A group led by Toronto billionaire Larry Tanenbaum will bring a new WNBA franchise to Canada, CBC Sports reported early this morning. 

Set to begin play in 2026, the team will be owned and operated by Tanenbaum's Kilmer Sports Inc. Tanenbaum is a minority owner and chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC, Argos, and Marlies. He originally explored an expansion team via MLSE, but was turned down by other members of the board. 

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The Toronto addition will be the WNBA's 14th team. It follows the Bay Area's WNBA Golden State, which will debut in 2025. 

An official announcement is expected May 23rd in Toronto, according to reports. 

"We continue to engage in productive conversations with interested ownership groups in a number of markets but have no news to report at this time," a WNBA spokesperson said in a statement. Tanenbaum's Kilmer Sports group, meanwhile, told CBC Sports that his organization has “no update at this time.”

In April, commissioner Cathy Engelbert said that Toronto was among the cities being considered for WNBA expansion.

The WNBA has a growing footprint in Canada, as the league's held wildly successful exhibition games north of the US border for the last two seasons. 

In 2023, a preseason matchup between Chicago and Minnesota sold out Toronto’s 19,800-capacity Scotiabank Arena. This past Saturday, the league drew more than 16,000 fans to Edmonton for a preseason showdown between LA and Seattle.

The Toronto team will reportedly play at Coca-Cola Coliseum, an 8,000-seat arena which is currently home to the Marlies as well as Toronto’s PWHL franchise.

Christine Sinclair is retiring from the Canada women’s national team.

With 190 goals in 327 games for Canada, the 40-year-old forward steps away as the all-time leading international scorer. She won an Olympic gold medal in 2021, and she played in her sixth World Cup tournament in 2023.

“Honestly, you can’t play forever,” Sinclair told Reuters. “And this seems like a good time to be done.”

Yet while she is hanging up her boots on the international stage, as she teased in an Instagram post Thursday night before officially announcing her retirement Friday, she plans to play another season for the NWSL’s Portland Thorns.

The Thorns captain is leading her team into the 2023 playoffs. As the No. 2 seed, Portland has a bye into the semifinal round on Nov. 5, where the defending champions will face either the North Carolina Courage or Gotham FC.

Sinclair also will make a few more appearances for Canada as a send-off tour during an upcoming international window, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 5.

“The way the schedule is lining up, it’ll be a nice way to end it,” Sinclair said.

From the U.S. women’s national team posting its worst-ever group-stage result to Olympic champion Canada making an early exit, those watching the 2023 World Cup may notice some differences from years past.

Alongside the obvious markers of change, such as the expanded 32-team format, unexpected results have underscored the shifting women’s soccer landscape. What are some of the signs of history in the making? Just Women’s Sports takes a look.

Canada becomes first Olympic champion to exit in group stage

Canada was eliminated from the tournament in a crushing 4-0 loss to Australia, becoming the first reigning Olympic champions to go out in the group stage. The result caps a months-long dispute with Canada Soccer over their pay, which finally reached a tentative conclusion over the weekend – just before the team was set to fight for its World Cup life. The loss made an already tough couple of months for Canada even tougher. But after the match, players and coach Bev Priestman refused to put the blame on their struggles off the field.

“Has it been a really really tough year? Absolutely,” Priestman said. “But at the end of the day, we came here tonight thinking we should have been able to win. And we didn’t. And we have to reflect on that.”

Christine Sinclair, who was playing in her sixth career World Cup for Canada, agreed, but she did express hope that the result would serve as a “wake-up call” for the national federation.

“We’ve been battling our federation for support but I can’t put this [loss] on [Canada Soccer],” Sinclair said. “We’re 23 players and staff and we didn’t get it done tonight. More of it is a wake-up call for our federation, the lack of a professional league [in Canada], the lack of support for youth national teams, I think you’re just going to continue to see teams reach our level, surpass us, whatever you want to call it, if things don’t change.”

New Zealand is first host to bow out in group stage

Tournament co-host New Zealand started with a bang, earning its first-ever win World Cup win with a 1-0 result against Norway. It was a historic moment, and it captured everything the World Cup should be: the beauty of the game, the emotions of the players, what women’s football can mean for a country if we let it.

