LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally enhanced.) Megan Rapinoe of the USA lifts the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy following her team's victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

FIFAWWC Countdown: Day 62 - The Mainstays

We're just a tad more than a week away from the grandest spectacle in women's sports history! As part of Edge of the Crowd's 70-day countdown, it's time to shine the spotlight on the "Magnificent Seven" - those indefatigable, unwavering, and iconic teams that have become practically synonymous with the exhilarating world of the FIFA Women's World Cup.

1. Brazil: Samba Queens of Soccer

When we think of Brazil, we often think of their men’s team, the Seleção, but the Brazilian women’s national team, known as Seleção Feminina, has made a name for themselves as a force to be reckoned with in global football. Since the inception of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991, the Brazilians have made it to every single tournament, showcasing their “samba style” on the world stage.

Their best run came in 2007 when they reached the finals, driven by the magic of one of the greatest women footballers of all time, Marta Vieira da Silva, simply known as Marta. Even though Brazil lost to Germany, Marta was awarded the Golden Ball and Golden Boot for her exceptional performances. Her legacy continues to inspire a new generation of Brazilian footballers.

The team’s vibrancy and football prowess make every match an exhilarating spectacle. From their confident dribbling to creative footwork, the Brazilian women’s team embodies the ‘samba soccer’ spirit. This blend of talent and charisma has made them favourites among neutrals.

Brazil’s qualification for every FIFA Women’s World Cup reflects the country’s deep-rooted passion for football. Regardless of gender, football in Brazil is not just a sport but a way of life, a shared cultural expression that is deeply intertwined with the nation’s identity.

In 2023, Brazil will send off Marta, one of the greatest players to ever step foot on a soccer pitch and look to claim their first Women’s World Cup at the same time.

2. Germany: Precision and Power

Germany is a nation known for its precision and power, not only in engineering but also in football. The German women’s national team, Die Nationalelf, has not only qualified for every FIFA Women’s World Cup but has also lifted the coveted trophy twice, in 2003 and 2007, under the stellar leadership of coach Tina Theune and later Silvia Neid.

The names of Birgit Prinz, Nadine Angerer, and Celia Sasic ring a bell in the football world. These athletes, among others, have personified the technical mastery and tactical intelligence that is synonymous with German football. Their performances have etched unforgettable memories in the heart of football fans.

The team’s consistency is a testament to the country’s robust player development system. The German Football Association (DFB) has made significant strides in promoting women’s football, resulting in the team being a perennial powerhouse at the Women’s World Cup.

No matter the opponents, the German women’s team is always one to watch out for. Their relentless drive, combined with their tactical discipline, makes them a formidable force. When it comes to the Women’s World Cup, the German team is always in the mix for the title.

In 2023, the Germans, under manager Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, come into the World Cup sitting at number two in the FIFA World Rankings and will be looking to capture their third Women’s World Cup trophy.

3. Japan: The Rising Nadeshiko

Japan’s women’s national football team, affectionately known as Nadeshiko Japan (named after an idealised Japanese flower), has always been a beacon of determination and resilience. Their presence in every FIFA Women’s World Cup since its inception is a testament to their unwavering commitment to the sport.

The team’s crowning achievement came in 2011 when they secured their first-ever Women’s World Cup victory. In a thrilling final against the United States, Japan triumphed in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout, lifting the spirits of a nation recovering from a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

A blend of technical skill, tactical nous, and a never-say-die attitude defines the Japanese women’s team. Their diminutive size compared to many of their opponents doesn’t stop them from imposing their style on the game. They have continually defied the odds, proving that heart and determination often surpass physical attributes.

With a strong infrastructure for women’s football and a fan base that idolises Nadeshiko, Japan has set the standard for football development in Asia. This, coupled with their consistent performances, ensures they remain a staple in the Women’s World Cup.

Japan was dumped out of the Women’s World Cup in 2019 at the round of 16 after making successive finals in the two tournaments prior. Nadeshiko will be looking for a return to form in this year's competition, although they are rank outsiders heading into the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

Edge of the Crowd partners with Her Game Too for the Women's World Cup, uniting our passion for diversity and inclusivity in sports. Together, we aim to dismantle barriers, tackle sexism, and amplify women's voices in the sporting realm. Join us in celebrating the spirit of the beautiful game, free of gender constraints. The love for the game knows no gender; let's make every game, Her Game Too. Head to @HerGameToo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn more.

