Historic moments at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™

© Alex Grimm/FIFA via Getty Images
© Alex Grimm/FIFA via Getty Images

With just two games left of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, it’s been one for the history books already – with plenty of records broken, historic upsets, and unprecedented turns of event. Here are a few favourites for the future archives, but we’ve got our fingers crossed that there are a few more surprises up the sleeves of the four remaining teams!

© Phil Stephens Photography/FIFA Archives/FIFA Museum
© Phil Stephens Photography/FIFA Archives/FIFA Museum

Fresh Finalists

With Spain and England battling it out for the trophy on Sunday, it marks the first time since the inaugural tournament that both finalists will make their FIFA Women’s World Cup Final debut – promising football fans a brand-new champion!

In fact, until now there has never been a Final that didn’t feature either the USA or Germany. Between them they have claimed six of the eight titles available so far – despite never having met at the ultimate stage of the tournament.

© Elsa/FIFA via Getty Images
© Elsa/FIFA via Getty Images

Quarter-Final Counter Curse

Since the very beginning of FIFA Women’s World Cup history, a curse appears to have haunted the hosts with all but one having exited the tournament in the final eight.

China, Sweden, Germany, Canada and France all fell prey to the jinx, with a brief blip in 1999 and 2003 when the USA overcame the spell to place first and third respectively.

However, Australia superseded superstition, defeating France in the quarter-finals and reaching a World Cup semi-final for the first time in their nation’s history.

© Alex Grimm/FIFA via Getty Images
© Alex Grimm/FIFA via Getty Images

Setting Olympic Standards

An Olympic goal, or an Olimpico as it is commonly known, is the name given to the very rare occurrence of a player scoring directly from a corner kick without touching any other player from either team.

The first Olimpico to be recorded in history was scored Argentinian Cesáreo Onzari at a 1924 friendly match against Uruguay. The match took place just after the Olympic games in Paris, where Uruguay won the gold medal, giving the novelty its name.

Since then, the only player to actually score an Olympic goal at the Olympics is Megan Rapinoe, who actually managed the extraordinary feat on not one but two occasions – at London 2012 and Tokyo 2020.

A single occurrence has been scored in the men’s World Cup, with Colombia’s Marcos Coll hitting the target from a corner against the Soviet Union in 1962, but the likes have never been seen in the women’s tournament. Until 2023 of course.

Ireland’s Katie McCabe marked a Women’s World Cup first when she curved her corner cross directly into the net just four minutes into play, ironically against defending Olympic Champions Canada. What a way to score your nation’s first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup goal!

© Alex Grimm/FIFA via Getty Images
© Alex Grimm/FIFA via Getty Images

Football takes over Down Under

In 2017 the New Zealand men’s national team set a national record for football, when their men’s FIFA World Cup play-off against Peru attracted 37,034 fans. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has seen this number shattered not just once but an incredible six times, as New Zealand embraced the sport on home ground like never before.

A new record was set in the very first match at Eden Park, as a crowd of 42,137 watched as a single goal from Hannah Wilkinson gave the Football Ferns their first ever Women’s World Cup win against Norway.

This national best was topped just 12 days later when Portugal held the USA to a draw in Auckland in front of 42,958 fans. However, the final tally of 43,217 will be the figure for the history books, as a sold-out Eden Park was achieved on three separate occasions, meaning that the round of 16 match between Switzerland and Spain, the Japan vs Sweden quarter-final, and Spain’s momentous semi-final victory over Sweden are all tied for record attendance at an association football match in New Zealand.

© Alex Pantling/FIFA via Getty Images
© Alex Pantling/FIFA via Getty Images

Beating the Crowds

It's not just Kiwi attendance records that have been smashed, but global ones as well – as the co-hosts continue to pack out stadiums at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The previous tournament overall attendance record of 1.35 million, achieved at Canada 2015, has already been eclipsed by the crowds of 2023. Of course, part of this is due to the extended number of participating teams, resulting in 64 matches instead of 52, but it bears reckoning that the figure was already overtaken by the time Sweden pipped the USA to a place in the quarter-finals – which was indeed the 52nd match of the tournament. With the biggest match of the tournament still to come, we’re excited to see what the final record could be.

© AAP/Imago
© AAP/Imago

Persistent Penalties

Penalty shoot-outs are always a tense occasion, but if you were watching the one between Australia and France you might have felt even MORE on edge than usual… and there was a reason for that.

The quarter-final recorded the longest penalty shootout in World Cup history – for either a men’s or a women’s tournament – with a nail-biting twenty spot kicks resulting in a 7-6 score line.

Until the tenth and final round, every miss from one team was shortly followed by a miss from the other ensuring that fans, both home and away, were on the edges of their seats for the entire duration. In the end it was Courtnee Vine’s kick that sealed the deal for the Matildas, in the devastating aftermath of Vicki Bècho’s post smacking shot.

© Matt King/FIFA via Getty Images
© Matt King/FIFA via Getty Images

Record of Youth

Before 2023, the youngest player ever to appear in a men or women’s World Cup tournament was Nigeria’s Ifeanyi Chiejine, who was just 16-years and 34-days old when she started against North Korea in Nigeria’s first group match in 1999.

This year’s only record beating candidate was Casey Phair, who needed to play in one of Korea Republic’s first two matches in order to claim the title. In the 74th minute of their first group stage match against Colombia, a 16-year and 26-day old Phair was subbed on to play, earning her the accolade of youngest ever World Cup player.

She went on to appear in Korea Republic’s following match against Morocco, before eventually making her way into the starting 11 for their final group stage match against Germany.

© Alex Grimm/FIFA via Getty Images
© Alex Grimm/FIFA via Getty Images

Defiant Debutants

Never, in FIFA Women’s World Cup history, has a team managed to battle their way out of the group stages in their first tournament appearance – apart from in the inaugural edition of course.

Morocco defied the odds by defeating both Korea Republic and Colombia, to seal their unprecedented spot in the final 16, proving their repeated pre-tournament statement that they were certainly NOT just there to take part.

While they eventually fell to giants France in the knockouts, their achievement will take a place both in Moroccan and Women’s World Cup history and, if anything, their taste of success will simply make the Lionesses of Atlas hungry for more in the coming years.

 

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