. Twenty years later, we have become a reference for many women all over the world, not only in football, [but] in journalism as well. We see many women journalists here today and we didn’t see that before so we have opened doors for equality. I hope I answered your question after you made me cry.”

Today’s results:

  • Netherlands 7, Vietnam 0
  • USWNT 0, Portugal 0
  • England 6, China 1
  • Denmark 2, Haiti 0

More World Cup news to know:

  • A total of 1 million fans have turned out for the World Cup so far. Rebecca Sheely from Colorado became the millionth fan to go through the gates of the 10 World Cup venues at the match between Portugal and the USWNT. With 22 matches left to play, this World Cup remains on track to become the biggest standalone women’s sporting event ever.
  • USWNT co-captains Alex Morgan and Lindsey Horan lamented the team’s missed chances against Portugal and throughout the group stage. The team finished the group stage with 63 total shots (17 on goal) but just four goals.
  • Carli Lloyd, a two-time World Cup champion with the USWNT turned Fox Sports analyst, had harsh words for the 2023 squad. In particular, she took issue with the players’ seemingly relaxed conduct both before and after the scoreless draw. “Players are smiling. They’re laughing. It’s not good enough,” she said.

Every team at the 2023 World Cup has now played their first group stage match, with a number of fun surprises and close matchups underlining the competitive nature of this year’s tournament.

With no 13-0-style blowouts in sight, players from across the globe had to step up their games to ensure three points for their teams. In a strong first week for World Cup debuts, players participating in their first major international tournaments are quickly making their mark on the competition.

Here are a few of the top performers from the first round of the group stage who might be the key to their squads going all the way.

Ary Borges, Brazil

Borges, a star forward for Racing Louisville in the NWSL, kicked off Brazil’s World Cup campaign with a bang against Panama. The 23-year-old scored a hat trick in her first career World Cup start, leading the way as Brazil cruised to a 5-0 win. The forward also notched an assist, contributing to four of Brazil’s five goals.

Brazil’s next generation is eager to win the country’s first Women’s World Cup title in honor of the legacy of players like Marta and Formiga, and Borges is one of those players who has been building toward this moment. She connects well with World Cup talent in Louisville, such as the USWNT’s Savannah DeMelo and China’s Wang Shuang. She’s scored two goals in all NWSL competitions so far in 2023, but her introduction to the world stage could not be denied.

Sophia Smith, United States

Going into this World Cup, the USWNT’s hopes for a three-peat placed a lot of pressure on 22-year-old Sophia Smith, the reigning NWSL MVP. If Smith felt the pressure in first major international tournament, she didn’t show it as she contributed to all three of the USWNT’s goals against Vietnam.

With the USWNT, Smith is tasked with being more versatile from her winger position, something that has not slowed down her scoring output. She’ll be relied upon once again in the reigning World Cup champions’ next group stage match against the Netherlands on Wednesday night. A win would put the USWNT in control of their own destiny in Group E.

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Alexandra Popp scored a brace for Germany in their opener after missing last year's Euros final. (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Alexandra Popp, Germany

At the age of 32, Alexandra Popp is playing some of the best soccer of her career, just in time for Germany’s chance to lift the World Cup trophy for the third time. Playing in her fourth World Cup, Popp is Germany’s imposing target striker, scoring with her head as well as her feet. She made her presence felt with a brace in Germany’s 6-0 opening win over Morocco, the biggest margin of victory in the World Cup thus far.

When Germany made a surprise run to the European Championship final in 2022, Popp missed the eventual loss to England due to injury. Her form has not waned in the year since then, with the forward scoring a goal for her club, Wolfsburg, in the 2023 Champions League final. Popp’s presence on the field at this World Cup could be the difference-maker that puts Germany over the top.

Linda Caicedo, Colombia

The 2023 World Cup is 18–year-old Linda Caicedo’s third in the past year: She starred at both the U-17 and U-20 World Cups before taking the 2022 Copa America Femenil by storm with Colombia’s senior team. In her senior World Cup debut against South Korea, she looked like the most technically advanced player on the field, controlling play and notching her first senior World Cup goal to put the game out of reach.

Caicedo is just getting started, signing with Real Madrid earlier this year to take her game to the next level. She’ll need to step up even more in Colombia’s next two games, as her team aims to make it out of Group F alongside Germany. Colombia is making its return to the world stage after missing the tournament in 2019, but with Caicedo leading the way, they won’t stay under the radar for long.

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Angel City's Jun Endo is off to a hot start for Japan at the World Cup. (Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images)

Jun Endo, Japan

The vision for Japan’s rebuild materialized in their opening 5-0 victory over Zambia, not least due to the contributions of World Cup debutante Jun Endo. A force with Angel City FC in the NWSL, Endo gave Zambia’s defenders very little time to compose themselves, often getting to the endline and cutting in centrally to generate an overwhelming pace of attack.

Endo finished the match with a goal and an assist, as well as a number of good chances called back for marginal offsides. But what sets the winger apart is her ability to control the tempo of the match while still executing with the perfect timing to find her teammates in space. All the more impressive is that the performance came after Endo suffered a knee injury at the club level, briefly putting her World Cup dreams in doubt. The 23-year-old brings an edge that her teammates feed off of, and that energy could lead Japan — who also defeated Costa Rica 2-0 on Wednesday — all the way to the final.

Melchie Dumornay, Haiti

Haiti has a difficult task ahead of them to get out of their group, after a slim 1-0 loss to England in their tournament opener, but they still have a global star on their hands. Nineteen-year-old Melchie Dumornay looked like the generational talent she’s been heralded as in the game against the reigning European champions. The new Olympique Lyon signing came into the tournament as one of the breakout stars of Concacaf W qualifying in 2022, and she raised her game to a new level on the biggest stage.

With Haiti as heavy underdogs, Dumornay needed to not only generate attack, but also retain as much possession as possible to relieve pressure on the defense behind her. Her constant motor is an underrated facet of her game, allowing her to push back into Haiti’s defensive midfield and defense to get the ball, and then evade defenders with her dribbling as she progresses into the attacking third.

Haiti will have to get through Denmark for a shot at extending their stay at their first World Cup, but with Dumornay on the field, anything is possible.

Claire Watkins is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @ScoutRipley.