The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is now well into its stride.
Every team has played at least one match, so we’ve had the chance to assess the main runners and riders, and who is most likely to take the crown in Australia and New Zealand.
BestofBets reviews the contenders’ opening salvos…
USA – 5/2
A comfortable 3-0 win over Vietnam in their opening Group E match has done little to dampen the noise around the USWNT at this tournament.
Sophia Smith struck twice in that match, with Alex Morgan enduring mixed fortunes after providing an assist but seeing her penalty saved.
They should top their group, however tougher games against Portugal and the Netherlands are to come.
Can they claim an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title? There’s a lot of competition, but the USA will take some beating.
FT: USA 3-0 Vietnam
That's 13 straight games won at World Cups for the USWNT 💪 pic.twitter.com/bkViU2X2zu
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 22, 2023
Spain – 7/2
Spain have never won a Women’s World Cup before; they’ve never even progressed beyond the last 16.
This year, it will surely be different. They boast a side packed with technical quality, who dominated from start to finish in their opening 3-0 win over Costa Rica.
Whether the Spaniards cope with the pressure at the tournament’s sharp end, however, is the big question.
But with two-time Ballon D’Or winner Alexia Putellas coming back from injury at the right time, the Iberians can’t be overlooked.
Germany – 6/1
While some of the other fancied nations laboured in their opening games, Germany put down a real marker with a 6-0 destruction of Morocco.
Once again, they were inspired by the effervescent Alexandra Popp, as she bagged a brace en route to the simplest of opening victories – which has tongues wagging about the prospect of a first German Women’s World Cup triumph since 2007.
The No.2 ranked side in the world aren’t here to mess about; they mean business.
England – 6/1
The Lionesses were many people’s favourites to claim a first-ever world title before the tournament began – second in the outright tournament odds.
But their unconvincing 1-0 victory over Haiti has created some unwanted questions for Sarina Wiegman.
Georgia Stanway’s penalty got the job done and Mary Earps spared her teammates with a big save late on but England must improve against Denmark.
Wiegman must decide whether to start Rachel Daly up front, rather than Alessia Russo.
If she finds the right balance, the Lionesses are still a decent chance of going deep in the tournament.
Focus switches to Denmark. 🇩🇰 pic.twitter.com/792BAhRJB0
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) July 23, 2023
Other Women’s World Cup 2023 contenders
Narrowly overcoming the Republic of Ireland, the Matildas will need to be better against Nigeria.
Norway were much fancied pre-tournament, but now face a scrap to qualify for the last 16 after a draw and a loss in their first two games.
Without a single goal, the Viking nation are now a whopping 150/1 to win the whole thing.
There might be some value in Sweden at 20/1.
Yes, they needed an added time winner from Amanda Ilestedt to beat South Africa 2-1, but they look a slick and well-oiled machine and have a favourable group.
Finally, Brazil are surprisingly long odds at 14/1 despite an authoritative 4-0 opening win over Panama.
Ary Borges netted a hat-trick and looks the real deal, while Marta remains an important figure.