Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Rachel Corsie: My Women’s World Cup finalists, dark horse and player to watch predictions

In this week's column, Rachel discusses what she will be looking out for at the major tournament which got under way in Australia and New Zealand earlier this week.

Canada's women's national team line-up ahead of their opening match at the 2023 World Cup.
Canada's starting XI pictured ahead of their 2023 World Cup opener against Nigeria. Image: Shutterstock.

The Fifa Women’s World Cup got under way earlier this week in Australia and New Zealand, and has already thrown up some great moments.

New Zealand embraced the occasion and opened the tournament with a 1-0 win over Norway, which was their first-ever victory at a World Cup.

It was the up to co-hosts Australia to deliver next – which they did in front of a 75,784 fans as they beat Republic of Ireland 1-0 to get off to a winning start in Group B.

There has been plenty other action since the opening day: Canada were held to a 0-0 draw with Nigeria, Switzerland beat the Philippines 2-0 and Spain cast aside Costa Rica with a 3-0 victory.

On Saturday, the reigning champions United States get their tournament under way against Vietnam in the early hours (GMT), the former holders Japan play Zambia, England face Haiti, and Denmark play China.

It’s set to be an exciting month, with plenty twists and turns, so here are my predictions for the 2023 World Cup finalists, dark horses and players to watch.


At this stage of the tournament, it is difficult to predict who might contest the final in Sydney on August 20, but I’m going for a North American finale with USA v Canada.

The USA have won the previous two editions of in 2015 and 2019 and, despite some people writing them off, I believe they have a squad capable of securing an impressive third triumph.

Megan Rapinoe with the World Cup trophy in 2019. Image: Shutterstock.

Yes, they are missing key players – captain Becky Sauerbrunn and Mallory Swanson are big losses – but they still have the depth and talent to be a really strong threat.

Meanwhile, Canada’s biggest attribute is their strength as a collective unit.

They might not have as many big names as some of the other countries, but together they can be a relentless, hard-working team, who are very hard to beat.

One name they do have is Christine Sinclair.

She is a legend of the game and this is her sixth World Cup at 40 years old – and she has scored in each of her previous tournaments.

She had the chance to net in her sixth World Cup (never done before in women’s or men’s football) in the first game against Nigeria, but missed a penalty – however, I have no doubt she will achieve that feat.

Canada’s Christine Sinclair, right, in action against Nigeria. Image: Shutterstock.

We’ve seen what Canada can offer at major tournaments before, as they came into the tournament as the current Olympic gold medallists.

Getting to the final will be difficult, but I think that is something Canada will embrace. They will have to be at the top of their game from the start and, following a 0-0 opener, it’s vital they start to build momentum.

Dark horse

There are a few teams who I think I might surprise people over the course of the tournament.

Firstly, I reckon Denmark will surpass expectations and progress.

They had some really good warm-up wins against Sweden and Japan, who are big-hitters at the World Cup.

I’m also backing Brazil to do well.

There is just something about Brazil that excites at these competitions.

They were given a boost with the return of Marta, who will be playing at her sixth World Cup and is another undisputed legend of our sport.

Brazil are usually brilliant to watch, but can be inconsistent – winning against some of the top teams and dropping results against others you would expect them to beat.

My final dark horse is France.

They come to the tournament with a new manager, Hervé Renard, in post and I know from speaking to my Aston Villa team-mate Kenza Dali that he has had a really positive impact.

Players to watch

There are so many players who could be singled out, but my player to watch is Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí.

She is such a joy to watch. The way she receives the ball and has it at her feet under pressure, it’s amazing to watch somebody play with such ease and comfortability.

With Spain, Bonmatí plays in a team where the focus and the plaudits often go to those around her, but she deserves a lot of credit.

Spain’s Aitana Bonmati in action at the World Cup. Image: Shutterstock.

A young player to watch, for me, would be the USA’s Trinity Rodman, who is only 21.

I played against her during my time in America when she was just breaking into the NWSL, and watching her now it’s clear how much she has developed over the last couple of years.

She scored a brace in the USA’s warm-up game against Wales and I was really impressed with the way she hit the second goal from outside the box.

It was a reflection of how she has improved technically and the confidence she has. She backs herself and I think she will have really good tournament.

Aston Villa set for Villa Park opener against Manchester United

Earlier this week the FA WSL fixtures were announced, and my Aston Villa team will start our season at Villa Park against Manchester United on October 1.

It will be a challenging opening game, but one we will embrace.

Last season, we played our opener at Villa Park and beat Manchester City 4-3, which really set the tone for a successful campaign.

I look back at that game with really vivid memories, and it was probably the first game where outsiders saw us as a real threat – but internally we already had that belief.

What we achieved last season was excellent and we want to build on it.

The only team we didn’t beat last season in the league or cups was Chelsea, so there is definitely a lot to take from that.

It’s also really encouraging that we have already surpassed our season ticket sales compared to last term.

We want to keep growing and connecting with the fanbase, whether our games are at Villa Park or Walsall’s Bescot Stadium, which is where the majority of our matches are.

The growth is a great reflection of the good things the club are doing to try and entice more and more people to come along and watch us play.

Nadine Hanssen the right call for Aberdeen captain

Nadine Hanssen was named the new Aberdeen Women captain on Thursday, and I believe it’s the right appointment to make.

At 29, she is one of the more senior players left at the club and has valuable experience having played at Aston Villa, as well as in Belgium and the Netherlands, which will be vital for a young squad.