On Saturday night, the 2015 Women’s World Cup kicks off in Edmonton as hosts Canada take on China. It is set to be the biggest and most important tournament in the history of the women’s game and continues to show how the sport is coming on in leaps and bounds.
Here are 10 names to watch as the best players on the planet do battle to win the seventh edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Dzsenifer Marozsán: Germany
Coming off the back of winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League with Frankfurt, Marozsan is an exceptional playmaker looking for World Cup success with Die Nationalelf.
Still only 23 years old, the attacking midfielder is on the verge of being classed as one of the best players in the world. Her vision, passing ability and delicate touch make her an absolute joy to watch for both club and country.
Asisat Oshoala: Nigeria
All eyes are on Oshoala this summer as the Liverpool forward continues to develop into a very dangerous player, with all the raw talent to go on to greatness
Voted Player of the Tournament as Nigeria won the 2014 Under-20 Women’s World Cup, she has begun to settle well to life in England and her power, pace and direct running style will be a feature of the Super Falcons play as they try to escape the Group of Death.
Fara Williams: England
“On her day, Fara is one of the best midfielders in the world, “ declared former England international, Rachel Unitt, speaking to BBC Radio 5Live, “on the ball, technically, she is fantastic. Her vision, her football brain, is second to none.”
Although she has 139 caps, Williams is still just 31. For England to do well, they need the Liverpool midfielder to help hold on to the ball and dictate the play. She is an expert from set-pieces, now it is time for her to perform on the grandest stage.
Ramona Bachmann: Switzerland
Known as the “Swiss Magician” the Rosengard forward goes into the tournament after scoring seven goals in seven games for her club side.
Bachmann will spearhead the Swiss attack as they go into their first-ever appearance at the World Cup. Her powerful runs, dazzling feet and unpredictable nature will make her a must-see attraction this summer, even if the Swiss fail to reach the last 16.
Ada Hegerberg: Norway
The loss of Caroline Hansen through injury is a huge blow to Norway’s chances of causing a shock this summer, but in Lyon forward Hegerberg, they have one of the most exciting forwards in women’s football.
Tall, athletic, a creator as well as a finisher, she has been in amazing form for her club, scoring 26 goals in 21 games in just her first season in Ligue 1.
Still only 19 years old, the blonde haired forward could potentially already be one of the best in her position. With time to develop, it’s scary to think what her ceiling might be.
Vivianne Miedema: Netherlands
18-year-old Miedema made her international debut as the Netherlands began their qualification process for this summer’s World Cup. 10 games later her 16 goals helped her to finish as the top scorer throughout the UEFA groups and is one of the teenage stars to watch in Canada.
She has the ability to finish with both feet, and will more than likely pop up with a goal when you least expect it. Combining a beautiful first-touch with a killer-instinct, defences need to pay her the attention she deserves.
Ji So Yun: South Korea
She is already the English PFA Women’s Player of the Year, but now it is time for Chelsea forward Ji So Yun to make her bow on the world’s stage.
Blessed with wonderful balance and poise, she can turn defenders in a blink of an eye before bearing down on the opposition goal. Great footwork, vision and the ability to pick passes when options seem lost, make her South Korea’s most dangerous weapon.
Veronica Boquete: Spain
Debutants in this summer’s World Cup, Spain will look to their very talented playmaker, Veronica Boquete, to guide them into the Round of 16.
It will be difficult, in a group with Brazil and South Korea, but if their diminutive star can turn on the style, they have every chance.
Talent in both feet, with the ability to drop her shoulder and glide past opponents, it is easy to see why Bayern Munich snapped her up before she raises her profile even further in Canada.
Wendie Renard: France
On the way to securing qualification to Canada, this imposing French centre-back scored five times in 10 games. The captain of Les Bleues is an absolute monster on the pitch.
Dangerous at all set-pieces, commanding in leading her country to success, and is even more worryingly, only 24 years old.
Lose Renard at a corner and more often than not she will punish you.
Abby Wambach: United States
As the all-time leading scorer in women’s football, the Wambach name might not be new to most viewers, but her story is going to be very intriguing this summer.
At 35 years old, she is no longer able to dominate as she once did. The presence of Wambach is still a force of nature in the game, but she has never lifted the World Cup.
To add extra spice, she needs two goals to become the all-time leading scorer in World Cup history. She is one behind retired German striker Birgit Prinz and Brazilian superstar Marta.
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