Will the Lionesses finally lift the coveted trophy in 2023?

England v Germany: Final - UEFA Women
England v Germany: Final - UEFA Women's EURO 2022

As we enter the new year, Lionesses fans across England will be highly anticipating the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Sarina Weigman's team have never won the FIFA World Cup and the closest they came was in 2015, finishing third. They finally tasted European glory at Euro 2022 after six attempts and following their success, expectations are certainly high.

Considering recent success, improved performances and an unbreakable team spirit, will the Lionesses continue to conquer? Who can stop them from achieving glory yet again? Without further ado, let's find out.

England's Lionesses - The Serious Contenders

The Lionesses Lift The UEFA Women's Euro Trophy In Victory Celebration For Fans
The Lionesses Lift The UEFA Women's Euro Trophy In Victory Celebration For Fans

The lives of the Lionesses have changed forever following last summer. More people will be watching the World Cup than ever before, and this has created sky-high expectations, which have frequently haunted the men's team for a large number of years. Now, with the amount of media attention that is set to be on the Lionesses, could the pressure be too much?

The Lionesses could also be without Euros Golden Boot winner Beth Mead, as she suffered an ACL injury in November that has put her World Cup place in doubt. Mead is a crucial player, almost irreplaceable in this England team, and would be a significant loss.

Nevertheless, fans witnessed in the Euros that the squad was full of inspirational players such as Chloe Kelly, the scorer of the winning goal in the final against Germany. Kelly took 12 months to recover from a career-threatening ACL injury of her own, but managed to come back just in time to score one of the most historic goals in English international football.

Could we see Beth Mead make the same miraculous comeback? Or could Chloe Kelly continue her inspirational story and be an integral part of the Lionesses World Cup campaign?

England will be hoping to continue their impressive success, on and off the field. As the bookies' second favorite to win the competition, it is more than possible for England to win the World Cup. But who are the favorites?

USWNT - The Favorites

Germany v United States - Women's International Friendly
Germany v United States - Women's International Friendly

The current reigning champions, the USWNT, are favorites to win the World Cup yet again this year. They are the tournament's most successful team, with four titles to their name. No doubt the Stars and Stripes will be looking forward to adding a fifth to their impressive collection.

Another World Cup win would see the USWNT become the first-ever team, in both men's and women's football, to win the World Cup on three successive occasions. The might of the USWNT is clear to the entire world. So much so that their worst ever finish in the history of the World Cup is third place.

It will be an incredibly tough challenge for the Lionesses to defeat this side. This is something that England were unable to do in the 2019 World Cup, losing 2-1 in the semi-finals. Assuming both teams win their groups, which is highly likely, the only way the two teams will face each other is in the final. The spectacle that all Lionesses fans would love to witness would be to beat the best in the final.

Other Challengers

England v Spain: Quarter Final - UEFA Women's EURO 2022
England v Spain: Quarter Final - UEFA Women's EURO 2022

Let's not get confused, the USWNT are most definitely not going to be the only challenge for the Lionesses. Germany, Spain and France all pose a serious threat to both England and the US. Two-time World Cup winners Germany will look to restore their place in the football hierarchy by winning their first World Cup since 2007. This would be especially so after a disappointing 2019 campaign, which saw them knocked out by Sweden in the quarter-finals.

Spain are a team that are yet to win a World Cup. But they have numerous stars that could see off the competition to win it all, such as Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas, who has won all the individual trophies a player can win in their lifetime. The 2022 Ballon d'Or Feminin winner will be eager to show the world what she and her Spain side are capable of, especially considering she missed the previous Euros through injury.

France are a building side that does have the capabilities to beat anyone and will never give an opponent an easy game. Much like Spain, France fell victim to the USWNT rampage that saw them lift the 2019 World Cup. Losing to the champions whilst hosting the tournament hurt the country. Undoubtedly, they will be looking for revenge, and to also win their first ever World Cup.

It's evidently going to be the biggest challenge that the Lionesses have ever faced, but it is not an objective that is too far out of reach for them. Facing Denmark, China, and one of Chile, Haiti and Senegal in their group, it would be a shock for them not to come out as group winners.

However, England are expected to face Germany in the quarter-finals and France in the semi-finals if all goes to plan and as mentioned before, the USWNT in the final. It will be one of the hardest tournaments runs there can be, but will 2023 be the year of the Lionesses? Will this be the year England finally lift the World Cup?

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Edited by Shardul Sant
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