Yet while the Football Ferns made some positive history, they also made an unfavorable mark in the World Cup record books. They followed up their win with a stunning loss to the Philippines in their second game, then a draw with Switzerland, finishing third in their group and becoming the first tournament hosts eliminated before the knockout stage. Still, captain Ali Riley remained upbeat.

“I really think that we’ve inspired the country,” she said. “I hope that little girls across New Zealand and the world now will start playing sport and feel like they can achieve whatever they put their mind to and just dream bigger.”

Colombia hands Germany its first group-stage loss since 1995

Colombia has been one of the most exciting countries to grace this tournament, led by 18-year-old Linda Caicedo.

Caicedo provided the team’s first goal against powerhouse Germany, which stood as the lone goal in the match until the 89th minute. While Germany scored at the death, Colombia’s Manuela Vanegas wouldn’t let her team be denied. The 22-year-old scored the game-winner in the seventh minute of extra time to clinch the improbable 2-1 win and a spot in the knockout rounds.

While Germany dominated every aspect of the game, from shots to possession to passes, Colombia notched its biggest win to date — and the first group-stage win over Germany by any team since 1995. Colombia advances to the Round of 16 for just the second time.

“It’s a win that’s very, very important,” Vanegas said. “It’s a win against one of the World Cup favorites for a lot of people. But Colombia obviously played very well. It’s (a product of) all the work that people don’t see. We made history. What happened today is historic.

“We want to keep making history — not only today, but tomorrow, too.”

Four World Cup debutantes leave with group-stage wins

Four of the eight World Cup debutantes are leaving the tournament with a group-stage win: Morocco, Zambia, the Philippines and Portugal. Their success marks a historic moment for the tournament, which expanded to 32 teams from 24 this year, bringing it in line with the men’s World Cup.

Morocco is the first Arab country to take part in the Women’s World Cup, and it made its mark with a 1-0 win against South Korea. Additionally, Nouhaila Benzina became the first player to wear a hijab in a game in the history of the World Cup.

“We are just so pleased our efforts have paid off,” Morocco forward Ibtissam Jraïdi said. “This victory is for Morocco and Arabs — it’s the fruit of our hard work.”

USWNT wins just one group stage game for the first time

Add one more statistic to Vlatko Andonovski’s résumé: For the first time, the USWNT finished the World Cup group stage without at least two wins.

A 1-1 draw with the Netherlands and a lackluster performance against Portugal have the USWNT limping into the Round of 16. The possibility of a World Cup three-peat remains alive thanks to a goalpost; if not for a late Portugal shot ricocheting off the post to preserve Tuesday’s 0-0 draw, the USWNT would have made even more unfathomable history.

Perhaps what has been the most infuriating is Andonovski’s refusal to implement (or even consider) tactical changes. The group-stage results made clear that something needs to change, but he is unwilling to change it. The USWNT and its players might still hold the will to win, but what good is will when the way won’t change?

And as the runners-up in Group E, the two-time defending champions now face an even tougher road in the knockout rounds. The USWNT has never bowed out before the semifinals at a World Cup, but that could change this year.

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: Australia advances to knockout stage with emphatic win

Australia entered its final group-stage match against Canada on the brink of elimination. But even before halftime, the Matildas silenced any doubts about their chances to advance in their home World Cup en route to an emphatic 4-0 win.

Hayley Raso had a brace before the half to put her team up 2-0. A third would-be goal for Australia was ruled offside on a VAR review. And the goals didn’t stop coming after the half, with Mary Fowler and Stephanie Catley both adding their names to the scoresheet.

While Australia held possession for just 38% of the match, the lopsided win put the World Cup co-hosts through to the knockout stage. Canada was eliminated with the loss, while Nigeria will advance as the runner-up from Group B.

Australia star Sam Kerr, who missed the first two matches with a calf injury, was available but did not feature in the victory. She will have another week to get rested and ready for the Round of 16, which kicks off Saturday.

