The logo of the New Zealand and Australia 2023 Women's World Cup is displayed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on March 29, 2023. - The Women's World Cup trophy was displayed as part of an international tour which has already included nine countries ahead of the 2023 Women's World Cup tournament in New Zealand and Australia, starting on July 20, 2023. (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA / AFP) (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images)

Fifa Women's World Cup 70 Day Countdown: Day 18 - Top 20 players to watch

Welcome, football fanatics, to day 18 of our exhilarating 70-day journey towards the pinnacle of women's football - the FIFA Women's World Cup. Edge of the Crowd is your faithful companion, guiding you through the vibrant football landscape that will unfurl in the heartlands of Australia and New Zealand this year.

Over the past 16 days, we've painted a vivid portrait of every single team strapping on their boots for this grand spectacle, leaving no stone unturned in our quest to keep you in the loop.

As the anticipation builds, today we're spotlighting the top 20 dynamites ready to set the pitch on fire in the tournament. So, fasten your seatbelts, because we're about to dive into the heart of the action. Here are the 20 most electrifying players, from 20 to 1, primed to mesmerize fans across the globe at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Get ready to see sparks fly!

20. Megan Rapinoe (USA)

Megan Rapinoe, renowned in women's soccer, is a critical asset for the US Women's National Team. With her left-footed skills and set-piece mastery, she's a constant threat to opponents. She shines in clutch moments, as shown by her 2019 World Cup final performance. Her advocacy for gender equality and social justice amplifies her influence.

19. Kyra Cooney-Cross (Australia)

Kyra Cooney-Cross, a dynamic presence, has been improving since her time at Ballarat City. Now playing for Hammarby IF in the Swedish Damallsvenskan, she's honed her skills further. With impressive records in international youth competitions, she's a promising player for the Matildas in the FIFA 2023 Women's World Cup.

18. Jennifer Hermoso (Spain)

Jennifer Hermoso is a force in international women's football. After transitioning to a false 9 position at FC Barcelona, she became a prolific scorer. Now playing for Pachuca, Hermoso continues to impress with her goal-scoring ability. Her experience and instinct make her a standout player.

17. Beatriz Zaneratto (Brazil)

Bia Zaneratto is an exciting player known for her technical skill, agility, and determination. Her ability to convert chances into goals has made her a key player for Brazil. With a combination of experience and natural talent, she's one to watch in the upcoming tournament.

16. Bunny Shaw (Jamaica)

Khadija "Bunny" Shaw, Jamaica's star forward, is a standout player to watch in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Shaw has proven herself as a consistent threat to defences with her finishing skills, while her physical presence adds another dimension to her game. She will, no doubt, play a pivotal role in Jamaica's World Cup campaign.

15. Ada Hegerberg (Norway)

Ada Hegerberg, known for her scoring ability and advocacy for equality in football, is set to return to the international stage. Her impact on and off the pitch makes her an anticipated player in the upcoming World Cup.

14. Michaela Foster (New Zealand)

Michaela Foster's rise in women's soccer has been nothing short of meteoric. From playing for the Northern Rovers and working part-time at a supermarket, to being named player of the year in her debut season with the Phoenix, Foster's hard work and determination have led her to fulfill her dream as a full-time footballer. Now, she aims to secure a spot in New Zealand's national team, the Football Ferns, for the upcoming World Cup on home soil.

13. Lucy Bronze (England)

Lucy Bronze is a player to watch for her exceptional defensive abilities and offensive contributions as a fullback. Her athleticism, technical skill, and tactical intelligence make her a vital player for England.

12. Sophia Smith (USA)

Sophia Smith, known for her speed, technical skills, and scoring ability, is a rising star in the U.S. Women's National Team. Her versatility makes her a player to watch in the World Cup.

11. Lena Oberdorf (Germany)

Lena Oberdorf, a dynamic midfielder known for her versatility and technical skills, is vital for Germany. Her defensive skills, leadership qualities, and maturity make her a promising player for the upcoming tournament.

10. Jackie Groenen (Netherlands)

Jackie Groenen, a key midfielder for the Netherlands, is a player to keep an eye on in the upcoming World Cup. Known for her tactical intelligence and technical skills, Groenen has been a vital part of the Dutch national team's success. Her vision and precision in passing allow her to dictate play and create scoring opportunities. Additionally, her defensive contributions and work rate make her a well-rounded player. As we approach the World Cup, Groenen's blend of skill, determination, and experience make her a crucial asset for the Dutch side.

9. Wendie Renard (France)

Wendie Renard, a central figure in France's defence, is a player to watch in the upcoming World Cup. Renard, who also captains both her club Lyon, and the French national team, is known for her leadership, aerial dominance, and defensive prowess. Her ability to score goals, particularly from set pieces, adds another dimension to her game. With her combination of physical strength, tactical intelligence, and technical skills, Renard is an integral player for France.

8. Pernille Harder (Denmark)

Pernille Harder, the Danish forward known for her goal-scoring prowess, is a must-watch player in the 2023 World Cup. With her exceptional finishing skills, vision, and technical ability, Harder is a constant threat to opposition defenses. She has consistently demonstrated the ability to create and convert chances both for herself and her teammates.

