Who is the best player at the 2023 Women’s World Cup?

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • Updated: 27 Jul 2023 08:33 BST
  • 5 min read
Sam Kerr, Chelsea Women
© ProShots

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is well underway, with the second round of matches now beginning to take place.

Co-hosts New Zealand delivered a shock result to kickstart the tournament, with a 1-0 win over Norway, who went into the game as massive favourites. They did, however, suffer a disappointing result of their own in the second match of the group - a 1-0 loss to Philippines.

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Fellow host nation Australia also begun the tournament with victory, thanks to a second-half penalty against debutants Republic of Ireland.

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The United States of America, the reigning champions, had no problems in the first matchday as they swatted aside Vietnam 3-0, but fellow favourites England had slightly more trouble as they stumbled across the line to a 1-0 win over Haiti.

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Who is the best player at the 2023 Women’s World Cup?

There are several favourites to win the coveted Golden Ball award at this year’s Women’s World Cup, and Megan Rapinoe will be looking to defend her crown in her final season as a professional.

She recently announced that she will retire from the professional game when the current NWSL season ends later in 2023. That means this will be her final Women’s World Cup appearance. She has previously won the tournament on two occasions and was awarded the Golden Ball in 2019.

Lucy Bronze won the Silver Ball four years ago and will be hoping to go one better this time around. The Barcelona Femini defender has been a key part of the England Lionesses squad for years, but she is no longer relied upon as much as in 2019 - thanks to the quality now at Wiegman’s disposal.

Bronze’s international team-mates Lauren James, Alessia Russo, Georgia Stanway and Kiera Walsh - the most expensive player in women’s football history - also head into the tournament with high expectations and will likely be involved in the Golden Ball discussion come August.

Alessia Russo has now left Man Utd to join Arsenal
© ProShots - Alessia Russo has now left Man Utd to join Arsenal

Alexia Putellas is widely regarded as the best women’s football player in the world and her back-to-back Ballon d’Or Feminin awards are testament to that statement.

The Spain and Barcelona Femeni superstar has won every possible individual and club award available, and became the first female player to ever win the UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award, the Ballon d'Or Féminin, and The Best FIFA Women's Player in the same year, but she is yet to win the World Cup.

An ACL injury ruled her out of last summer’s European Championships, but she is back to full fitness and is one of the favourites to win the Golden Ball as Spain look to win their first international trophy since the 2018 Cyprus Cup.

Putellas’ Spain and Barcelona team-mate Aitana Bonmati stepped up in her absence at the Euros last year and is expected to play a key role yet again in 2023.

With the Golden Ball often going to attacking players, the winner of the Golden Boot may also feature heavily in the running to win the overall best player award too.

Jill Roord could be one to watch after becoming the WSL's record signing this summer
© ProShots - Jill Roord could be one to watch after becoming the WSL's record signing this summer

According to Oddschecker, USWNT legend Alex Morgan went into the tournament as the favourite for the Golden Boot, while fellow American Sophia Smith was second. Rachel Daly - the WSL’s top goal-scorer last season - was third, despite featuring at full-back for England in their Euros win.

Australia’s Sam Kerr has more than 60 international goals and has excelled at Chelsea since joining in 2019. She was also the top-scorer at the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, with seven goals in four matches. However, she suffered a calf injury in the build-up to Australia's opener and could miss the entire group stages.

Brazilian veteran Marta came off the bench against Panama to play in her sixth World Cup and she will be looking to add her tally of 17 World Cup goals, which is the most of any player - male or female - in the competition’s history.

Who is the top goal-scorer at the 2023 Women's World Cup?

Brazil's Ary Borges is currently the leading goal-scorer at the 2023 Women's World Cup with three goals. She bagged a hat-trick in Brazil's 4-0 demolition of Panama.

There are six players tied for second place on two goals each - Jenni Hermoso (Spain), Sophia Smith (USA), Alba Redondo (Spain), Alexandra Popp (Germany), Hinata Miyazawa (Japan), and Lindsey Horan (USA).

England's Georgia Stanway and Sweden's Fridolina Rolfo are among the players with one goal at the tournament.

Who is the top assister at the 2023 Women's World Cup?

Japan's Mina Tanaka is the player with the most assists at the 2023 Women's World Cup so far. As well as registering one goal, she also provided three assists so far. Japan beat Zambia 5-0 in the opening fixture before a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica followed.

Spain's Eva Navarro is the only other player with more than one assist at the Women's World Cup so far. She currently has two assists to her name.

Navarro didn't play a single minute in Spain's first group stage game, but came off the bench in their 5-0 win over Zambia and provided two assists.

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