4. Nigeria: Africa’s Super Falcons

Nigeria’s women’s national football team, known as the Super Falcons, is without a doubt the powerhouse of African women’s football. They have not only qualified for every FIFA Women’s World Cup but have also dominated the African Women’s Championship, winning it multiple times.

The team’s star-studded roster over the years, including the likes of Mercy Akide, Perpetua Nkwocha, and Asisat Oshoala, has helped maintain their stranglehold over African football. Their vibrant play and unyielding spirit have made them a team to respect on the global stage.

The Super Falcons are renowned for their physical prowess, speed, and technical abilities, making them a tough nut to crack for any opponent. Every Women's World Cup appearance adds another chapter to their growing legacy, further cementing their status as the pride of Africa.

Their regular appearances at the Women’s World Cup showcase Nigeria’s commitment to promoting women’s football, despite numerous challenges. The Super Falcons carry the hopes of a nation every time they step on the field, inspiring countless girls back home to pursue their dreams.

Consistent qualifiers, the Super Falcons are yet to truly leave their mark on the Women’s World Cup. Their best performance was a quarter-final berth all the way back in 1999. They are a long shot to match that this year with odds of $251, but you can never truly count Nigeria's women’s national team out.

5. Norway: Pioneers of the Game

Norway’s women’s national football team is among the pioneers of the game. Norway has not only have qualified for every FIFA Women’s World Cup but have also tasted ultimate victory, having won the coveted trophy in 1995 with a memorable victory over Germany in the Final.

Names like Hege Riise, Linda Medalen, and Ada Hegerberg are synonymous with Norwegian football. Their performances, coupled with the team’s disciplined approach to the game, have made Norway a force to reckon with in women’s football.

One defining trait of the Norwegian women’s team is their grit and determination. They are a team that epitomises the term ‘never give up’, often punching above their weight in high-stakes tournaments like the Women’s World Cup.

Norway’s consistent appearances in the Women’s World Cup reflect the country’s commitment to gender equality, even in sports. Their success serves as an inspiration for other nations to invest in and develop women’s football, underlining the importance of equal opportunities.

A powerhouse in the early phases of this tournament, the 21st century has not been kind to the Norwegians when it comes to the Women’s World Cup. Their best finish since the turn of the century has resulted in a couple of losing quarter-finals. This current batch of players is so much better than that and will look to drive that point home in Australia and New Zealand.

6. Sweden: Scandinavian Soccer Maestros

Sweden’s women’s national team, Blågult, has been a constant presence in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Their disciplined approach to the game and tactical prowess has seen them reach the semi-finals four times, with their best finish as runners-up in 2003.

Players like Hanna Ljungberg, Victoria Svensson, and more recently Stina Blackstenius, have etched their names in Swedish football folklore. Their performances have been instrumental in Sweden’s consistent presence on the world stage, inspiring generations of female footballers.

The Swedish team’s playing style is a blend of tactical discipline, physical prowess, and technical ability, making them a formidable opponent. Every Women's World Cup they participate in is a reaffirmation of their status as one of the top teams in women’s football.

Sweden’s continual qualification for the Women’s World Cup underlines the country’s commitment to promoting women’s football. Their system of player development is often hailed as a model, ensuring a constant supply of talent to maintain their status in world football.

Despite their consistent qualification, the feeling around Sweden is ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride'. Sweden has had three third-place finishes and been runners-up once. The world will be watching this July and August to see if the team can make the next step in Australia and New Zealand.

7. United States: The Stars (and Stripes)

The United States women’s national team, fondly known as the USWNT, is a true titan in the realm of women’s football. Not only have they qualified for every FIFA Women’s World Cup, but they have also won the tournament an impressive four times - more than any other nation.

The list of football legends that have donned the Stars and Stripes is lengthy, from Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach to Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, each one leaving an indelible mark on the game. It is their performances that have powered the USWNT’s dominance on the world stage.

Known for their physicality, technical skills, and never-say-die attitude, the USWNT is a team that opponents dread to face. Their style of play is aggressive, forward-thinking, and ruthlessly efficient, mirroring the country’s ethos of pushing boundaries in every field.

The United States' continual success at the Women’s World Cup is a testament to its robust player development programs and a culture that encourages and nurtures sporting talent. The team's commitment to women’s football is unparalleled, making them the gold standard in the sport.

The USWNT is more than just a football team. They are a symbol of empowerment and a source of inspiration for millions of young girls worldwide who aspire to chase their dreams, be it on or off the football pitch.

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