Join us on this journey as we dish out the inside scoop on each squad's strengths, weaknesses, players to keep an eye on, and what a pass mark might be for each nation.
Up next is one of the co-host nations, Australia.
FIFA Women's World Cup appearances: 7 (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)
Best Performance in a FIFA Women's World Cup: 2007, 2011, 2015 (Quarter-finals)
Players to watch
Full-back Charli Grant earned her first international call-up at just 19 years old and since then, she's become a popular figure among Matildas supporters all over Australia.
Currently plying her trade in the Damallsvenskan in Sweden for Vittsjö GIK, she has secured a place in the first team. This is promising news for the Matildas, especially considering the current injury problems they are facing in defense.
Grant caught the world's attention with her maiden international goal against European champions England earlier this year and is poised to elevate her performance in a World Cup on home soil.
Part of the Matildas' cohort playing club soccer in Sweden, Kyra Cooney-Cross has established herself as one of coach Tony Gustavsson’s go-to picks in midfield after carving out a regular role in the heart of the national side in the latter half of 2022. Cooney-Cross stands on the brink of stardom, and a standout tournament performance may well earn her a move to a top-tier club.
What more can be said about Sam Kerr that hasn't been said before? This Australian forward is one of the finest talents in football and will undoubtedly be eager to showcase her ability on the highest stage, in front of her home crowd, especially after recently winning the FWA Women's Footballer of the Year, and netting the winning goal for Chelsea in the Women's FA Cup Final - the third successive time she's scored in a Women's FA Cup Final.
Australia has been on a commendable run lately, barring a 1-0 friendly defeat to Scotland in April. In 2023, Australia has notched victories over European champions England and a strongly fancied Spain team. The team also secured a 3-0 win against Jamaica and a 4-0 triumph over the Czech Republic in this calendar year.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths: The Matildas team is expected to be among the tournament's top contenders. They possess an ideal mix of youthful energy and seasoned experience, with most of their starting XI for the opening match against The Republic of Ireland being players who are in their prime, competing in top clubs worldwide.
Playing on home turf could prove a significant advantage. As seen in both Men's and Women's World Cups previously, host nations often outperform expectations. Given that the Matildas are already highly rated, this could prove daunting for their competitors. However, this advantage could also flip. Read more on this below.
Weaknesses: The depth of the Matildas forward line raises some concerns. Despite boasting one of the world's top strikers in Sam Kerr and the talented Caitlin Foord, there's a noticeable decline in quality beyond them. When Kerr or Foord don't hit their stride, the team struggles to penetrate defenses. This could be problematic, as they need to score multiple times in the group stages.
The pressure of being the host nation could also pose a challenge. If Australia's inaugural match against The Republic of Ireland doesn't go as planned, the pressure could reach unprecedented heights.
This is a bit complex. At the very least, the Matildas need to match their best-ever World Cup performance, which is reaching the quarter-finals. However, if they only get that far, there might be some serious scrutiny of the team's performance. That said, reaching the semi-finals would be a satisfactory result for the Matildas. However, a spirited run to the quarter-finals, ending in a narrow defeat, could also be deemed acceptable.