FIFA WWC: 7 players who could stop Super Falcons' Asisat Oshoala from winning the Golden ball

FIFA Women's World Cup Golden ball contenders | PulseSports

FIFA WWC: 7 players who could stop Super Falcons' Asisat Oshoala from winning the Golden ball

Ayoola Kelechi 07:27 - 16.07.2023

These seven players are all that stand between Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala and the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Golden Ball

With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup set to kick off in the next few days, many fans of Nigeria’s Super Falcons are praying for a special performance in Australia and New Zealand.

If the Super Falcons are able to shock the world, Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala is expected to be central to any success, which could leave her as one of the favourites to win the competition’s Golden Ball as its best player.

Winning such an honour will certainly not come easily, as several other players will be vying for the honour, with these seven being the most likely to keep Oshoala from being named player of the tournament.

Sam Kerr — Australia

The Chelsea forward will certainly enjoy playing in her home country during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and will be hoping to replicate her superb club form for Australia as they look to make the best of their home advantage.

Australia's Sam Kerr
Australia's Sam Kerr

The hopes of the entire nation of Australia rest on the shoulders of the Chelsea forward and the country’s all-time leading goalscorer as they aim to do better than their current best finish at the World Cup in 2007, 2011, and 2015 when they reached the quarterfinals.

Kerr has scored 62 goals for the Matildas in 120 appearances and has also scored 90 goals in 116 games since joining the Blues in 2019.

With Australia seen as one of the dark horses for the trophy, Kerr could put in a Golden Ball-worthy performance to excite the home crowd.

Alexia Putellas — Spain

Spain’s Alexia Putellas is looking to return to the Spanish national team with a bang at the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Barcelona's Alexia Putellas
Barcelona's Alexia Putellas

The Barcelona midfielder suffered a horrific injury ahead of Spain’s 2022 UEFA Women’s Euros campaign, which has seen her miss most of the 2022/23 season, allowing her only six appearances at the end of the campaign to regain fitness in time for the World Cup.

Putellas, who received the 2022 Ballon d’Or Féminin and FIFA The Best Women’s Player of the Year award, is looking to regain her position at the top of the football world and will be the central figure to Spain’s squad at the World Cup.

In her last full season, she was Barcelona’s top scorer in all competitions with 34 goals in 42 games as she helped the Blaugrana to the UEFA Women’s Champions League final and LaLiga Femeino title.

Alex Morgan — USA 

Title favourites The United States of America will be looking for inspired performances from the 2019 Women's World Cup’s joint-top scorer, Alex Morgan.

The USA have won the last two editions of the World Cup, in 2015 and 2019, and Morgan has scored seven goals across both tournaments.

USA's Alex Morgan
USA's Alex Morgan

Morgan has scored a total of nine goals at the World Cup and will be keen to add to her tally in Australia and New Zealand as The Stars and Stripes aim for an incredible third World Cup win in a row.

The San Diego Wave forward was named Player of the Tournament in the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, her last involvement in a major tournament, and she could replicate that performance at the 2023 FIFA World Cup.

Lieke Martens — Netherlands

Netherlands forward Lieke Martens will have to navigate the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup without her strike partner Viviane Miedema, but this means that she will have the spotlight all to herself as the 2019 losing finalists aim to go one step further in Australia.

Lieke Martens of the Netherlands
Lieke Martens of the Netherlands

Martens is recognised as one of the best players on the planet and was named the 2017 UEFA and FIFA Women’s Player of the Year after incredible performances with the Netherlands national team.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward led the Netherlands to their first-ever major title in 2017 as they won the UEFA Women’s Euros, with Martens named Player of the Tournament and winning the Bronze Boot.

Marta — Brazil

No player in FIFA Women’s World Cup history has scored more goals than Brazil’s Marta, who has scored 17 goals in total in 20 competition matches.

The Brazilian sensation will be heading to her sixth consecutive World Cup tournament in Australia and New Zealand, but despite her advanced years, she still poses a threat for the Golden Ball award thanks to her incredible skill and drive.

Brazil's Marta
Brazil's Marta

The six-time FIFA Women’s Player of the Year is one of the most popular faces in the women’s game and could mark what is expected to be her last hurrah on the world stage with a performance fitting of the end of her great career with the Canarinhas.

Even with an ageing squad, Brazil are still considered one of the favourites for the tournament in Australia, and they will be hoping for one last dose of Marta magic to hand them their first world title.

Alexandra Popp — Germany 

Germany’s Alexandra Popp, who has lost two major finals in the space of a year, enters the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup hoping to right the wrongs of the past 365 days.

Germany's Alexandra Popp
Germany's Alexandra Popp

She was joint-top scorer at the 2022 Women’s Euros with six goals as Germany ultimately fell short in the final against England, and also scored twice in the final of the 2022/23 UEFA Women’s Champions League with Wolfsburg, only to see Barcelona make a stunning comeback to secure a 3-2 win.

Her recent form perhaps deserves more silverware than it has gotten, and Germany will be pinning their hopes on the dominant striker producing another exhibition to help them wrestle the World Cup trophy from the grasp of the USA.

Caroline Graham Hansen — Norway 

Barcelona’s Caroline Graham Hansen, like her teammate Alexia Putellas, missed a large part of the 2022//23 season, but when fit, the Norwegian forward showed the world what she was capable of, leaving zero doubts about her talents.

The swift and skilful winger entered Barcelona’s season late on and was one of the driving forces behind their push to a second UEFA Women’s Champions League title in the last three years.

Norway's Caroline Graham Hansen
Norway's Caroline Graham Hansen

Graham Hansen put up incredible performances in the crucial part of the 2022/23 season, scoring in both legs of Barcelona’s UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinal against Chelsea and putting up another superb performance in the final against Wolfsburg, assisting one of the Blaugrana’s three goals.

The 28-year-old forward has entered fine form just in time for the World Cup and could be key for Norway, alongside Ada Hegerberg, in the Grasshopper’s hopefully long competition run.

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