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Stars to watch out for during the FIFA World Cup

The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup will showcase the top players in the world, here are some of the global stars to watch out for.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas receives her second Woman Ballon d'Or award during the 2022 Ballon d'Or France Football award ceremony.
Alexia Putellas, Ballon d'Or winner Photo: AFP

The Barcelona and Spain star is returning from a serious knee injury suffered in July 2022 that ruled her out of last year's European Championships.

She made a very late appearance in the last northern season to help Barcelona win the Primera Division title and came on late as her club beat Wolfsburg 3-2 in the Champions League final.

The midfielder is a two-time winner of the Ballon d'Or, but following her injury it will be interesting to see if she returns in the same form.

She did tell her club website that she felt 100 percent.

Putellas has been a supporter of Barcelona since she was a child and would watch matches at the Nou Camp with her father.

She played her first senior game for Barcelona in 2012 as an 18-year-old and has made close to 300 appearances.

Putellas is also a Spain centurion.

The talented player can control a midfield and is also accurate in front of goal.

Sam Kerr of Chelsea celebrates her goal
Sam Kerr playing for Chelsea Photo: AFP

The Australian helped Chelsea to their fourth straight English Super League title this year in another dominant season for the London club.

Kerr joined the Blues in 2020 after playing in the United States.

However, her senior career started as a 15-year-old with Perth Glory in the W-League, and at the same age she played her first international.

The now 29-year-old has played the most games and scored the most goals for her country.

She competed in the 2011, 2015 and 2019 World Cups and the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

Kerr played a prominent part of their 2020 Olympics scoring a hat-trick in one game and helping her side to a fourth place finish.

She has regularly been nominated for Player of the Year awards and it was announced she would be the first female player to feature on the cover of the Ultimate edition of the FIFA video game.

Australia will be relying on the forward's scoring talent to make an impression in the World Cup and progress past the quarter-finals for the first time.

Canadian Christine Sinclair in action against New Zealand.
Christine Sinclair in action against New Zealand Photo: PHOTOSPORT

If experience counts for anything then the ageless Canadian forward must count as one of the greats of the game.

The 39-year-old has played 324 games for her country and scored 190 goals ... a world-wide leading tally.

After making her debut for the senior team at the age of 16, Sinclair helped Canada to a fourth place finish at the 2003 World Cup.

She played her 300th match during the Tokyo Olympics, helping her side to the gold medal with an upset win over the United States in the semi-finals and then a penalty shootout win over Sweden in the final.

The Canadians did not have the smoothest build-up to the tournament with players striking over pay equity at the beginning of the year.

Sinclair has been nominated for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year Award seven times and has been named Canada's Player of the Year 14 times.

This World Cup will be her sixth, and despite her age, it should not be expected that she won't be at the top of her game.

She is fast and physical with great ball skills and will again be a danger in front of the goal as Canada look to carry their Olympic form into the World Cup.

Lena Oberdorf of VfL Wolfsburg
Lena Oberdorf playing for Wolfsburg Photo: AFP

The young midfielder was one of the standout players at last year's European Championship, winning the young player of the tournament award and helping her side to the final.

She is tireless on attack and defence and is at the heart of the German midfield.

Oberdorf has a great pass and is also praised for her ability to win the ball in the tackle, while many praise her for her maturity on the field despite her young age.

The 21-year-old played a significant part in her club Wolfsburg's progress to the final of the Champions League this year, where they were beaten by Barcelona.

She played for the German under-15 side in 2014 and has progressed through the age group system every year since and made her debut for the senior side in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup.

Her emerging talent has many in Germany optimistic about the national side in the coming years.

Alongside captain and star striker Alexandra Popp, Oberdorf and the rest of the German side should be contenders to make the final.

Nigeria football star Asisat Oshoala
Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The striker is the standout player in a lowly ranked Nigerian team and her performance at the World Cup will play a big part in how the African nation performs.

Oshoala played a big part in Barcelona's La Liga title last season, scoring 20 goals in 19 games.

She also scored four goals in Barca's campaign to win the Champions League title - becoming the first African to win the title.

The 28-year-old has also be named African Women's Footballer of the Year five times and has been described by many commentators as the greatest African female player.

Plus, she is the only African player to be nominated for the Ballon d'Or.

After starring in the 2014 Under-20 World Cup, Oshoala was picked up by Liverpool before moving to Arsenal and then to China before landing in Barcelona.

She was vice-captain of the Super Falcons team at the 2019 World Cup, helping her side to the round of 16 where they were beaten by Germany.

Oshoala has a number of nicknames including "Seedorf" after male footballer Clarence Seedorf, "Agba Baller" meaning legendary footballer, and "Superzee" by her team-mates.

Oshoala has a foundation supporting young female players in Africa.

Alex Morgan of the USA during the women’s international football friendly game against New Zealand Football Ferns, 2023.
Alex Morgan playing against New Zealand Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The American striker was destined to be a star of the game after being the number one pick out of college in 2011.

She went straight into the US squad for the 2011 World Cup and has played in every tournament since, helping them to the title in 2015 and 2019.

Morgan was runner-up in voting for the FIFA Best Women's Player Award in both 2019 and 2022.

Morgan first played for the USA at under-20 level helping them win that title in 2008 and has now played more than 200 games for the senior side, scoring 121 goals.

Morgan gave birth in 2020 and was back in the national side six months later and scored a goal against New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 on their way to the bronze medal.

The 34-year-old is a dominate forward with speed to go with her aggression and with a top quality team around her can be expected to be in plenty of goal scoring situations during the 2023 tournament.

Chloe Kelly of England
England striker Chloe Kelly Photo: AFP

Kelly was known as the super-sub for England, but, after scoring the extra time winning goal in the 2022 European Championship final against Germany, she has cemented her place in the starting line-up.

She missed almost 11 months of action after suffering an ACL injury in 2021, which forced her to miss the Olympics, but returned just in time for the Euros.

Kelly debuted for Arsenal in 2015, before moving to Everton and then onto Manchester City in 2020.

Since joining City, she has scored 16 goals in 48 appearances and hit the back of the net six times in 25 appearances for the Lionesses.

The 25-year-old forward plays primarily on the right and is know for her deliveries into the box as well as her finishing.

England are without some key players because of injury, including captain Leah Williamson and fellow forward Beth Mead, so a lot will be expected of Kelly to push England into at least the semi-finals.

Brazil football legend Marta

The Brazilian legend is set to play her sixth and likely last World Cup. The 37-year-old is considered by many to be the greatest women's player of all time and has been named FIFA World Player of the Year six times.

Her first World Cup was in 2003, while in 2007 she won the Golden Boot with sevens goals, helping Brazil to the final where they lost to Germany.

Marta Vieira da Silva has scored 115 goals in 175 games for the national side. She holds the record for most goals scored in the World Cup with 17, and she became the first player (female or male) to score in five World Cups.

Marta has also played five Olympics, capturing silver medals twice and in 2021 she became first player to score in five Olympics.

She is recovering from injury but she should provide Brazil with goal-scoring opportunities up front.

Marta has exceptional skill and still has plenty of speed, but this year her greatest asset for Brazil could be her leadership.