Today’s top highlight: Christine Sinclair leaves World Cup pitch ‘one last time’

Canada captain Christine Sinclair paused to pick blades of grass as she exited the pitch after the loss to Australia, which brought to an end her sixth career World Cup appearance.

“It’s the end of the World Cup and I’m probably not going to play in another one,” the 40-year-old told TSN’s Claire Hanna. “I’m leaving the pitch one last time in a World Cup.”

Sinclair reflected on her team and their journey together while speaking with TSN after the match.

“We go through everything together,” she said. “Winning and losing, it’s all part of the game. It’s why we love this sport. We’ve always said we’re a family, and we do it together. Whether we win an Olympic gold medal or lose in the group stage of a World Cup, we do it together.”

Today’s results:

  • Japan 4, Spain 0
  • Zambia 3, Costa Rica 1
  • Republic of Ireland 0, Nigeria 0
  • Australia 4, Canada 0

More World Cup news to know:

  • Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí didn’t mince words after the 4-0 loss to Japan. “[The team is] p—-d off, I am very p—-d off,” she said. “We have to be able to move forward however possible; you have to ride with the punches in football. Today was not our best game and we know we have to improve a lot of things if we want to continue in the tournament.”
  • Despite holding the lowest FIFA ranking in Group B at No. 40, Nigeria has advanced to the Round of 16 thanks to a dream group stage, which ended in a scoreless draw with Ireland. The Super Falcons likely will play England in the Round of 16.
  • Germany needs to play “smarter” after a 2-1 group stage loss to Colombia, according to coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg. “I think you have to play deep then, I don’t think that we should have acted like this. And that’s where we need to learn our lessons, we needed to focus on ending the game 1-1 but I think my team rather tried to win 2-1,” she said. “We need to be smarter than that, we need to think of the result. Because of our goal difference, with a draw we would have still been first [in the group] which would have been good for us mentally.”

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: Australia at risk of early World Cup exit

Sam Kerr’s status remains in doubt after Australia’s first two group-stage matches as she continues to nurse a calf injury. And with Mary Fowler and Kyah Simon also out of Thursday’s game against Nigeria, the African squad took full advantage in a 3-2 win.

While Emily van Egmond struck first to give Australia a 1-0 lead, Uchenna Kanu netted an equalizer five minutes later. From there, it was all Nigeria, with Osinachi Ohale and Asisat Oshoala also getting on the scoresheet. The end result? An impressive victory for Nigeria, and a precarious position for Australia heading into its final group-stage match.

With the win, Nigeria holds the top spot in Group B, followed by Canada. Both teams have four points, while Australia sits in third with three.

So the Matildas face a must-win match against Canada at 6 a.m. ET Monday if they want to advance to the knockout stage. The winner of that match would clinch a spot in the round of 16. If Canada loses, it would need Ireland to beat Nigeria in order to advance; if Australia loses, the Matildas are eliminated.

If Canada and Australia tie, then Canada would advance to the knockout rounds and Australia would need a Nigeria loss and a favorable tiebreaker in order to advance. Realistically, that sets up Monday’s clash as win or go home for the World Cup co-hosts.

Today’s top highlight: Lindsey Horan and Danielle van de Donk make nice

After a testy exchange during the U.S. women’s national team’s 1-1 draw with the Netherlands, Lindsey Horan and her Lyon teammate (but Netherlands foe) Danielle van de Donk made nice in the mixed media area.

The two nearly got into it during the match after van de Donk delivered a hard hit to Horan, after which the USWNT midfielder cursed her club teammate, calling her a “f—ing b—-.” Almost immediately afterward, Horan scored the game-tying goal, following Julie Ertz’s instruction to score and “shut everyone up.”

“I don’t think you ever want to get me mad because I don’t react in a good way,” Horan said. “Usually, I just go and I want something more. I want to win more. I want to score more. I want to do more for my team.”

“Between me and Lindsey, nothing happened,” van de Donk told reporters. “Someone got very angry at me!”

Even before the match, Horan expected her teammate to get chippy. But she didn’t mind it.

