The 2023 Women's World Cup is right around the corner and one of the most hotly anticipated groups at the tournament is Group B. On paper, Group B has just about everything, from tournament hosts to Olympic Champions to potential dark horses. One thing is for sure, whoever gets out of Group B will feel very much in the tournament going into the knockout rounds.
Who is in Group B?
The four teams in Group B are:
- Republic of Ireland
What are the Group B fixtures?
- 20/07/2023 – Australia vs Republic of Ireland
- 21/07/2023 – Nigeria vs Canada
- 26/07/2023 – Canada vs Republic of Ireland
- 27/07/2023 – Australia vs Nigeria
- 31/07/2023 – Canada vs Australia
- 31/07/2023 – Republic of Ireland vs Nigeria
Group B preview
As tournament co-hosts, Australia go into the tournament with huge pressure on their shoulders, more so than fellow hosts, New Zealand, who are widely considered to have little more than a puncher's chance. Swedish boss, Tony Gustavsson, has turned the Matilda's form around in the build-up to the World Cup with his side enjoying big victories over England and Spain in the last 12 months.
Those victories have given hope to the Australian fans that something special could be brewing this summer despite their disappointing performance at the Asian Games where they crashed out in the quarter-finals. They have won eight of their last nine fixtures and on paper, they have a squad filled with talent.
Captain, Sam Kerr, will be the key to the Aussie hopes – the Chelsea forward has 63 international goals to her name and has 69 goals and assists in 63 appearances in the English Super League across the last three seasons. While she is undoubtedly the star of Gustavsson's team, the Swede will also be banking on the likes of Steph Catley and Hayley Raso to bring some world-class quality to his team.
Sam Kerr about world cup pic.twitter.com/WCOqRHsoNl
— Blue co 🇸🇦 🏆🏆🏆🏆 (@blueboyDD1) July 4, 2023
Alongside Australia, Canada are being tipped to do well going into the 2023 World Cup. Beverly Priestman has built an impressive side in recent years and they also have experience of beating Australia (twice in Australia in the past 12 months) which could give them a psychological advantage over the Matildas this summer. If that wasn't enough evidence of their prowess, then the fact they are the current Olympic champions should be enough to put the rest of the tournament on notice.
Their success at the Olympics was built on a rock-solid defence and that will be the case once again in Australia and New Zealand. The World Cup will almost certainly be the final swansong for Canadian icon, Christine Sinclair, who has amassed an unbelievable 329 caps for her country over the course of her career.
The other two teams in the group – the Republic of Ireland and Nigeria – will do well to qualify from Group B but it isn't impossible. The Irish midfield is formidable thanks to the duo of Katie McCabe and Denise O'Sullivan while they also have pace to burn up top. Nigeria, on the other hand, will be banking on Barcelona star, Asisat Oshoala to carry them through the group.
Group B odds
- Australia to win Group B – 4/7
- Canada to win Group B – 7/4
- Republic of Ireland to win Group B – 12/1
- Nigeria to win Group B – 28/1
Group B prediction
Given the quality in this group, the Republic of Ireland and Nigeria can count themselves seriously unlucky to have been drawn in what many people are calling this year's hardest group, alongside Group D. Canada and Australia will be looking to go deep at this World Cup and they certainly have the quality, experience and depth to do exactly that. As a result, we are predicting Australia and Canada to qualify, but they aren't going to have it all their own way.