It’s been one of the most shocking and inspiring Women’s World Cups, but as we progress through the tournament we continue to get surprises. With major upsets, first time appearances, and disappointing performances we are here to give you the scoop on what is to come in the Round of 16.

Triumphs and Emerging Stars

Perhaps the biggest shock of the tournament are the number of teams making it to the knock out rounds that have never been here before. A tearful moment from Morrocco, an emerging Jamaican side, and South Africa’s first-ever to push them into the knock out round are some of the biggest moments that have shocked the world.

South Africa looked to shock the world as soon as they entered the tournament, but they made their triumphant entrance in style. Their first-ever tournament win would also prove to be the game changer for the nation as it sent them into knock out rounds. Done in the most dramatic fashion, the win proved to be one of the greatest moments in tournament history.

After having to crowd fund to even make it to the tournament, Jamaica sent shockwaves through the world. With an exciting draw with world superpower Brazil, Jamaica gave the Brazilians a shocking exit in the group stages. This young and emerging squad have channeled their love and passion into a side that is destined for greatness, and maybe even a birth into the quarterfinals. Can they continue to channel this passion against similar underdog Colombia?

Morocco has proved that they are an emerging powerhouse in the world of football. While their emerging stardom has served as an inspiration across the globe, they will have to face off against perennial powerhouse France. Will their unrivaled passion be enough to lift them to the quarterfinals or will they fall flat?

Biggest Shocks

Early exits and poor game play from powerhouse nations have been the highlight of the tournament. Perhaps the most shocking is Germany and Brazil’s early tournament exits.

Brazil’s early exit was definitely a huge shock to the football world but proved that teams are finally evening the playing field and catching up to the squads who have been dominating for years. While this exit saw the end of Marta’s run after six consecutive tournaments, it proved to us that the women’s game is growing.

After being one of the most dominant squads to hit the tournament field since its inception, Germany made their first group stage exit since the early 90s. This shocking exit prompted questions of what’s next, are they still the dominant force, where do they go from here? If they head to the Olympics the next go around, they will have some serious issues to resolve if they want to restore their dominance.

Canada’s lack luster performance and shocking goal scoring issues saw them make a swift exit out of the tournament. From matchday 1 their performance seemed to have taken a huge 180 since their Olympic gold triumphant in 2020(1). While they still had many key players from the previous tournament, Canada looked disorganized, disheveled, and destined for an early exit. Minimal goal scoring opportunities and poor passing in the midfield were just some of the issues that plagued the Canadian side from the start.

Underwhelming Performance

If you have been watching the USA throughout the group stages you have probably thought the same as many critics, Where is the USA we have come to know and love? While the USA has been a perennial powerhouse over the past decade, they have really struggled to be a dominant force this tournament.

Missing several key stars the USA’s biggest problem this tournament has been their lack luster midfield. While Ertz is playing a decent center back in place of Sauerbrunn, her true power lies in the midfield and it is showing as the missing piece for the USA. Not only are they failing to dominate the midfield like we’ve become used to, but their situation up top is less than ideal. Alex Morgan has not been producing the goals that we expect and we have barely seen Lynn Williams get the opportunity to show the world what they have been missing out on. With Smith and Rodman’s style of play, Morgan may not be the option that the USA needs to utilize up top.

Will Andonovski make the necessary adjustments in the Round of 16 or will the USA make an early exit this tournament?

Final Thoughts

Arguably one of the most shocking and exciting tournaments in history, the 2023 Women’s World Cup has brought us the drama, excitement, and underdog stories that the world loves sports for. Will there be a new winner crowned or can the USA clean up their game and take home their fifth title?