Karen Bardsley: Women's World Cup Championship Team
Column illustration by Karen Bardsley

Well, the 2023 Women’s World Cup is coming to a close, and it was certainly an exciting tournament full of surprises and upsets.

Young players declared themselves on the world stage. International football’s powerhouses have fallen, and Spain has firmly established itself in the history books when they lifted the trophy for the first time on Sunday night in Australia.

What a great month for women’s soccer. And what better way to sum it all up than with a self-talk about the championship team.

You have definitely chosen an attack-minded lineup.

Goalkeeper: Mary Erbes, England

England goalkeeper Marie Erbis (midfield)

Marie Erbis has had a huge positive impact on England’s World Cup campaign. An excellent communicator, her presence helped steady the Lionesses’ defense.

She single-handedly secured first place in the group in England with her one-on-one shot-stopping ability, consistent distribution, and big game mentality. Not to mention that she saved a penalty kick in the World Cup final.

Left-back: Esmee Brugts, Netherlands

Expectations have changed for defenders and playing on both sides of the ball (in and out of possession) has become essential. The Progets – a young, energetic and technical player – delighted with stellar strikes and deliveries in the penalty area.

She also silenced many critics with her defense and defensive intelligence, which she demonstrated by anticipating and intercepting passes, pressing and contributing to the attack by crossing from wide areas.

Her up-and-down dynamic on the left wing turned out to be crucial for the Dutch.

She probably has both championship goals to her name and has always been involved in the offensive third position. But, defensively, Brugts also put up big numbers with 3.3 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per 90 minutes. At the age of 20, the future certainly looks bright for Bruges.

Centre-back: Alex Greenwood, England

England defender Alex Greenwood (right)

Alex Greenwood has been outstanding both on and off the ball for England. As England moved into third place behind, it suited all of Greenwood’s strengths.

Out of possession, Greenwood’s timely, last-minute tackles and excellent positional discipline provided defensive stability. Her possession abilities were most impressive, as she built plays and consistently broke down defenses with a pass.

The player can not do without Lionesses this summer.

Center back: Amanda Ellstedt, Sweden

A solid player in defence, with a knack for scoring goals, Amanda Ellstedt offers Sweden the best of both worlds. Her positional intelligence disrupted opponents’ attack threats and ensured she was barely beaten on the evasive.

Moreover, she dominated the air in both boxes and was alert for second balls, scoring an impressive four goals in six matches.

Right back: Una Batley from Spain

Una Patel was an accomplished and decisive defender, firing forwards where she wanted them. The battle stopped the attacks before they could begin.

However, the excellent one-vs-defender made her presence felt with low, overlapping kicks, flawless deep crosses and the occasional dribbling dribbling into the penalty area.

Defensive midfield: Spain’s Teresa Abelera

Teresa Apelera (right)

Teresa Abelera controlled the midfield and set the pace for the Spanish midfield. Arguably the main gear, she disrupts opponents’ attacks with tackles, interceptions, and recoveries.

Complemented by her wit and deadly accuracy, she simultaneously protected the back line with killing counterattacks while providing for threats from deep areas.

Midfielder / Attacking Midfielder: Aetana Bonmati, Spain

Midfielder Aitana Bonmati is effective in all aspects of her game, but movement and availability set her apart. Bonmati’s constant scanning of the field ensures that she is constantly getting the ball.

Then, her skill and control allowed her time in tight spaces, linking plays, cutting through opposition midfield and defense out of passing range. If that wasn’t enough, her late arrival in the penalty area allowed for an additional goal-scoring threat. worldwide.

Midfielder/Attacking Midfielder: Jenny Hermoso from Spain

Hermoso has been essential to Spain’s success this summer. A staple of the Spanish midfield, her belief in journalism, combined with her ability to cut into space unnoticed, build attacks, hold the ball under pressure, link play and convert chances, made her a handful for every opponent.

Attacker: Hinata Miyazawa, Japan

At 23 years old and relatively unknown, Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa has made a name for herself as she memorably terrorized Spain with her speed and efficiency. Never before in the tournament, she converted 38% of her shots into goals (scoring five and earning the Golden Boot), making her brutal attacking transitions something to be feared by any opponent.

Forward: Linda Caicedo, Colombia

At eighteen, Linda Caicedo lit up the international stage with her electric power. Caicedo displayed exceptional balance, technical skill, and quick feet.

The elusive dribbler was a constant threat on Colombia’s left flank and at half-distance, as evidenced by the beautiful goal that exposed cracks in Germany’s team.

Attacker: Spain’s Selma Baralelo

Selma Baralelo (center right)

Talk about making an impact, where would Spain be without Salma Baralelo?

Yes, she is fast and can get behind defenses. But with each performance, the 19-year-old Barcelona striker showed versatility in positioning and technique.

Paralolo’s mastery with both feet allowed her to tie up play or unbalance defenders. Plus, her goal-scoring ability has made her a killer in front of goal this summer.

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