“You get trash talk every single day from Dan van de Donk,” she said. “And once we play them, you’ll see it. She’ll be coming for my ankles like every single play, so watch out for that. That will be fun.”

Today’s results:

  • USWNT 1, Netherlands 1
  • Nigeria 3, Australia 2
  • Portugal 2, Vietnam 0

More World Cup news to know:

  • USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski defended his decision to use just one substitute in the 1-1 draw against the Netherlands. “I thought we had control of the game and we were knocking on the door of scoring a goal,” he said. “Our players played well. We were around the goal the whole time, and I just didn’t want to disrupt the rhythm.”
  • England manager Sarina Wiegman spoke Wednesday about her team’s “superpower” label ahead of their clash with Denmark. Denmark manager Lars Sondergaard gave that tag to England and called his own side “underdogs” ahead of the match, set for 4:30 a.m. ET Friday. When asked about the comments, Wiegman said she agreed with the label: “Yes, I agree with that, but of course he wants to put us in that position too. But we are always the team to beat.”
  • Colombia’s Linda Caicedo is reportedly “fine” after a scare during training, in which she was seen grabbing her chest and breathing deeply before lying down on the ground. The star played a key role in Colombia’s first group-stage win over South Korea, and the team next faces Germany at 5:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

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: Rose Lavelle available to start for USWNT

Rose Lavelle is cleared to start for the U.S. women’s national team against the Netherlands, USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said Wednesday. The 28-year-old midfielder is recovering from a knee injury, and she played her first minutes since April in the World Cup opener against Vietnam.

“Rose is fine, and I’m happy she’s available for selection,” Andonovski said.

Whether Lavelle will get the starting nod remains to be seen, but she said Wednesday morning that she feels “pretty good” and “ready for the second match.” She played just 27 minutes against Vietnam, but she generated 0.24 expected assists, the fourth-highest of any USWNT player.

“Every time we play them, it’s a very physical and intense match,” she said of the Netherlands. “They have a lot of different threats, they’re technical, good on set pieces, so I think it’s going to be a tough game, but we’re really excited for it.”

Lavelle brings a history of success against the Netherlands, having scored in the 2019 World Cup final. But she warned Wednesday that this matchup will look “completely different.”

“Both teams are completely different — new players, new coaches — so I think that it’s a fun memory, but we have a new mindset going into this game,” she said. “We know every time we play the Netherlands, it’s going to be a great game. They have a lot of experience on the field.

“I think it’s going to be fun.”

More top World Cup news: Canada battles back against Ireland

Ireland’s Katie McCabe scored her team’s first-ever World Cup goal in thrilling fashion, putting an Olimpico into the net in the fourth minute.

Yet after the rare goal conceded by goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, Canada pushed back to take a key 2-1 victory in Group B.

Canada’s first goal came late in the first half, when Julia Grosso – through wet and rainy conditions – put a shot on net that resulted in an own goal from Ireland. Adriana Leon added another goal in the 53rd minute that proved to be the game-winner.

Today’s top highlight: Spain’s Alba Redondo shares moment with her family

After scoring two goals in Spain’s 5-0 win over Zambia, Alba Redondo paused to soak in the moment with her family. It’s giving us all the feels.

Today’s results:

  • Japan 2, Costa Rica 0
  • Spain 5, Zambia 0
  • Canada 2, Ireland 1
  • USWNT vs. Netherlands — 9 p.m. ET

More World Cup news to know:

  • Spain and Japan are advancing to the knockout stage. Both won their second Group C matches in commanding fashion and will feature in the Round of 16 regardless of what happens when they face off in their third and final group-stage match.
  • Caroline Graham Hansen issued an apology to Norway coach Hege Riise for her comments after being dropped to the bench for Tuesday’s scoreless draw against Switzerland. Even in the apology, Graham Hansen still said she “strongly disagreed” with Riise’s decision to leave her out of the starting lineup. “I just want to apologize for my statements after the match. I’m just a human being with a lot of feelings,” she told reporters Tuesday. “Emotions got the better of me.”
  • Mary Fowler and Aivi Luik have joined Sam Kerr on Australia’s injured list for Thursday’s game against Nigeria. Both players sustained mild concussions in separate incidents during training Tuesday, according to Football Australia. Both have recovered but are following return to play protocols. Football Australia’s concussion guidelines from Jan. 2018 state that return to play protocols “provides for a minimum of six days before the player can play a competitive game.”

