Eight big names missing out on the 2023 Women’s World Cup

A spate of ACL ruptures have sidelined several key players for this year’s Women’s World Cup.

Beth Mead
England's Beth Mead sustains an injury playing for Arsenal [File: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters]

There are a number of big names set to miss the 2023 Women’s World Cup through injury, with reigning European champions England bearing the brunt of the bad luck.

In almost all cases, it is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. The ACL is a ligament in the centre of the knee that prevents the shin bone, or the tibia, from moving forward on the thigh bone, the femur. These injuries almost always require surgery, and it can take more than a year to recover.

1. Beth Mead, England

The Arsenal forward is considered one of the best female players in the world and her omission from the England squad through injury will be a devastating loss to the Lionesses.

Mead, 28, was in imperious form in last year’s European Championship, notching up the most goals (six) and assists (four) in the tournament and producing performances that were crucial to England’s victorious campaign.

She has been ruled out with an ACL injury sustained in late 2022.

2. Leah Williamson, England

The football gods have not been kind to England this year. Their captain, the versatile Williamson, who can play either at centre-back or in midfield, will miss this year’s tournament after suffering an ACL injury in April.

The 26-year-old Arsenal star’s performances at the heart of Sarina Wiegman’s defence were crucial in England’s Euro 2022 success. She will be another huge loss for the Lionesses.

womens world cup
Arsenal’s Williamson is substituted off after sustaining an injury in April 2023 [Molly Darlington/Reuters]

3. Vivianne Miedema, the Netherlands

The Arsenal forward ended the 2021-22 Women’s Super League campaign with an impressive 14 goals and eight assists, finishing just behind Australia’s Sam Kerr.

A dynamic and technically gifted goalscorer, Miedema has been an integral part of recent Netherlands teams and has notched up more than 100 caps.

The 26-year-old began the Euro 2022 campaign as captain but contracted COVID-19 after the first group match.

In another cruel blow, she ruptured her ACL last year and will miss the World Cup.

Arsenal injury
Miedema receives medical attention after sustaining an injury [Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters]

4. Catarina Macario, United States

The 23-year-old forward tore the ACL in her left knee last June during Lyon’s final match of the 2021-22 season. Macario has scored 19 goals in 27 appearances with Lyon since 2021.

She underwent rehab at an orthopaedic and sports medicine facility in Qatar but has not been able to recover in time for the tournament.

Macario who was born in Brazil received US citizenship in 2020 and has scored eight goals in 17 matches for her adopted country.

5. Marie-Antoinette Katoto, France

The 24-year-old PSG striker has suffered terrible luck on the international stage.

In 2019 she was left out of the World Cup squad despite being the top scorer in Division 1 Féminine. Last year she became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.

At the Euros in 2022, she sustained an ACL injury during the group stage, an injury that ruled her out for the rest of the season with PSG and this year’s World Cup.

6. Janine Beckie, Canada

The 28-year-old forward has made more than 100 appearances for her country but will miss the World Cup after picking up an ACL injury playing for the Portland Thorns in March.

She had previously picked up a gold medal with Canada at the 2020 Olympics.

Janine Beckie
Janine Beckie in action for the Portland Thorns at Providence Park. [Soobum Im/USA Today Sports]

7. Fran Kirby, England

Kirby’s contributions have been crucial for both Chelsea and England over the past few years.

Goals against Northern Ireland and Sweden at Euro 2022 helped secure England’s success.

Kirby has been shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or in 2021 and has picked up two PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year in her career so far. At the age of 30, she is already Chelsea’s all-time top goal scorer.

She will miss the World Cup to undergo knee surgery for a recurring injury.

8. Delphine Cascarino, France

The 26-year-old already has five Champions Leagues and five Division 1 Féminine titles to her name. However, the Lyon winger is set to miss the World Cup after rupturing an ACL ligament.

Source: Al Jazeera