7. Georgia Stanway (England)

England's dynamic attacking midfielder is a player to keep an eye on in the upcoming World Cup. Known for her impressive shooting ability, speed, and creativity, Stanway adds a spark to England's attack. Her versatility, being able to play in multiple attacking positions, adds further value to her side.

6. Fridolina Rolfö (Sweden)

Sweden's formidable left-footed attacker is undoubtedly a player to watch in the upcoming World Cup. Renowned for her pace, aerial ability, and clinical finishing, Rolfö is a central figure in Sweden's attacking lineup. Her ability to hold up the ball and link up play, coupled with her scoring prowess, makes her a consistent threat. As we look forward to the tournament, Rolfö's experience, combined with her natural talent, will be crucial to Sweden's success.

5. Alex Morgan (USA)

Alex Morgan, one of the most recognised faces in women's soccer, is a key player to watch in the upcoming World Cup. Known for her speed, agility, and lethal finishing, Morgan is an instrumental figure in the US Women's National Team's attack. Her knack for finding the back of the net in critical moments has been a trademark of her illustrious career.

4. Christine Sinclair (Canada)

Christine Sinclair, Canada's legendary striker, is a must-watch player in the upcoming World Cup. With her exceptional goal-scoring record, technical ability, and leadership, Sinclair has been the driving force behind Canada's success on the international stage. Her ability to deliver in clutch moments has been a constant in her remarkable career. As we approach the tournament, Sinclair's wealth of experience, combined with her relentless determination, makes her an irreplaceable part of Canada's campaign.

3. Marta (Brazil)

Marta Vieira da Silva, commonly known as Marta, is undeniably a player to watch in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Heralded as one of the greatest female footballers of all time, the Brazilian forward's combination of skill, creativity, and goal-scoring ability has been enthralling audiences for years.

Marta's game is characterised by her exceptional technical skill and creativity. Her dribbling ability, close control, and agility make her incredibly difficult to defend against. She has the ability to take on multiple defenders at once, often leaving them in her wake with a combination of quick footwork and sudden changes of direction.

Her goal-scoring record speaks for itself. Whether from open play or set pieces, Marta has a knack for finding the back of the net. Her finishing ability, composure in front of goal, and ability to strike the ball with either foot make her a dangerous forward for opposition defences to deal with.

Beyond her individual skills, Marta's experience and leadership will be invaluable for Brazil in the World Cup. She has consistently performed on the biggest stages and her presence on the field can inspire her teammates to elevate their own performances.

As we approach the World Cup, Marta's technical skills, goal-scoring ability, and leadership make her a player to watch. Even as one of the more seasoned players in the tournament, her impact on the game remains significant and her performances will be crucial for Brazil's success.

2. Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway)

Caroline Graham Hansen, the Norwegian wizard on the wing, is indisputably one of the players to watch in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Often flying under the radar in discussions of the world's best, Graham Hansen's skill, pace, and creativity mark her as one of the greatest and most underrated players in the world today.

Graham Hansen's game is distinguished by her exceptional dribbling and pace. She's capable of taking on and beating defenders with a unique blend of speed and technical skill, often leaving them trailing in her wake. Her ability to change direction quickly and her close control of the ball makes her an exciting player to watch and a nightmare for opponents.

She is not just an individual talent, though. Graham Hansen's vision and passing ability make her an excellent playmaker. Whether she's delivering a perfectly weighted through ball or crossing accurately into the box, her ability to create scoring opportunities for her teammates is outstanding.

Her goal-scoring ability also deserves mention. Capable of finishing from inside and outside the box, Graham Hansen's composure in front of goal, combined with her powerful and accurate shooting, makes her a constant threat.

Despite her incredible talent, Graham Hansen often doesn't receive the recognition she deserves, making her one of the most underrated players in the world. As we look forward to the World Cup, her technical skills, creativity, and goal-scoring ability will be crucial for Norway's success, and her performances will surely demonstrate why she is considered one of the world's greatest players.

1  Sam Kerr (Australia)

Sam Kerr, Australia's star forward, is undoubtedly THE player to watch in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Known for her goal-scoring prowess, aerial ability, and infectious enthusiasm, Kerr will be facing the unique pressure and privilege of performing in front of her home fans in this year's tournament.

Kerr's game is typified by her remarkable goal-scoring ability. She possesses a natural instinct for finding the back of the net, whether it's with a powerful strike from distance, a deft finish in a crowded penalty area, or a well-timed header. Her speed and agility, combined with her technical skills, means she is a menace to the opposition backline.

Her aerial ability also sets her apart. Kerr's timing, jumping ability, and heading accuracy make her a formidable presence in the air, both in open play and set pieces. She's as likely to score with her head as she is with her feet, which adds another dimension to her game.

However, the 2023 World Cup presents a unique challenge for Kerr. With the tournament being held in Australia, she will be playing in front of her home fans. This brings a certain level of expectation and pressure, but if anyone is equipped to handle it, it's Kerr. She's thrived under pressure before and her love for the game and competitive spirit will likely fuel her to rise to the occasion.

As we approach the World Cup, Kerr's goal-scoring ability, aerial prowess, and her response to the pressure of playing at home make her a must-watch player.

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Don't forget to listen to the Australian World Cup podcast. New episode dropping this week!