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 news: Christine Sinclair’s missed PK underscores larger trend

Canada captain Christine Sinclair nearly became the first person to score at six World Cup tournaments when she took a penalty kick Thursday. But she missed the spot, as Nigeria’s Chiamaka Nnadozie made the save to help Nigeria secure the 0-0 draw.

“Christine Sinclair scored many, many, many goals for this country and I’m sure the fans, the team and everyone can forgive missing a penalty kick,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said. “I think penalty kicks are a 50-50 chance and on this day Sinc didn’t score.

“Sinc has high standards and is a bit of a perfectionist but at the end of the day, this team and this country love Christine Sinclair more than anything, and so they’ll rally around her and we’ll be on and have her ready for the next game.”

But the penalty underscores a bigger trend: Through five games, there have been five penalties awarded — on a handball by Norway, a shove by Ireland, a trip by Nigeria, a trip by Costa Rica. VAR assisted in awarding the third in Switzerland’s 2-0 win against the Philippines.

It’s a trend to watch as the tournament continues.

Today’s top highlight: Philippines national anthem plays for the first time at a World Cup

The Philippines women’s national team is one of several making history in this tournament with a World Cup debut. No other team from the Phillippines, men’s or women’s, has played in a World Cup before, so the country’s national anthem was heard at the World Cup for the first time Friday.

Today’s results:

  • Nigeria 0, Canada 0
  • Switzerland 2, Philippines 0
  • Spain 3, Costa Rica 0

More World Cup news to know:

  • The Philippines nearly scored a goal in its first-ever World Cup game. While an offside call disallowed the goal, the celebration is worth watching.
  • USWNT midfielder Lindsey Horan and coach Vlatko Andonovski remained coy when asked if they were going to “crush” Vietnam in an echo of the team’s 13-0 win against Thailand four years ago. “There are not easy games that before you were just like, oh, this is going to be 6-0, 7-0 or whatever,” Horan said. “It’s not how it is anymore.”
  • The World Cup opener almost looked easy for Spain, with Aitana Bonmati and Esther González scoring within four minutes of each other. Including a Costa Rica own goal, the team’s three goals were scored in a span of six minutes. In total, Spain levied 46 shots, 12 of which were on target, and held possession for 81% of the match.
  • Zambia star midfielder Grace Chanda is out of the World Cup with an illness. According to Reuters, she has since been hospitalized for treatment. “Grace Chanda has been taken ill and unfortunately she is out of the tournament. We have done everything we can to help her, she is getting all the attention she needs but she won’t be able to take part,” team doctor Faith Chibeza said.
  • Netherlands head coach Andries Jonker hit back at FIFA after a training session where the team was made to train on a cricket pitch, which he noted is “rock hard” and “dangerous” for soccer players. “It’s so dangerous considering possible injuries. And then I don’t even talk about the impact on the muscles,” he said. “We have to do something on half a pitch. … This is amateurism in its biggest shape.”

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind: The 2023 Women’s World Cup is going to be the most competitive the world has ever seen. With an expanded 32-team field, expect twists and turns as the exponential growth of the game in the last four years culminates in a tournament where any one of the top teams could hoist the trophy.

Let’s take a look at a few perennial contenders in alphabetical order, all of whom have the ability to win it all. One of the exciting aspects of the 2023 event is that no team is perfect, with strengths and weaknesses that should make for instant classics.

Australia

Players to watch

Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley, Mary Fowler

Why they could win the World Cup

The Matildas have arguably never looked more comfortable going into a major tournament as they have in 2023. Manager Tony Gustavsson has the team firing on almost all cylinders, with wins over Spain, England and France in friendlies just this calendar year. Australia as a group has the creative instincts and forward-facing talent that allow them to score at will against even the most seasoned backlines. They’ve integrated younger players into the squad to shore up positions of need, and have played with a more complete style than in 2019 or even the Tokyo Olympics, with a vastly improved defensive performance in recent months. Even without star forward Sam Kerr, who strained her calf in training this week, Australia grabbed a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland in their World Cup opener on Thursday.

Why they won’t win the World Cup

Heavy is the head that wears the host’s crown at a World Cup, with no host country winning the event on the women’s side since the U.S. achieved the feat in 1999. While the Matildas will have home-crowd advantage throughout the tournament, they’ll face an extra amount of pressure that even the steadiest teams can struggle with — the kind that also saw them falter in the 2022 Asian Cup. Australia has historically been a team that can be goaded into a shootout, with the ability to concede goals as well as score them.

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Brazil forward Marta announced the 2023 World Cup will be her last. (James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)

Brazil

Players to watch

Kerolin, Geyse, Rafaelle, Debinha

Why they could win the World Cup

Four years after Marta’s impassioned speech encouraging the next generation of Brazilian stars to commit to the hard work of playing for the crest, the Brazil roster looks as balanced as ever. Marta actually encouraged a number of her protégés to join her in the physical, highly transitional NWSL, where stars like Kerolin and Debinha have thrived. Passion for an elder is a galvanizing force, and Brazil will do everything in its power to win one for its legendary leader, who has announced this World Cup will be her last.

Why they won’t win the World Cup

Brazil’s weaknesses are almost baked into the team’s identity as much as their overwhelming strengths. They’re a creative team whose poise on the ball and tenacity in quick transition puts opponents on their heels. But they also can fall victim to their own approach, conceding more goals than they can score. It will take organization in the back combined with attacking fireworks to win a World Cup.

Canada

Players to watch

Kailen Sheridan, Vanessa Gilles, Ashley Lawrence, Jordyn Huitema

Why they could win the World Cup

Canada is a contender for World Cup gold for the same reason they are reigning Olympic champions: Their defensive spine is very hard to penetrate, and they have enough attacking discipline to grind out results. Coach Bev Priestman has done a very impressive job infusing the squad with a balance of youth and experience, with players from top clubs across the globe coming together to form a tight unit.

Why they won’t win the World Cup

The way Canada won Olympic gold isn’t foolproof, as the team used a defensive clampdown and penalty opportunities to keep games close and grit out wins. They’ve also had their fair share of injuries, giving them less time to gel on the pitch as in former years. They also haven’t had sufficient federation support to show up as their best selves, with few camps and friendlies in 2023 due to Canada Soccer’s financial distress. The team greatly struggled through the 2023 SheBelieves Cup tournament while playing under similar duress.

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Rachel Daly and England are considered one of the favorites to win it all. (Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

England

Players to watch

Lauren James, Kiera Walsh, Alessia Russo, Millie Bright

Why they could win the World Cup

England, the reigning European champions, still appear to be the most balanced and deepest team in the world despite suffering injuries to both their defense and their frontline. Lauren James and Alessia Russo are ready for significant roles in the attack, and the Lionesses’ midfield is second to none as orchestrated by maestro Kiera Walsh. They also have one of the most consistent managers in all of women’s international football in Sarina Wiegman, whose trademark as England’s coach has been a team playing with singular purpose.

Why they won’t win the World Cup

There are two main barriers between the Lionesses and their first World Cup title, and they go hand in hand. With a grueling 2022 schedule that included the fall-to-spring club seasons running alongside their Euros campaign, England suffered injuries to key players, namely captain Leah Williamson and star forward Beth Mead. Outside of obvious absences, the downside of great success is the fatigue that can follow. The postponed Euros were held only one year before this year’s World Cup, and top teams have always struggled with calendar back-to-back tournaments. England has had trouble scoring in recent friendlies, perhaps indicating that the gas tank is beginning to empty.

France

Players to watch

Wendie Renard, Grace Geyoro, Kadidiatou Diani, Selma Bacha

Why they could win the World Cup

France at times this year has looked like a squad with a new lease on life. After the effective ouster of longtime manager Corinne Diacre, once-alienated leaders have been brought back into the fold under new head coach Hervé Renard, who is well respected in both the men’s and the women’s game. France has long had the ability to dominate through possession and force tempo when necessary, and under Renard, they’ve introduced an urgency that can steamroll opponents.

Why they won’t win the World Cup

The FFF should have made the coaching change long before their hand was forced. Now, the roster has had less time to gel under new management than is ideal. France has also dealt with their share of injuries, most notably to Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Amandine Henry. If France has trouble unlocking their opponent’s defense for long stretches of play, they’ll need to avoid falling into bad patterns that have led to early exits in the past.

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Lena Oberdorf, Germany's midfield anchor, will miss the World Cup opener. (Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images)

Germany

Players to watch

Lena Oberdorf, Alexandra Popp, Sara Däbritz, Jule Brand

Why they could win the World Cup

In 2022, Germany turned what was supposed to be a learning experience for a young group into a run that almost ended in Euros glory. A balanced team with both rising and experienced talent, Germany has seemed to address what ailed them in 2019 by developing a much stronger spine. Lena Oberdorf is arguably the most dominant No. 6 in the world who can disrupt opposing play while resetting her team’s attack.

Why they won’t win the World Cup

When Oberdorf is not on the pitch, some of Germany’s old defensive issues persist. The center-backs can be stretched out of position, particularly in a fast-paced, highly transitional game. The team’s recent 3-2 loss to Zambia in a tune-up game is a good example of what can go wrong for the squad when Oberdorf needs to rest her legs (the midfielder will miss the tournament opener with muscle tightness). Their belief and attacking firepower never waver, but they can’t let their defensive discipline rely too much on one player who won’t play every single minute of the tournament.

Japan

Players to watch

Maika Hamano, Jun Endo, Hina Sugita, Yui Hasegawa

Why they could win the World Cup

Aesthetically, Japan has been one of the most enjoyable squads to watch in 2023. A young, hungry group with tactical flair and an impeccable ability to exploit space, Japan can progress the ball through build-up play as well as any other contender on this list. After losing ground following their 2011 World Cup win and 2015 World Cup final appearance, the roster has been completely refreshed under new management after a disappointing Tokyo Olympic campaign. Japan’s approach has been to lean into what is already working on the youth levels, and they’re beginning to see results.

Why they won’t win the World Cup

This World Cup may have simply come a little too soon for a project that needs more time. Currently, Japan is a team that makes the hard parts look easy and the easy parts look difficult, as they try to convert their dominance in between the penalty areas into comfortable wins. Japan has a few lethal attackers, particularly on the wings, but it would take a big step forward in real time for the team to overcome opponents who have had more time to prepare.

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Spain star Alexia Putellas returned to the roster from an ACL injury just in time for the World Cup. (Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Spain

Players to watch

Alexia Putellas, Ona Batlle, Aitana Bonmati, Salma Paralluelo

Why they could win the World Cup

If you’ve been following the domestic game in Europe over the last four years, Spain’s ascendency into the upper echelon of international soccer has been all but guaranteed. Spain’s roster pulls heavily from domestic talent developed through the country’s two main powerhouses, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, who have been the premier clubs in the world in recent years. They can move the ball with ease and control games well after taking leads through passing combinations.

Why they won’t win the World Cup

Unlike France, Spain’s federation has stuck with embattled manager Jorge Vilda after a number of stars refused call-ups to the team over their unhappiness with the direction of the squad. RFEF’s refusal to concede to player concerns has already had quantifiable impact, with sure starters Patricia Guijarro and Mapi Leon choosing to sit the tournament out in protest. In short, Spain might still be talented enough to fight through adversity, but the federation’s refusal to get out of their own way greatly hampers the team’s potential.

Sweden

Players to watch

Fridolina Rolfö, Stina Blackstenius, Magdalena Eriksson, Kosovare Asllani

Why they could win the World Cup

The USWNT’s longtime adversary, Sweden has shown their blueprint for success at a number of international tournaments. In their silver-medal performance at the Tokyo Olympics, they humbled the U.S. 3-0 in their first match of the tournament. Sweden’s willingness as a group to do the dirty work defensively to disrupt opponents and send the ball the other way has been an attribute that puts them on even footing with any opponent.

Why they won’t win the World Cup

Sweden has been another team dealing with injury: Olympic star Hanna Glas is out indefinitely as she recovers from a knee injury, and fellow defender Hanna Lundkvist recently went down in the team’s final closed-door friendly. Sweden’s dependable core of elite players are also aging, which could pose problems for the team in a difficult group-stage draw.

United States

Players to watch

Sophia Smith, Naomi Girma, Trinity Rodman, Rose Lavelle

Why they could win the World Cup

The U.S. still has one of the deepest player pools in international soccer, bringing a number of strengths to their quest for a third straight World Cup title. Their attacking firepower will be difficult to match, especially on the wings. They also had room to bring creative midfielders and specialists who can beat their opponents in a number of different ways.

Why they won’t win the World Cup

Frankly, there is a reason why no team has won three straight titles before. The U.S. will be up against their own roster rotation, injuries to key contributors, positional imbalances and the challenge of forcing tempo for a full 90 minutes. There’s also the fact that the rest of the field has grown in talent with every passing year. Unwilling to commit fully to 2023 as a development year, the U.S. under Vlatko Andonovski is trying to do many things at once, sometimes without executing those things well. It could simply take one day where the mental discipline slips, and the U.S. has to go back to the drawing board.

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

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.

USWNT

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.

Argentina

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.

Australia

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.

Brazil

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.

Canada

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.

China

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.

Colombia

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.

Denmark

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.

England

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.

France

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.

Germany

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.

Haiti

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.

Ireland

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.

Italy

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.

Jamaica

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.

Japan

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.

Morocco

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.

Netherlands

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.

Nigeria

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.

Norway

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.

Panama

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.

Philippines

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.

Portugal

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.

Spain

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.

Sweden

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.

Switzerland

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.

Vietnam

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.

Zambia

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.

Players on the Canada women’s national soccer team want their pay dispute with their national federation settled before they leave for the 2023 World Cup next week.

The pre-tournament camp is scheduled to start on June 28 in Australia, with the tournament kicking off on July 20. Canada captain Christine Sinclair told the Canadian Press that players want to get a deal done so that they don’t have the issue hanging over their heads throughout the World Cup.

And while the team hasn’t reached its breaking point yet, time is running out.

“We’re not at a point where we’re not getting on a plane, but time’s coming where we want it done so as players we’re not having to deal with it while we’re trying to prepare,” Sinclair told the Canadian Press.

Sinclair is not expecting a long-term solution to the long-standing battle for pay equity and funding.

“But us as a women’s team have flat out told the CSA (Canada Soccer Association) that we need a deal in place for at least the World Cup and this year before we head down there,” she said. “I think it will happen. Will it be a long-term deal? No. But something will be done before the World Cup starts.”

The women’s team has been without a labor deal since its previous one expired at the end of 2021. Earlier this year, players threatened it sit out the SheBelieves Cup before being strong-armed into playing the tournament by their federation.

In March, the two sides agreed to an interim deal, which covered the period of time in 2022 for which team members had not been paid. But players said there remained “a lot of work to be done.”

A permanent deal has not been reached due to a number of factors, the players’ association said at the time, including repeated failure by Canada Soccer to properly disclose financial numbers as well as the fight by the women’s team for an agreement that “establishes fair and equitable standards.”

Players did take part in the April FIFA window after saying they would only do so provided that “meaningful progress” has been made in negotiations. Still, a final deal has not been reached; the Canada men’s national team also is still negotiating its contract.

The reigning Olympic gold champion, Canada enters the final month of World Cup preparation among the top 10 contenders, according to the betting odds.

“I don’t know all the details on the men’s side of things but we’re fighting the same fight,” Sinclair said. “I think us as players, we fear that we as national teams could get left behind when you see the support that other federations are putting into their teams, putting into their youth programming, putting into professional leagues.

“If we want to remain relevant, yes, some things are going to have to change.”